Art Venue, Cape Town – Photography Essay

One Day Co intern Jabulani Xaba shares his Cape Town experience through a photo essay: Art Venue, Cape Town

I remember listening to Swimming, an album by the late American rapper Mac Miller. “Life ain’t a life till you live it,” he said in one of his songs. The type of music that relates to you. That song that you can attach to a particular phase in your life. It is only when you have seen the world that you can share wisdom and tell stories.

This is my second time in Cape Town. The first was in December 2016. I’ve been here since September doing an internship with One Day Company, in pursuit of figuring out a career.

“What you do right now in your 20s will determine the kind of person that you will become in your 30s,” says Sarah Jayne Fell, co-founder of One Day Company.

This photography essay will take you through my experiences in Cape Town. As landscape photographer Destin Sparks said in one of his iconic quotes, “Photography is the story I fail to put into words.” This is a collection of photographs that illustrates the life I’ve experienced in the city of Cape Town.

A postmodernist outlook of the world questions what society regards as normal, believing everyone can create their own meaning from texts as from life, and in doing so becomes a contributor to culture and how it evolves. A postmodernist understands that truth claims are nothing but political power plays. Only when one can recognise how power dynamics can influence human behaviour, at the same time questioning what society sees as normal, can they live without fear of judgement and have an open-minded view of reality.   

Art Venue, Cape Town- Photography Essay

Art Venue, Cape Town. Xaba, Jabulani. 2018

This is a building that is rented out as studio spaces near the police station in Gardens, in Cape Town’s East City. People always told me that one is destined for success as an artist in Cape Town – hence I’ve always seen the Mother City as an “Art Venue”. However, there is some level of restriction, more of a barrier of some sort, a barrier that might exist to keep one out, not allowing people to express themselves and explore their own artistic vision. A friend once said to me, “To live in Cape Town, one would need to earn a Cape Town salary.” I guess we have to pay the price one way or another.

But during the course of my stay in Cape Town I learnt a valuable lesson from a man whom I met in a rather strange “situation”: Almero Dreyer, CEO of Aldrey Investment Group.

“Life is about people,” he said, as we were drinking coffee on the balcony of Two Oceans Backpackers in Cape Town, “and anything is possible, with the right set of networks.”

Art Venue, Cape Town - Photography Essay

Cape Town, City Hall. Xaba, Jabulani. 2018

The Cape Town City Hall is 280 meters away from the tourist attraction known as The Castle, which was built between 1666 and 1679. It’s a place that reflects on South African history through joy, tears and pain, disappointment and fear. The City Hall was opened in 1905. Famously in 1990 former president of South Africa Nelson Mandela addressed over 200 000 people from the balcony, as they gathered at the Grand Parade, upon his release from Robben Island after 27 years in prison.

Art Venue, Cape Town - Photography Essay

Victoria Road, Woodstock. Xaba, Jabulani. 2018

A photograph I took right after I got off from a minibus taxi that came from the CBD on my way to Mason’s Press, approximately 300 meters from my new place of work with One Day Company. I wanted to capture the life of Woodstock. I was taken by the repetition and patterns of lines that form into shapes. This was taken on a cloudy day, and in a cold week in Spring on 22 September 2018, week two after my arrival in Cape Town, as everyone went about their lives. It’s an old suburb of Cape Town that was built in the 1600s, and was once inhabited by the ancient Khoikhoi people.

Art Venue, Cape Town - Photography Essay

Mason’s Press, Woodstock. Xaba, Jabulani. 2018

An old factory building that is now occupied by amazing entrepreneurs, housing design studios and the like and a restaurant and coffee shop. It is also home to the content and design studio I now regard as home, One Day Company, founded by two of the most phenomenal women in Cape Town, Sarah Jayne Fell and Delia de Villiers.

Art Venue

A statue of Louis Botha sits in front of the main entrance to the Houses of Parliament  on ST John’s Road, Cape Town CBD. Xaba, Jabulani. 2018.

The Southern Guild: Exhibition Opening

On 20 September 2018 I decided to attend an exhibition opening at the Southern Guild on the suggestion of one of my work mentors. A well-established and sophisticated setup, it was the Woven Forms group show, and what would get me even more excited than free bubbly. Immediately after setting up my camera I just knew that I was at the right place. Not because of the free alcohol but because of the crowd that attended. People came out in numbers. The gallery was full of art collectors with deep pockets ready to spend tuition fees on art pieces.

