Something I love about right now is that things are getting very, very nice to look at. If my opinion is anything to go by, it seems when the world hits a flush of wealthy, good economic times, beauty seems to take a back seat to flash and expensive glitz. As we’ve just come out of a recession, we have also come into ourselves beautifully and everywhere you look design and structure is fashionably tasteful. We’re seeing a lot of inspiration shining through what designers are doing on the runways from the 40’s and 50’s, both economically tough times. Art from the likes of the ominous French street artist, ‘JR’ is opening up our eyes with his eyes, literally painted eyes on the walls of urban buildings. We’re looking and liking in a different way and most lovely of all…things are becoming delightfully gendered. Fashion and style for men and women is different, individual, suited and still aligned. Men and women complement one another aesthetically which really just serves to high light all the best things about their differences. Slacks and spats walking with skirts and heels really does something for a pair.
South Africa could be going through a nu-wave era of its own. There are a lot of people coming into the country instead of going out for a change. First world English and American are swapping their overdeveloped environments for our potentially exciting one and bringing with them a flurry of talent, artistic innovation and ideas. They don’t mean to take over this time either; they mean to follow what’s already going on and become a part of untapped resources. Designers, artists, events organisers, writers, casting agencies…they’re finding a place to express themselves on South African soil and so we begin “Nuwe Swaai”.
Globalisation has pulled us altogether and we find ourselves sitting in the lap of opportunity at this dark end of the world, ready to produce things that were never possible before. Better yet, South Africa gets to relive everything it missed out on when the rest of the world was enjoying the buoyant flavours and patterns of the world’s most favourite decades. Now, our fantastically aesthetic infrastructure can take part and hell, if we want to enjoy the chaotic 60’s again we can. Afrique Noir a la mode.
Design is going places here. The magnificent stadia we churned out for FIFA 2010, are gigantic effigies of the awesome creative ability we can conjure up now we have been given a platform to shine. A light went on in South Africa and reflected like the Northern Lights on the rest of the world. The burning bulb of globalisation in technology allows us to have this kind of impact on them and them on us and thus; we’re all in a smorgasbord soup together and keeping our heads about the tides of trend.
Musically we’re penetrating the lofty UK and US with um, yeah, with Afrikaans zef rap. I don’t care how many of you trendy hipsters have yawned over Die Antwoord. They carry some monumental status and have literally rode the wave of indie-Afrikaans kid sub-culture out of Stellenbosch and straight overseas. Yolandi and Ninja know a good thing when it gets all up in their grill.
Film is having a major revival in South Africa. This time though, it’s standing right up, face to face with international cinema and through the likes of District 9,Sweetheart and the first South African vampire movie ever, Eternity. It’s interesting that we are falling into fashion, a place we were snubbed before and leading at it too. Visually stimulating, artistically appreciative film that is tapping into a pop culture scene that is a pie we’ve never had a piece of before. Some might say that having a successful commercial element to our culture is what erodes the unique authenticity of South Africa. Let’s be real. Technology has taken us all to Paramount Pictures and downloaded a very real interconnection of tangled world wide web that we’re stuck in, like it or not. Having some agency in the setup means you’re active, you’re a part and it certainly doesn’t mean that we aren’t anything else. What came first? Pop or dissidence?