The walls of Woodstock, an urban neighbourhood in Cape Town, are covered with captivating street art that’s been created by local and international artists. Our Marketing Specialist, Pierce, was able to learn more about this magnificent streert art on a Woodstock walking tour that ended off with a gin tasting. A great way to get to know Cape Town. Read about his experience below.
“Friday is as good a time as any to take a bit of time out from work and so, when I was offered the possibility of joining a Friday afternoon walking tour of Woodstock’s street art followed by a gin tasting at a local distillery I didn’t hesitate. The fact that I didn’t know quite what to expect wasn’t an issue – I was hooked the moment I heard that ‘gin’ was to be included.
Just before 13h30 we met with a few other industry colleagues at the Gas Works in Woodstock, ordered a warm cup of coffee and took shelter inside the oversized doorway from the driving wind outside. Soon after, an unassuming local guy wondered up, introduced himself as Zack and told us that he would be our guide for the afternoon. When I think of a tour guide, a big, confident, larger than life sort of character tends to spring to mind and Zac was anything but this. He was young, small, quiet and looked ill at ease with his role leading our rather boisterous group of reprobates. Thankfully first impressions are not always correct and in no time at all Zack had taken control of the situation and, one by one, started unveiling the hidden gems that litter the walls of the neighbourhood.
I have been to Woodstock many times before and, although I probably fleetingly noticed the graffiti, I never looked twice at the art itself. Zac opened my eyes to all of this, explaining how the street art project was started back in 2010 for the FIFA soccer world cup, how numerous internationally renowned street artists had come to Woodstock over the years in order to contribute to the project and how the locals talked with pride about the art featured on the walls of their homes – the artists need to submit a proposal and get permission from the wall owners before any work can be started. He pointed out the different mediums and techniques used, from spray-paint to installations, he introduced us to the various artists and, most importantly, explained how each piece had its own story to tell or message to impart. Many local pieces dealt with the conflicting views of gentrification in the area or the theme of living in harmony despite our differences. Pertinently Zak told us that his father is Muslim and mother Christian – a microcosm of the tolerance that abounds in this multicultural area of Cape Town. The international pieces, of course, had their own stories to tell.
Unfortunately, due to the untimely onset of a Cape Town downpour, the tour had to be cut short leaving me wondering how much more was hidden away on the walls of this unique and most fascinating of Cape Town neighbourhoods. I made a mental note to return soon to Woodstock with friends and family and this time finish the tour, but I didn’t dwell on that for long… it was time for gin!”