For me, it was an opportunity to network, make friends, establish a base in Cape Town – a base in the “Art Venue”. The first few minutes were rather intimidating: men in R5 500 suits and a R2-million+ BMW i8 Roadster greeting you at the entrance, to give you an idea of what to expect.  

Art Venue, Cape Town - Photography Essay

Madoda Fani – Inkosazana (Princess) Bronze 42x15x48 cm – Southern Guild, Silo District. Xaba, Jabulani. 2018.

Art Venue, Cape Town - Photography Essay

Imbizo’ install (Gathering) by Chuma Maweni. Carved ebonised timber and carved glazed clay. Xaba, Jabulani. 2018

Art Venue, Cape Town - Photography Essay

“Behind the ceramic bowl shaped in a rather peculiar way, with gold edges on the sides and on the top opening, are three of the main pieces that formed part of the Woven Forms Group Show by The Haas Brothers.” Xaba, Jabulani. 2018.

Open Mic Performances on Kloof Street, at Shisha Hut

Art Venue, Cape Town - Photography Essay

Danielle Apollis. Xaba, Jabulani. 2018

On 22 September on a Saturday afternoon, after meeting up with a friend that I had met a week before in a camera store, I decided to visit a coffee shop that was just across the street from McDonald’s in Kloof Street, Mustacchio Caffe. As a photographer and a content developer with a drive to establish his name, I decided to meet with the manager, Danielle (Dan Dan) J Apollis.

Art Venue, Cape Town - Photography Essay

Danielle Apollis. Xaba, Jabulani. 2018

As I was explaining to Dan the kind of relationship that I wished to establish with him, he invited me to an open mic session where he would be performing cover songs at Shisha Hut. “Here, let me give you my number. You are welcome to come at 8 pm. Bring your camera… make yourself R200 for the night… we’ll sit and have a beer, then we’ll take it from there,” he said. And so I went, listening to blissful sounds as Dan accepted song requests from the crowd who were enjoying the night with pizza and drinks.            

Art Venue, Cape Town - Photography Essay

Danielle Apollis. Xaba, Jabulani. 2018

visit to The Old Biscuit Mill – Imiso Ceramics (Iindonga Collection by Andile  Dyalvane)

The work of Imiso Ceramics was recently presented at the 100% Design South Africa event held in Joburg, where ceramicist Andile Dyalvane launched his latest body of work, called the Iindonga Collection. Co-founder and designer at Imiso Ceramics, he is currently on a tour called the “Master class”. At the 100% Design show, Andile installed 100 ceramic pieces of the Iindonga Collection.

Art Venue, Cape Town - Photography Essay

Cubism Ceramics – Liindonga Collection. Xaba, Jabulani. 2018

Iindonga means soil erosion. Iindoga is created by the hooves of cattle as the animals expand their pathway through rain.

When designing and creating the Iindonga Collection, Andile drew his inspiration from his roots. He is from a village called Ngobozone near Qoboqobo in the Eastern Cape, from a tribe called Amabhaca. The bowls symbolise a custom practiced by the tribe known as ukuchaza, which refers to a ritual scarring of the face done for healing purposes. The cuts and scars on human faces are represented in Iindonga.

The pieces are a reflection of the work Dyalvane his done in previous years, that include “Views from the Studio”, “Africasso Collection” and “Scarified Collection”.

Art Venue, Cape Town - Photography Essay

Ukucaza referring to the scarring of the face. This piece is inspired by a ritual done for healing purposes by a tribe called Amabhaca. Iindonga by Andile Dyalvane. Xaba, Jabulani. 2018

Art Venue, Cape Town - Photography Essay

Pablo Picasso inspired bowl. The bowl is painted in the style of Cubism. Iindonga by Andile Dyalvane. Xaba, Jabulani. 2018

Among the 100 Iindonga Bowls at 100% Design, Andile also launched pieces inspired by one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, Pablo Picasso. These bowls are painted in the style of Cubism that was co-created by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque.

Imiso Ceramics was founded in the year 2006 by Zizipho Phoswa and Majolandile (Andile) Dyalvane. Imiso Ceramics is also associated with the Southern Guild Gallery, as it has experienced great success over the past 6 years since the duo joined forces, and it remains one of the best ceramic design studios in Cape Town.  

I am yet to experience the full scope of Cape Town, as I complete my internship with One Day Company, which was one of the reasons I came to Cape Town, an opportunity to learn and gain practical experience that I am truly grateful for. I intend to leave a mark in Cape Town, to explore the city and everything the city has to offer, and most importantly leave a footprint and make an impact.

My name is Jabulani Xaba and this has been my experience in Cape Town thus far.  




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