You can only really know a place once you have lived there. Whether it’s your favourite restaurant, a busker you stopped to listen to, or a bench you love the view from, we’re looking for people who want to share their neighbourhood with us. We want to know your favourite things about your immediate neighbourhood. This could be anything: from something you pass every day on the way home, to something interesting you hope to see again. We have been choosing a different people from different cities each week to chat to us right here in our ‘Up My Street’ weekly feature. In the last few weeks we’ve walked around Riley Street, Vancouver; South West Corner, Adelaide and Muizenberg, South Africa. This week are in South Africa again, heading instead for capital city Johannesburg.
Meet the Local, Choreographer and Dancer Gregory Maqoma
Creator and star of Exit/Exist, the award winning choreographer and performer began training in dance back in 1990. Just 9 years later he founded the Vuyani Dance Theatre, which looks to combine African contemporary urban styles, music and culture with that of European contemporary counterparts. Danceviewtimes describe Maqoma as a ‘truly global dancer thinker’,
“He brings to his work the multiple influences from his early street dance and traditional African dance experiences, a highly stylized sense of theatrical space, and the theatrical savvy of someone who has seen a lot and absorbed more.”
Which city do you live in?
What is the name of your street?
Where do you spend most of your time?
Newton Cultural Precinct (a cultural hub of Johannesburg)
Newtown, Johannesburg | Photo from Wayfaring.info
What is your favourite local business?
Kaldis Coffe in Newtown – this is where I have sealed many business deals.
Where can you get the best local bargain?
Rosebank Rooftop Freemarket.
Who is the most inspiring person in your neighbourhood?
Alf Khumalo, A photographer who captured images of the city and the surrounding townships during the apartheid period.
Where is your favourite place to go on a sunny day?
Panyaza in Soweto – a hang out place where I can reconnect with the people over a barbecue.
Where is your favourite place to go on a rainy day?
I love being in the studio on a rainy day, I feel completely blessed and inspired.
A vendor in the Rosebank Market | Photograph by Emeka B
What is your favourite secret place/thing?
My laptop is my secret weapon, every idea is drafted in it and also I keep personal letters and family pictures.
Are there any interesting exhibitions going on now or in the near future?
Kendell Geers / Songs of Innocence and of Experience at the Goodman Gallery.
Where is your favourite place to eat?
Pigalle in Melros Arch – comfortable setting, great for privacy and the food is palatable.
Where is your favourite place to drink?
Melville in Johannesburg – 7th Street, full of bars – lovely atmosphere.
Is there any street art in your neighbourhood you like (include a photo if possible)?
Here is a picture of myself and a sculpture of Brenda Fassie, a South Africa musical icon.
Gregory Maqoma with the Brenda Fassie sculpture
What is your favourite memory since you have lived on your street?
Afternoon to sundown get togethers in my house with Lebo Mathosa, who sadly passed on due to a car accident.
Exit/Exist by Gregory Maqoma is at Queen Elizabeth Hall on 17th July, as part of Southbank Centre’s Africa Utopia Festival.