Pick of the week: a market a day


A market a day keeps the doctor away … although it could add to the waist line and might not do your bank balance much good. If you want to avoid chain stores and same-old same-old bland international chic malls, it’s possible to shop until you drop at a different market in Jozi every day of the week.   Many are open every day so you can swap the days around:

  • but why not start with curios on a Monday at the Rosebank Craft Market. Here you’ll find all your African souvenirs – but remember to bargain just a little. Open daily.
  • If you haven’t found what you want at the Rosebank Craft Market try the Sandton Craft Market on Tuesday.  Located  behind the Sandton library which faces onto Nelson Mandela Square, it also offers local & African souvenirs and crafts. And while in the area you can stop of for a bite to eat and do some people watching on Nelson Mandela Square.
  • Faraday St (Sunday Times)

    Faraday St (Sunday Times)

    On Wednesday it’s time to get out of your comfort zone and venture into downtown Jozi to visit Faraday Market – a real working African muti [medicine] market (corner Wemmer Jubilee and Eloff Street).  Its proximity to the local Faraday taxi rank means there is ease of access for the many locals who come from all over South Africa to seek healing potions, herbs, animal skins and good omen charms from sangomas. But this is a real working market so you will need to respect people’s privacy – certainly no photographs.   And if you’re a vegetarian or a conservationist I suggest you give this market a skip.  While in town you can visit the Mai-Mai market, said to be the oldest market in Joburg (corner of Anderson and Berea streets). Although also very much a working market, used by city residents as a place to find cures for their physical and emotional ailments, you will also be able to buy Zulu tyre sandals, walking sticks and beaded accessories.  As with the Faraday Market, it is recommended that visitors be guided by an established tour operator.

  • Individual stalls as well as pleasant open areas to relax and have a delicious bite to eat

    Individual stalls as well as pleasant open areas to relax and have a delicious bite to eat

    Thursday you can hot foot it out to a rural country-fair atmosphere at the Bryanston Organic Market.  It has been going for 38 years now and it really is Johannesburg’s original outdoor market.  As its name suggests – everything is organic – delicious food to eat at crude wooden tables and benches , there are also goodies to take home as well as wonderful clothes all made from natural fabric.   In warm weather they have moonlight markets on a Tuesday evening closest to the full moon, as well as Tuesday evening markets in the lead up to Christmas.  And if you miss out on the market on a Thursday, it is also open Saturdays 9 – 3pm 40.  You can find them at Culross Road Bryanston

  • Christmas Opera at the Sheds Nov 2014

    Christmas Opera at the Sheds Nov 2014

    Open from Thursday to Sunday is the new urban space The Sheds@1 Fox St in the Ferreirastown (south east of Joburg’s CBD).  Two entrepreneurs who are passionate about Jozi’s inner city have refurbished the historic warehouses into a thriving marketplace – an artisanal food and produce market, surrounded by eateries and bars. It’s the most wonderful space – open, airy, laid back and welcoming and caters for families. Highly recommended.

  • Friday  Need more delicious healthy organic goodies? Visit Jacksons Real Food Market at 319 Bryanston Drive  which is not quite a market but more of a farm store, sit down café cum bakery . Open every day and weekends till 3 www.jacksonsrealfoodmarket.co.za
  • Well of course if it’s Saturday, it must be
    • Mushrooms 2 compNeighbourgoods Market. Those who founded the Biscuit Mill market in Cape Town partnered with Adam Levy of Play Braamfontein to bring this market to the parking lot of a large grey building at 73 Juta Street. Here hipsters, young and old, find themselves spoilt for choice with a huge selection of mouthwatering and varied (but pricey) food items – fresh oysters, paella, Ethiopian platters, different types of  mushrooms, and much more besides. Upstairs, along with a great view, you’ll find designer clothes, accessories and various objet d’art.  Whilst in Braamies it’s worth taking the opportunity to see what’s on at the many art galleries in Juta street as well as at Wits Art Museum [WAM] over the road on the corner of Jan Smuts Ave. The Wits Hospice shop is also well worth a visit.
    • Fordbsurg Dec 14 Various 655 (3)If you aren’t foot weary, broke and suffering from sensory overload, you can make your way across town to Fordsburg, a predominantly Muslim neighbourhood. Here the local community takes to the streets every Saturday night to explore the street market with shops offering everything from chintzy costume jewellery to coloured hijabs and more muted abayas, DVDS and household goods. But best of all are the aromas of incense, pungent curries and briyanis, and samoosas.
    • As if this isn’t enough choice, on the 1st Saturday of every month  you can make your way to Kramerville Sandton (9 Kramer Rd).  At Collective, small designers who don’t have retail space show their wares (anything from ceramics to clothing) resulting in a stylish pop-up market.   As with most markets, food is never in short supply and here it is provided by Mother Truckers, billed as ‘the best Food Trucks in Johannesburg’.
    • Sunday might see you market hopping with several great choices on offer:
      • Ethiopian fare (In Your Pocket)

