Categories: Feature

Danielle Clough

Danielle Clough

“I’m really good at not taking myself too seriously”

So, we’ve never met Danielle in person. In fact, all we know about her is what we’ve seen on Facebook. Anyway, after a message that we sent to her inbox, she ended up being really receptive and agreed to a conversation over Skype. Nervous and excited, we eventually remembered to hit the record button 5min into the conversation already… sorry. 

Khanya: …We decided to go print dude. We just thought it was really important for us not to go digital.

Danielle: I think with the nature of everything going digital, having something tangible is really important.

Khanya: Exactly.

Danielle: Feeling the paper, smelling the paper… it gives you a better understanding of the quality. 

Khanya: Digital just starts to feel cold and soulless, you know what I’m saying? So uhm, We’ve been friends on fb for a while. I’ve been seeing a lot of your work dude, and what really got my attention was the woven stuff you did that was from last year; when you started sharing all the art you did on the tennis racquets. 

Danielle: Yeah that’s all my embroidery work.

Khanya: Wow, that stuff was so amazing. I am always taken aback by creative work that I would have no clue on how to do myself; so that’s how things get my attention. If I see a piece of work and I have no idea where to start, like that shit’s attention grabbing. Do you want talk us through that? What was your inspiration behind that?

Danielle: Well it’s interesting that you say that it’s something you don’t feel like you could do, like, you don’t understand it. To me I kind of feel like I’m cheating. There is this thing that’s called Imposter Syndrome – which is like when you get told  you are doing well and you just start looking for excuses about why the person thinks that. You make excuses for why the praise is not justified. For me, I feel like a cheat because essentially what I do is colour in with thread, that’s how I feel. It’s so sweet that you say that. I started while I was studying. I studied art direction and graphic design at Red and Yellow, but I was always super interested in sewing. I really wanted to be a fashion designer when I was a teenager, and I thought I was going to be the world’s best fashion designer -giggling. I was like 15 and I had all these clothes I’d make myself – this jacket that was made out of a curtain and still had the rings inside, purple and lime green skirts. I did a visual arts course at FBC which is kind of like the drop out school. I didn’t know it was a drop out school when I went there, but then I got there and everyone was either pregnant or going to rehab. 

Khanya & Shannon: -laughing

Danielle: But I didn’t think it was a problem because I really loved it. From there I went to study fashion design and lasted two weeks. I was like “fuck thiiiisss” -giggling- and then I spent the rest of the yeahr thinking of what I wanted to do. I figured out what I wanted, and that was to do everything. I went into art direction and graphic design because that is as broad as it gets. You are conceptualising and you’re executing your own projects. It was very practical. I picked up photography because I was really into sewing. I would craft a lot of my projects. I would also make plush toys like this little guy here. 

I would make these plush toys for people at school, so sometimes we would do drawings and then go buy fabric together. I started drawing with thread on the fabric and thought that was dope and I just kept doing that. I didn’t take it to seriously until 3 years later, around 2013.

Later on I figured out it was embroidery. and it had been around for centuries. 

Khanya: -breaks into hard laughter.

Danielle: -laughing.  I thought I was special, but it was cool. That’s kind of where the medium comes from. Its not something I pursued, it was more something that I fell into.

Khanya: So it’s primarily an artist background? Because when I saw your work I was like this is exhibition type stuff, expressive artist. Its stuff that you can really attach yourself too. It’s like sit and look at it and ponder about it. However,  your background is more design?

Danielle: Red and yellow is an advertising school, so the background is a lot more commercial. I try not to identify myself as too much of an artist.

I’d rather like to be referred to as a designer, embroiderer or a photographer, because to me it’s more practical and it removes a lot of the ego. Lorraine Loots said it really beautifully, for her, art is conceptual and emotive. She just likes to paint cool cute things. So she would rather be called a painter. I’m the same. I have feelings and I have moments where I see a colour and I want to do something with it. It’s a lot less emotional and conceptual as it is just about making, which to me is like a designer mentality as opposed to an artist’s mentality. 

Khanya: So, what do you do full time? You said you were in your studio, so is that like your office?

Is it full time?

Danielle: I work for a company called Mama Money once a week doing design work. They are a really great company. It’s a socially minded business so it’s cool to be involved in something so positive. I am like a totally average designer though, they don’t really know that.

Khanya: -laughing.

