SNAPSHOT OF CAPE TOWN, A CITY OF CONTRAST
In JAN the Journal Vol 10, Erin Walls reflects on the eclectic nuances she faces while she walks through the streets of Cape Town. On her walk, she observes strangers in different parts of the city, capturing a glimpse of their experiences through the lens of her Nikon FM2 film camera. In her article, she interlinks fashion, food, and photography with a city she describes as a metropolis of contrasts and individuality. In a fascinating display of words and visuals, her depiction of the Mother City becomes a tangible experience of the experiences of others, depicting the Mother City through their eyes. Here’s a sneak-peek into what you can expect from reading this piece.
Have you ever taken a stroll along the Promenade in Cape Town’s Sea Point on a late Sunday afternoon? Imagine the sun slowly setting over the Atlantic Ocean, casting an orange and pink hue over the horizon. The waves crashing against the sea wall and the salty mist from the sea leaves a gentle layer on your skin. As you walk, you’re surrounded by crowds of people from all walks of life – athletes jogging, dog walkers strolling, and health enthusiasts sipping on green smoothies. Each person seems to be leaving a small piece of themselves behind, whether it’s through their conversations or their presence.
And as the evening wears on, you decide to order an Uber. As you climb into the car, you take one last look at the bustling suburb that surrounds you. It’s as if you’ve been transported to a mini version of Los Angeles, with its palm trees, trendy cafes, and the hustle and bustle of the city.
But as your Uber driver navigates through the heavy Sunday traffic, you find yourself on a detour. High Level Road becomes Strand, and suddenly, you’re in a completely different part of Cape Town. Welcome to Kloof Street, an area completely different from the serene beauty of Sea Point. The houses here are old and stand apart from the gleaming skyscrapers of the inner city. But what’s fascinating is the juxtaposition of the old houses and the trendy restaurants that are sometimes housed in old warehouses. It’s like walking through a trendy alleyway in New York. The area is alive with energy, and people making impressive fashion statements enjoy a vibrant night out. It’s the same city, but this area is a stark contrast from where you were before. But what makes it feel like worlds apart?
Were you able to get the perfect snapshot on your iPhone while you were in Sea Point? If that immediate Instagram gratification is your preference, don’t feel judged. But imagine the exhilaration of walking into a thrift shop on Kloof Street, and buying someone else’s undeveloped film. Imagine developing it as your own getting a glimpse into someone else’s memory waiting to be revisited; an experience of an experience that might be long forgotten.
Erin describes film photography as a form of delayed gratification. It takes her back to the root of this medium, devoid of gimmicks. What exhilarates her about film is capturing a moment in time and saving it in a medium that will give it its right of way.
She describes the article as a glimpse into the lives of strangers and links it back to film photography. “A flash of light, a way of living through memories of other people even though you don’t know them”.
Erin describes a roll of film as a capsule of memories waiting to be developed. Just like memories, some rolls never get developed and are left in thrift stores. These memories might be picked up by someone else one day and live for you – similar to observing strangers in the streets of Cape Town, a homage to living through memories of other people even though they don’t know you.
Feeling like developing your own? Grab yourself a film camera and start snapping – Kloof Street has got an array of displays to capture. But be reminded that you’ll have to wait a few days while your film develops.
If you plan on spending time both on the Atlantic Seaboard and in the inner city, you’ll need to trade your Ray-Bans and athleisure for Birkenstocks. What really sets Kloof street apart is the fashion.
In Sea Point, you see sun-screened faces, Nike and AirPods, but on Kloof oversized jeans and cat-eyeliner is usually accompanied by tattoos and Doc Martens. Pop into a thrift shop and get your hands on some obscure European brand that was cool in the 80s. Carhartt and Patagonia are some that immediately come to mind – and of course, you’ll score ten out of ten with a pair of vintage New Balance. And whatever you do, don’t forget to finish off your look with a tote bag. The streetwalkers on Kloof Street take utility very seriously.
Cape Town is a foodie’s haven, with a huge variety of cuisines from all over the world. On Sundays, Sea Point is the place you want to spend your mornings amongst fitness gurus and influencers sipping on delicious smoothies and iced coffees.
And when you notice Sea Point emptying out after dark, don’t worry. It’s normal. Everyone’s probably heading to Kloof Street that’s filling up while the sun is setting.
On Kloof Street, you might have to swap your green smoothie for an espresso or a margarita. Sundays are the new Saturday in this area. A time for relaxation and winding down in ways that don’t mean cleaning or lying in bed, but rather moving to music and sharing the week’s stories with those around you with the sound of music vibrating in your wine glass and film cameras flashing.
Pop in at Blondies and order yourself the Everything on the Menu, a family-style dining experience on brown paper – and don’t forget to ask the waiter for a Paloma – you’ll thank us later.
And let’s not forget about One Park. Here you can truly express yourself have delicious food and listen to all-time classics on a record player. And the chefs? Imagine an Instagram takeover on steroids. The head chef usually does an Instagram call-out for all qualified chefs to help her plan the menu for the next day.
It’s also a record store and the listening bar upstairs where you can show off your dance moves but remember. This is not a club. You’re on Kloof Street. Rather think of it as an experience.