On one of my morning walks during lock down in the Western Cape I came across a feast of graffiti in Woodstock and Salt River. I have always been fascinated by graffiti on walls and for the most part saw it as unlawfulness and an irritation. I found that the earliest bubble and triangular graffiti wasn’t very exciting or attractive, and seemed to degrade an area.
These day I find myself taking quite a different view. The graffiti artists have come a long way and are producing some wonderful art which is transforming the dreariness of buildings and even homes. I love turning a corner in a street and finding to my surprise a wonderful piece of art inviting me into its world of imagination or telling me something of the history and struggles of the people. You will find that in Woodstock and Salt River. Graffiti art is the urban version of land art, another compelling love of mine.
I am reminded of the words of William Blake
To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.
From the Everlasting Gospel 1888
It was a wonderful morning’s walk during one of those depressing Covid 19 days when one had had enough of isolation and needed something to raise my spirit. Thank you to the artists of these painting.
This week’s poem is by Margie Weir-Cairns.
Margie writes: I recorded the reading in Cecilia Forest sitting on a rock overlooking False Bay with the sea beckoning. First attempt by memory! Margie worked as a spiritual companion at the Centre for Christian Spirituality for 12 years. She practices Centering Prayer and is actively involved with Contemplative Outreach.
A story by Dorian Haarhoff, poet, writer of childrens’ stories, and writing mentor.
The way of Love is not a subtle argument.
The door there is devastation’.
Birds make great sky-circles of their freedom.
How do they learn it?
They fall and falling,
they’re given wings.
A photograph by John Donald
In other areas of Woodstock the graffiti acknowledges the poverty and struggles of people and the culture of its peoples, as in the following paintings.
Daphne, my wife came home from shopping in the Garden centre recently and told me that on her way home through District Six she saw that the top soil of the fields had been removed exposing some of the ruins of inside walls of the old houses, and that I should take a look. The Apartheid Government in 1966 declared District Six a “whites only” area under the Group Areas Act of 1950. The area was eventually totally bulldozed and became a shameful scar on the landscape. New businesses refused to move into the area, and those who attempted to …
The Amazing women in my life This is Women’s Month, when in South Africa we are questioning why there is so much violence committed against women and children. The incidence of violent crimes, sexual and verbal abuse committed against women, is horrendous. This set me thinking of the amazing women in my family life and within my circle of friends. My mother and her sisters were orphaned in their teens and were sent from Kimberley to a Salvation Army home in Woodstock, Cape Town. She was very proud of the contribution the Salvation Army made to her life. One of …
A Reflection on the Song of Songs I want to reflect this evening on this passage from the Song of Songs, which I find so beautiful and sensuous in its language – celebrating young love.The voice is that of a woman anticipating the arrival of her lover, who is leaping and bounding over the mountains and hills in his haste to reach her. He is a deer, a stag – he is at the window peering in. There is such a spirit of vitality and sexuality in the passage, and with their intimacy and connection Spring comes and the fields …