Danielle: -laughing So yeah my studio is for my sewing. It’s taken off to the point where I am sustaining myself and I am able to have my own space. I have always wanted a space for myself to create. This wall behind me is full of old fashion tapestries, and then over there is my couch. It’s just a really small room I can hide away for a little and make things.

Khanya: Yeah your own little space. Looks cool. So you based in CPT or from CPT?

Danielle: I am a born and bred Capetonian.

Khanya: So no chance of you branching out? Moving elsewhere? Any plans to travel?

Danielle: Uhm I am going to the UK in July for a street art festival. I am one of 100 internationals from 700 applications that were selected. Which is super cool.

Khanya: Dude well done!

Danielle: Yeah that’s like a big dream for me, and as far as being in South Africa forever, I think that is a really big commitment. It’s a very kind of conflicting situation, it’s a conflicting country with different highs and lows. So I think being committed to it is similar to being in a rocky relationship; when it’s amazing, it’s amazing and when shit gets worse you’re not sure how to have the breakup conversation -laughs. So it would be a bad idea to stay committed to South Africa. Im settled here, just open to things changing one way or the other.

Khanya: I had another question I wanted to ask you, it just slipped my mind now. Uhm… What other interests do you have outside of sewing? Like, I went into photography as an outlet to try and explore more, learn more. Do you have other outlets?

Danielle: I go through phases. The photography thing has actually now become the hobby, so I have some film cameras and I pretty much only shoot on film, unless it is my work, and that to me is kind of a creative outlet; that I don’t put too much pressure on. I also think it is really important to be experimental and be like a kid. So I just go into art shops and I am super excited and I touch everything -giggling. I most recently bought ink because I live with this kid called Jack Fox – He is a really talented, amazing artist and he was telling me about ink, and that I would really like it.

Khanya: Yeah I saw that A4 spread you did, that was pretty dope, like the doodle.

Danielle: Yes, just stuff like that, for me it’s interesting questions, because I am having those moments where I don’t want the embroidery to become, uhm… this is my passion and it’s the thing I love the most, and I don’t want it to become a chore. So I think it is just a matter of thinking of the jobs that you love and feel passionate about and not doing stuff for money. So it’s about balancing that and balancing people’s expectations as well, and being honest with yourself.

Khanya: And I am sure balance is important, because… (she jumps back in) – 

Danielle: Money is one of the main killers of your creativity, because as soon people have to be creative it takes away that spontaneity and energy. I am very aware of it, at the moment I am really happy. Its important for me to take on jobs that are challenging or really exciting. Its imortants that I am always authentic towards the client or the person who has commissioned me.

Shannon: So how does it work? If I want to buy something, where would I go? Is it me sending you a DM asking you to make something, or do you have a whole lot of pieces that you make and sell?

Danielle: I launched an online shop in February when things started picking up. I try to make as much stuff as possible, then I stock it and launch them all at once. The nice thing about that is that it also feeds into my spontaneity. If I wake up and really want embroider a fox or I embroider one of my friends, then I can – this allows me to do the stuff that I want and decide if its going in my shop. every now and then I get a lot of commissions but I can’t take them all on just because by the nature of the craft. It’s really time consuming.

Danielle: People are amazing -laughing. But sometimes the projects feel really authentic and I am excited and the person is excited. 

Shannon: How long does it take, or is that entirely dependent on the piece?

Danielle: Yeah the piece dictates the time it will take.

Khanya: I just saw a piece where you experimented with a different medium. The one you did on a fence. So I am sure the platform you are using determines how soon you will finish a piece?

Danielle: Yeah totally and also the smaller type stuff takes long because the thread is thinner, or the thickness of the paintbrush. So I have never churned anything out in a day. Like nothing, nothing -laughing.

Khanya: So I want ask you one last thing. I stumble upon inspiration all the time, from different place. For example, I have this thing I do where I snap and upload one dope pic a day – dope in my opinion –  to train myself to get better with the camera. How and where do you get your inspiration from?

Danielle: I am moved by different things. I am moved by colours, materials and like new possibilities. walking down the road and being like oh, shade cloth, like it would be cool to use shade cloth. There is always some kind of stimulation to find, especially if you are hungry for it. I think that everybody is constantly inspired, Well, not everyone, but most people one way or another. You see something cool and you share it and tag it or you double tap it, you know. There is a big difference between inspiration and motivation. A lot of the time you get these bursts or sparks or see something cool or maybe that thing that gives you a spark is envy of your friend, like shit she looks so hot and i also want to dye my hair pink, whatever it is, but it’s the motivation that makes the difference I find. I am easily inspired by the tools, but more motivated to get shit done you know. I have to be busy – the things that inspire are really boring everyday things. Really.

