ideas on creativity

Posts Tagged ‘Johannesburg

Highveld Winter

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 The Highveld in winter is not on the list of South Africa’s most beautiful places to see. Hard brown grasslands, the faint smell of fire lingers in the dry air. However, growing up this became a place I was forced to love. Winter vacations spent visiting my Gran and other family in the south of Joburg, we didn’t a choice but to find things to like about this holiday destination.

This past weekend I finally had a chance to spend some time out of the city. On Saturday morning, a friend and I headed out to Klipriviersberg nature reserve. Not too far away from the endless highways and traffic, I was reminded of all the things I found beautiful about the Highveld as a child. Here are some photos from our walk:


Written by BiancaZAR

June 7, 2010 at 5:52 pm

Is South Africa a Safe Place to Raise Children?

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The divide between rich and poor in South Africa is one of the main reasons why we are still so segregated today. These socio-economic inequalities make it more difficult to address issues in our country.  

Situated only 15km just outside of Johannesburg, Alberton, is a suburb on the East Rand of Gauteng. Like most suburbs in South Africa there is an economic hierarchy with the township and boomed off enclosure being only five kilometers away from each other.

I’m working on a documentary project about if South Africa is a safe place to raise children or not in reference to the political economy issues of our country. Alberton will be the area in focus. Here are some photos from my pre-production research trip in the area.

Written by BiancaZAR

February 25, 2010 at 5:43 am

The Man in the Smiling Fan Bearer Mask

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Going through my photos after a shoot is a tedious job. Having to unwillingly delete the unusable images is depressing.

However, there is a small bit of pleasure in this activity when I come across little suprises that I didn’t notice while shooting.

 Emotive expressions of lurkers in the background, a backdrop of blue skies and bright puffy clouds and other bits and pieces make always me smile during this painstaking process.

Last night I was exhausted after spending the afternoon in the dry Highveld sun at the Chinese New Year celebration at Brightwater Commons in Randburg. I stayed up late going through the mountain of lion and dragon dancing images, agonizing over which ones to keep and which ones to remove forever.

The lion dance up close was really impressive. Their movements were unexpectedly life like and one of my favourite images of the day is the close up I got of the smiling fan bearer.

Smiling Mask Man

In all the frenzy of sequined lions and crashing cymbals I managed to get him to do a peace sign for my photo. A second later he was up again waving the red fan in provocation to the lions.

As I went through images of the next dance the performers were exposed, their masks had been discarded in favour of poles carrying a never ending pink dragon. I recognized the man in the fan bearing mask as we was still wearing the same bright yellow pants as in the previous dance.

This was my surprise of the day. Strong arms and a not too boyish face. Right here under my lens was a very good looking man.

I know I’ve only been in Johannesburg for two weeks but seriously, what a disappointment. Considering it calls itself “New York of Africa” I had pretty high expectations of seeing packs of attractive men dripping off the pavements.

Just so you know, I’m not the only one who is under this misconception as many of my friends have asked me if I’ve spotted any potential. Well, after Saturday I can finally tell them yes!

Not only attractive but I presume he must be a slightly alternative kind of guy. It’s not your average Joe who would run around a shopping centre lawn, waving fans at sparkly lions to entertain the masses who are there for the free entertainment.

I’ll leave it up to your imagination of how he really looks behind the mask, so as to protect his secretly good-looking identity. Let’s hope that the rest of the good-looking men in Jo’burg aren’t also hiding behind masks.

Written by BiancaZAR

February 22, 2010 at 6:04 am

NightWalkingTruths Explained

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Haengnam seaside walk at night. Ulleungdo, June 2009

Haengnam seaside walk at night. Ulleungdo, June 2009

One Durbanite. Six months. An island between South Korea and Japan. Teaching English. Thinking about home and the journey to wherever that is. NightWalkingTruths (NWT) is the umbrella under which all my sudden mental object formations (thoughts) about South Africa, Ulleung Island (South Korea) and everything in between fall under.

I have been trying to come up with a blog name since a few weeks before I came to the island. advises that the name of your blog should: describe what it is about, be easy to remember and equal the domain name, of course. These tips didn’t help me as I couldn’t put into specific words what my blog was literally going to be about. It was easier to make a list of what the blog is not going to be about. How was I going to fit all these expectations into one name? I was stuck.

The answer came to me my first night on Ulleung Island (Ulleungdo). I walked along the harbour shore, listened to the howling wind and felt salty drops of ocean spray from the waves crashing against the jagged black rocks.  Where was I? This felt like a place of true inspiration where my mind was assimilating all the tiny grains of black sand ideas that exist in my universe. All lumped together under this mountain that is an island.

As I walked in the dark with a smile on my face, I felt liberated embracing the freedom of the night walk. My mind started tickling these ideas and this is what I came up with:

NightWalking: advancing in life, synthesizing dreams and fears, realising opportunities and searching for light in the darkness. A journey in search of liberation and freedom in the sense of living in a place where you can go for walks at night, where you are safe,  where people aren’t starving and can work to support their families.

My journey is from Durban to Johannesburg (where I hope to move to in 2010) via South Korea. Usually we are advised not to walk the streets at night looking for answers yet that is when they appear. This is exactly what happened and so here I am, on this page, for you to read. Hopefully you will find NWT easy to remember…

Written by BiancaZAR

June 14, 2009 at 5:09 pm