        Ethiopian fare (In Your Pocket)

        Market on Main is in the Maboneng district (264 Fox Street) in eastern downtown Jozi.  Home to art galleries, bookshops, fashion designers and artists’ studios (including William Kentridge’s), the Sunday market is a chilled place to have a late brunch and while away a Sunday morning. And the first Thursday of the month there is a night market.

      • Or you might choose to go to Rosebank Rooftop market which had to move during the refurbishing of the Rosebank Mall. Now that is complete stallholders are gradually moving back. It’s a very varied market with a huge range of food, it’s a great place to buy gifts as there are good quality crafts, bric-a-brac and souvenirs.  Enjoy the carnival atmosphere with live music, mime artists, buskers and  funfair-style games for the kids.
      • At the corner of Kudu St and Moema St in Orlando West, round the corner from the more famous Vilikazi Street is a newish market, Locrate, which operates on the 1st Sunday of the month. While it’s the standard fare which is on offer, what makes this special is the distinctly Sowetan vibe with live music and street poetry.
      • If antiques and treasure hunting is your thing then on also on the 1st Sunday of every month you can visit the Antique and Collectibles Fair in Sandton (inside the mall behind the statue of Nelson Mandela) where 60 odd dealers have stands.
      • Fourways Farmers Market 003And a great option for a chilled Sunday lunch in a seemingly rural setting is the Fourways Farmers’ Market.   Although only a few streets from Montecasino at Earth Outdoor Living Nursery, Cnr William Nicol Drv and Montecasino Blvd, it really does feel as though you are out in the country away from the mayhem of city living. It is child friendly and its relaxed setting and outstanding food make for a wonderful family day out.

So bye-bye to Pick and Pay and Checkers, to Malls and chain stores and hello healthy, natural, quirky, laid back and different. We like this in a shopping and eating experience.


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Pick of the Week: At last ‘our’ Horse returns home …

When I was out of town in April of this year and missed the screening of the HD movie shown at Cinema Nouveau of the live London National Theatre production of War Horse, I was deeply disappointed. So I am like a kid in the proverbial candy store knowing that I will soon add to the statistic of 5 million people who have seen War Horse since it opened at the National Theatre in 2007.  Joey, the main protagonist of War Horse has captured public attention in the buildup to the opening of the show on 22nd October.   See http://www.artlink.co.za/news_article.htm?contentID=36095   War Horse, commissioned by the National Theatre in London,  is based on Michael Morpurgo’s story about horses sent to the battlefields during World War I.  In the production soldiers are played by live actors while the horses are life size puppets, the creation of the famous Handspring Puppet Company.

Woyzeck on the Highveld Photo: Handspring Puppet Company

Woyzeck on the Highveld Photo: Handspring Puppet Company

I have been in awe of the work of the Handspring Puppet Company [HPC] since I saw one of their earlier theatre pieces back in 1992: Woyzeck on the Highveld, directed by William Kentridge.   In this haunting adaptation of Georg Büchner’s play, the story of a poor mineworker is hauntingly told against the backdrop created through William Kentridge’s projected drawings of  a harsh industrialized landscape.

HPC was started in 1981 with 4 former students from Michaelis Art School in Cape Town and while it has always functioned as a collective, its name is now synonymous with 2 of its co-founders:  Adrian Kohler and Basil Jones.  Their main aims when they started were to produce innovative children’s theatre that was rooted in Africa and to promote  puppetry as a significant theatre form.  The Company’s name was drawn from the Russian puppet master Sergey Vladimir Obraztsov’s philosophy that ‘the soul of the puppet lies in the palm of the hand’.  ‘This’ says Jones, ‘was a way of saying that glove puppets [rather than marionette string puppets] are best. …The rod puppet, which kind of comes out of the glove, was a form we decided on.’  (A. Sichel citing Jones in Handspring Puppet Company edited by Jane Taylor 2009 p 168).

