Tag Archives | City Desired


Shadow of the Mountain

There are rote stories about Table Mountain that emphasise its daunting and picturesque qualities, but between these stories falls the shadow of another story Words: Ashraf Jamal & Photography by David Lurie

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The Entreprenuer

Christina Mtandana is known for her homemade dough cakes. She sells them to passersby in Sweet Home Farm. Business is okay, but it could be better. For Christina, getting ahead is a constant battle against weather. It doesn’t help that her community is meeting the climate change without any basic infrastructure.

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The Healer

John Parker is a psychiatrist at Lentegeur Hospital. This psychiatric facility in Mitchells Plain is at the frontline of treating methamphetamine-related psychosis. Parker, a barefoot poet and surfer, has developed programmes to address the “tik” crisis. But drug abuse is one facet of a multitude of social problems on the Cape Flats.

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The Doppelgängers

Hasan and Husain Essop are twin brothers who make art together. Their composite photographs show the observant Muslim brothers doing things in various Cape Town settings. They have made photos in Hout Bay, where they teach, also District Six, where their father lived before apartheid redrew the map of the city.

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The Conservationist

Luzann Isaacs manages a wetland park in Philippi. The park is home to a rare water fern and small endemic frogs. An environmental park in a low-income urban area might be a luxury. But, through Luzann’s outreach, this park is shifting the racial and class connotations still attached to conservation.

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The Architect

Gita Goven is an architect and humanist with an experience of hardship. Her biography has shaped her vision of architecture’s possibilities. Gita’s practice specialises in the design of integrated and sustainable human settlements. It is urgent work.

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The Transporter

Thabang Molefe started out as a mini-bus taxi driver. After assisting his father he set out on his own. It was hard work, dangerous too. But that is all history. Today Thabang is a key figure in a black economic empowerment project that is transforming public transport in Cape Town.

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The Principal

Alfonso Louw is the principal of St Agnes Primary in Woodstock. It is a good school with a diverse student body, hands-on leader and innovative learner-focussed projects. But St Agnes is also a poor school in a working-class neighbourhood, meaning the odds are massively stacked against its learners succeeding.

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The Interruptor

Colin Barends is not a gangster anymore. He works as a violence interrupter on the Cape Flats. His job is to get young men to rethink their code of violence, to staunch the flow of blood, nothing more.

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