Khanya: You also strike me as the type of person who puts things out there because you like them, not because you want people to like them. And I think that’s super, super important, like it took me a couple of years to realise that. 

Danielle: I think that it stems from having a really cool mom. Like she is just really supportive. She really doesn’t get what I do -laughs.

Khanya: Neither do my parents -laughing.

Danielle: But she totally supports me. I would come home with a really bad hair cut, wearing this jacket, such a weird hippie, and I am like “mom look at my hair cut do you like it?” and she goes “I don’t really like it, but it suits you” -all laughing.

Danielle: It’s just like this relentless support, she doesn’t always understand what i am doing, but it’s cool, she has a ‘just go for it attitude’. That support makes a massive difference, so I have always just posted and shared stuff because I just assumed everyone was like that. You either like something or you don’t and it’s not malicious. I have always navigated with a certain expectation of that type of kindness and as I have gotten older, I have realised that so many people are assholes and that they think their opinion matters, but you learn that those are just those kind of people. 

Khanya: Agreed. Yo man, thanks dude! It was really awesome chatting to you!

Danielle: Thanks guys, super dope chatting to you guys too!    

Mo Hassan

Mo Hassan

Phone rings… and rings…

Mo: Yo! (expecting our call from an earlier conversation. He was driving to the studio.)

Khanya: Yo bro. So where’s your studio?

Mo: A friend of mine went to France for an artist residency, so I’m taking over the space for a few months.

Khanya: Oh, ok cool. So what does he do?

Mo: Uhm …she’s a graffitti artist. I don’t know if you’ve heard of Nardstar? I’ll send you a link or her instagram handle and you can check out her stuff.

Khanya: Yeah that’s cool. So you said earlier that you came from work, what do you do?

Mo: Nah, at the moment I’m freelancing. I’ve been freelancing since February. I worked for about a year after I got my degree, and have been doing freelancing since Feb.

Khanya: And how’s freelancing in Cape Town bro?

Mo: Yoh, it’s a flooded market. Everybody’s doing something. But when you can kinda separate yourself from everyone else creatively, you end up getting work quicker. But it’s a dog-eat-dog world out here. -laughs

Khanya: I mean, that should give you a bit of an angle right? with your graffitti background…? I guess it gives you a unique way of looking at things.

Mo: Yeah it does set me apart slightly because… I don’t know, my work has a mix of the street feel, with the corporate kind of design and all that technical stuff. So yeah it does kind of set me apart. People look for me for specific kind of work.

Khanya: Oh yeah, dope.

Mo: And at the same time, I’m able to offer mural work as well as corporate ID’s and so on.

Khanya: Mad. Sorry bro, I forgot to introduce Shannon. She’s here too.

Mo: Ok, Ok. Uhm, hi Shannon.

Shannon: hey 🙂

Mo: Shannon is who I got the email from right?

Khanya: Yeah exactly. That was her.

Mo: Ok sweet!

Khanya: Yeah, so you mentioned that you do murals. In our 1st issue we had an interview with a friend of mine, Dav Andrew…

Mo: Oh yes yes yes. I studied with him for a bit. He was ahead of me.

Khanya: Yeah I was studying with him too. We were at CPUT together.

Mo: Oh ok nice. Awe, I was there too.

Khanya: Damn, ok cool -laughs.

Mo: Yeah I did my 4 years there, and Dav’s been killing me with his political cartoons. -laughs

Khanya: Man, he’s dope. So in the interview we had with him, he mentioned like… because we were there together in Cape Town, he kinda tried getting me into the graffiti scene, right. I don’t know if you remember 2010, Adidas had the whole three stripes thing in Woodstock…?

Mo: Oh, uhm…

Khanya: We used to hang there. Faith (47) and them were there, Freddy, Sam… but in the interview when we caught up with him, he was telling us how the graffiti was kinda dying, the culture was dying and like, people…

Mo: Yeah they hit us with the by-laws in a major way. They were getting rough. People were getting fined and busted. It was getting hectic. Police were rocking up at people’s houses to get them to paint over things and handing out fines. But recently, over the past two… years and half its been quieting down a bit. Especially in Woodstock.