Shadow puppetry from Confessions of Zeno

Shadow puppetry from Confessions of Zeno

Sadly I did not see their very early work but saw 4 of the subsequent HPC/Kentridge collaborations: Faustus in Africa 1995; The Return of Ulysses  1998;  Ubu and the Truth Commission 1996 and Confessions of Zeno 2001; as well as Tall Horse 2004, a joint venture with the Sogolon Puppet Troupe from Mali.  In each production the puppet mechanisms were refined and improved with the multi-disciplined collaborations becoming increasingly demanding. I still cannot fully get my head around the extraordinary creativity of these productions; the complexity and intricacy of the puppets; the skill and artistry of their manipulators; or the nuanced synergies between live actors, puppets (both human and animal), and their puppeteers.

The power and seduction of the puppets lies in their will to create – and yes I use an active construction here knowingly – their will to create a complete suspension of disbelief on the part of the audience, to encourage empathy with the characters.  The human puppets are wooden dolls attempting to be real people.

Photo Handspring Puppet Company (ed Taylor, J. 2009 p80)

Photo Handspring Puppet Company (ed Taylor, J. 2009 p80)

In the case of these human puppets, two puppeteers manipulate one puppet.  The manipulators become actors using facial expressions to inform the audience’s understanding of the emotions of the puppet character with its immobile features.  (The puppeteers never focus on anything or anybody but their own puppets – neither audience nor fellow actors).  Jones and Kohler were very influenced by the Japanese Bunraku tradition of an exposed style of performing where the puppeteers are visible but yet dressed in black to underplay their presence. Gradually however they came to realize the virtue of an exposed style of performing, with the visible puppeteers acting out emotions and the mechanics of the puppets made visible to the audience – where the double performance of the puppet and the puppeteer together allows for  powerful identification and empathy. Whenever the manipulators are visible, they wear costumes which are integral to the show and the puppets they operate.  So for example in Ubu and the Truth Commission, the puppeteers wore khaki dustcoats to suggest minor civil servants so integral to the successful functioning of the machinery of State.  It is the reality of the characters created by this dual performance that enables our ‘suspension of disbelief’.  And despite the fact that puppets rarely have moving facial features – from a distance body language articulates more clearly and effectively than facial expression – the success of the audience’s imaginative identification is evident when people ask:  ‘How do you make their eyes move?’ But of course the eyes don’t move.

Courtesy martysyard.co.uk

Courtesy martysyard.co.uk

Another example of suspension of disbelief results from the solutions Kohler and Jones have found to various technical challenges, solutions which again show their minute observation of realistic details.   In the case of the horses in War Horse, Kohler realized that the anatomy of the horse’s legs and those of the humans inside would not correspond as they had done in the case of the giraffe in Tall Horse, where the 2 puppeteers were able to stand on stilts inside the giraffe with these ‘stilted legs’ ‘standing in’ for the giraffe’s legs.   There would be 10 legs under the horse not 4.  Kohler notes:

But [in the horses in War Horse] the hands of the puppeteers would be in close proximity to the puppet legs and therefore available for strong, hands-on manipulation, so the legs had the chance of being highly articulated. If I could successfully mimic the way the horse’s hoof automatically curls under as it is lifted off the ground by the lower leg, I would be able to make credible horse legs that would easily pull focus from the human legs walking beside them under the horse.  The evolution of the jointing of the horse legs in War Horse had begun with the front leg of The Rhino in Woyzeck on the Highveld. It grew in a more sophisticated lever control with passive movement of the front paw of The Hyena in Faustus in Africa and finally was enlarged and employed on all four hooves of the horses. 

(Adrian Kohler in Handspring Puppet Company edited by Jane Taylor 2009 p 134)

Il Ritorno d'Ulisse Music by Monteverdi Puppet Ulisse with Basil Jones and Singer Julian Podger. Animation by William Kentridge. Theatre Malibran Venice 2008 (Source Handspring Puppet Company ed J. Taylor 2009 p 90)

Il Ritorno d’Ulisse Music by Monteverdi Puppet Ulisse with Basil Jones and Singer Julian Podger. Animation by William Kentridge. Theatre Malibran Venice 2008 (Source Handspring Puppet Company ed J. Taylor 2009 p 90)

Another example of this meticulous attention to life-like detail, is Kohler’s realization, through the singer-puppet- puppeteer relationship in the opera production of Return of Ulysses/Il Ritorno d’Ulisse, of the vital importance of breath.  He wrote about this significance:

Breath is the start of any physical movement, providing oxygen to the muscles that sustain the action. Singers take a breath before launching into a new phrase . … If the puppet breathed in at the same time as the singer, and then performed the next sung phrase breathing out, the energy and the impulses of the singer and the puppet blend. As this realization dawned on us, the task before each puppeteer became enormous. We [the puppeteers] would have to know the music intimately, down to each breath of our partners. We would not only have to know the meaning of each Italian line but, since lines are often repeated, we would have to know the emotional effect of each repetition so that this could be visibly performed in the body language of the puppet.  ….

