Johannesburg jaunt exceeded expectations

Judith McDonough & David Myers, Boston and Rukhsana Ali, London

Cape Insights is aptly titled. Marion’s personal knowledge about and infectious passion for contemporary art, history and culture in the city inspired us as guests.
Her passion and knowledge included arranging with colleagues, curators and directors of several institutions to share their insights with us. Her vim, vigor and charm made it seem like sunshine, despite the historic level of rain. Thank you for every moment of it.

Marion provided a chockfull itinerary, and co-pilot Gavin transported us in timely comfort and safety with his insider’s knowledge of the city. The Winston Hotel provided a quiet, elegant refuge with fine service and food in a secure environment.

The biggest surprise was at the Apartheid Museum and the visiting school children’s eagerness to enter the scary police van. I could only wonder how many of their parents’ friends and neighbors had actually been thrown in one of these vehicles, beaten and bruised by an unjust police state. But children scramble over army tanks in Europe and put themselves – temporarily – into Puritan stocks in New England at various museum settings. They only realize much later that these relics were actual horrible aspects of war and punishment, not amusement park rides, and that civil society can learn and be different.

But how can we limit our comments to the most surprising?
Why not Constitution Hill and the Court where every square foot has symbolic meaning? Learning about the Court is like understanding medieval cathedrals whose stories abound in glass, stone and paint?

Why not Walter Ollman’s astonishing wire art work at the Standard Bank Gallery – I wonder if his hands will wear out before his imagination?
Why not the Arts on Main: a steady diet of these resurgent places exists in North America and Europe, and clearly this complex is blooming and growing in Joburg?
Why not the Origins Museum that demonstrates wo/mankind’s beginnings?
Why not Soweto with two modest brick dwellings of future giants along a sloping neighborhood street in a vast, mostly un-scary suburb, despite its bad rap?
Why not private enterprises like the Kim Sacks and Everard Read Galleries that showcase national artists and local artisans? 

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