.. when we were designing the horses for War Horse, one of the first priorities was ensuring the visible horse breath.

(Adrian Kohler in Handspring Puppet Company edited by Jane Taylor 2009 p 99)

HPC has created a very particular genre and style of puppetry with their open-weave transparent puppets and visible puppeteers. Interestingly, Sichel argues that they have also created a particularly African aesthetic in their use and creation of a range of movement for their puppets. Jones explains that there is a fundamental technical reason for this. He says that Kohler, as the master puppet-maker, moved the centre of control from the chest to the pelvis:

What he [Adrian] inherited from Europe was a rod control inside a puppet at chest level. He felt it was more appropriate, and better for us, at pelvis level. So he moved the centre of control of the puppet downward in the puppet. This was very important for us and gave a sense of African movement. It was a real but subtle innovation which made a profound difference. 

(A. Sichel citing Jones in Handspring Puppet Company 2009 p 163)

As I write this I am already thinking that one viewing of War Horse will not do the subtleties of this extraordinary production justice – so I might save up my rands and book for an indulgent second viewing  before it closes its run in Jozi on 30th November. I even have guests from Mpumulanga who are driving to Joburg to see War Horse and  have booked here at Liz at Lancaster for their stay.

At last our South African Company has brought their production home.  So welcome home Joey!














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New immigration regulations – Three questions for ‘the Tourism Terminator’ …

Dave Marsh writes in  South African Tourism Update: 
They are calling Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba, the Tourism Terminator.
Unmoved by the evidence and growing alarm in the travel and tourism sectors about new immigration regulations, he has just reaffirmed in a joint statement with Derek Hanekom, Minister of Tourism, that they will be introduced almost unchanged on October 1.
Our main source markets for tourism will be hard hit. Most do not require a visa and tourists will depart for SA armed only with a passport. With no need to call on an SA mission, why would they think otherwise. If they are travelling with a minor they may get as far as the last leg before they are denied boarding. They will return home shattered, litigating with their travel agent and airline. There will be negative travel trade press coverage in each market about this extraordinary regulation.
SA requires the citizens of most countries to have a visa. They plan to have all our missions enabled to fingerprint and photograph applicants by October 1. They are talking about increasing the number of centres but where and when they themselves do not know at this stage – and it will not be in time.
With biometric visas issued at relatively few centres worldwide, it effectively ends the convention and group tour business as we know it. This will now be limited to those events or tours where all the participants come from the visa-free markets. An international event organiser would be foolish to ask delegates to go to a destination if it meant some of them would have to fly to another centre, or even another country, to be fingerprinted as part of the process for a visa.
Mr Minister, we have three simple questions:
 1) When you say the unabridged birth certificate requirement is not uncommon in other countries, please name the countries, as we have heard of none.
2) When you say you have consulted over these regulations, please tell us with which tourism bodies and when.
 3) Independent fact-checking organisation, Africa Check, has investigated claims that over 30 000 children are being trafficked into prostitution in SA each year. It followed up and found the NGOs were making wildly exaggerated claims to capture public attention and generate moral outrage. Ivo Vegter in the Daily Maverick reported that only a very small number of cases could be substantiated by evidence, according to the analysis. Of those, many appear to have taken place entirely within South Africa, without involving any international air travel. It is not a basis for policy. So Mr Minister, what details do you have about the international aspect of this child trafficking scourge?
We may be wrong but we think the minister cannot answer any of these questions satisfactorily.
David Frost, SATSA CEO, has pointed out that there was no process of active consultation with the tourism industry. “Nor have we had sight of any economic or regulatory impact assessment study from Home Affairs,” he says.
SATSA is lobbying for a 12 month postponement. “To this end we will be working closely with our fellow associations, ASATA, BARSA, SAVRALA and AASA, through the auspices of the TBCSA,” says Frost.
As this issue went to press, the Association of Southern African Travel Agents (ASATA) confirmed in a statement that it had questioned the effectiveness of the anti-child trafficking measures and also asked for a 12-month grace period.
 The letter requesting a meeting with the minister that ASATA sent last month, together with four other major industry bodies, has been ignored – not even acknowledged.
 We are hopeful that this madness will be stopped, because the process and foundation for this policy are so flawed that the courts would throw it out if it is challenged.
By Dave Marsh South African Tourism Update 7th August 2014
Liz at Lancaster has already had two cancellations from travellers who could not get visas.
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