A couple of weeks ago we did some work with no permits. We had no pressure and the work is still up. But definitely, the by-laws killed things a bit. People started moving away from the streets, none of the illegal stuff and started doing more commissions, just legitimising the scene a bit more. So, a lot of the major cats in CPT right now do commissioned work.

Khanya: Is that something that’s sustainable to you? I mean are enough brands/companies coming out and saying “We acknowledge graffiti as an art, and we’d like a piece…?”

Mo: Well, there’s definitely a lot more opportunity than there is cash in it. yoh, there are so many people still offering exposure as payment. I’ve even adapted to a system where I have to choose four jobs where I get paid, and I’d have to choose one job where I don’t get paid, just so I can stock up on paint and can keep working. So I gauge, month-on-month, which jobs I can do for free or get paid from.

Shannon: Can I ask you a question? I don’t know anything about graffiti so this might be very random. 

Mo: Ok, go ahead.

Shannon: When you’re a graffiti artist, isn’t the point to do it illegally and not commissioned, and just go fuck-out on a wall? So if it’s commissioned art, is it not just murals on a wall?

Mo: Yeah thats correct. I mean under definition, graffiti is meant to be illegal. that’s why most people prefer to do it illegally, because they consider any work that’s being paid for or known about to be selling out. But I mean, yoh… I personally don’t consider myself a graffiti artist. Paint is just a medium, and a wall is a huge canvas, with art, and my name next to it. That’s marketing. I’ve kind of figured out a way of merging the two, but I’d feel very anxious and nervous if I were to ever call myself a graffiti artist around people who do trains, bombings and quite a lot of risky stuff.

Khanya: -laughs. I know that feeling of having to

respect craft very well.

Mo: Yeah, you have to have that certain amount of respect for them, because that’s a, uhm, a very hardcore scene. I mean people getting into fights, getting robbed… it’s a hardcore scene. So I had to find some sort of balance with that. Like still running around with the underground kings, and then doing cool collabs and commissioned jobs with the kids that are above ground.

Khanya: But I understand the transition of graffiti shifting from the underground and spreading into more commercial spheres, because at the end of the day, it’s an artform that needs to start sustaining itself, and we’d all love to have graffiti seen and appreciated as an official expressive form of art. So yeah I understand that transition, but it wont happen overnight though.

Mo: Definitely not dude. There are people that strictly decide on remaining illegal, hard core, and then you get the guys that sort of try to… I don’t know, cross over like this chick who’s studio I’m occupying now, she studied at CPUT as well, got a degree in graphic

design but ended up not liking it. so she’s been working four to five years, full time, as a mural artist.

Mo: I need her to tell me her secret because, shit man, these are difficult times -laughs. It’s really hard to do that. Especially in this scene. Most of my pro-bono work is for schools…

Khanya: Oh yeah, sure.

Mo: …You know, things that make a bit more of an impact. Also, showing the kids that it’s not all about running around at night and tagging walls. I mean yeah, I might get someone to do some crazy lettering, but it’s at the school, and it’s a positive message. So that’s one of the ways I’m worming my way into the main scene, and still sort of trying to stay underground, if that makes any sense at all -laughs.

Khanya: Uhm, yeah… I don’t think it makes sense, but I think that’s why it works because it shouldn’t make sense.

Mo: Yeah, it’s the chaos theory – type thing.

Khanya: So, I wanted to ask you, like you mentioned earlier, things are getting more quieter, the restrictive boundaries and by-laws are getting a bit looser, are there still youngins trying to get into the scene, becoming graffiti artists? Is it still as attractive a scene as it was six years ago when I was still there?

Mo: Yoh… yes yes, very much so because like, flip, I’ve seen new names pop up everywhere. But the funny thing is that it’ll be an older guy that’s been around for years. From my experience, the younger guys are more into… uhm, damn, like the homies that I know do some… because we’re in a space where some people do commissioned work and some are still underground, they play in the middle. So they’ll come up with a name and tag it everywhere, but then they’ll create some t-shirts and sell those.

Shannon: Aah, so they make it into a business?

Mo: Yeah something like that. It’s more of a brand identity than an alias. So I’m trying to think of an example… there’s this guy who does graffiti on skateboard grip tape, and he has an official account on Instagram where he publishes his merchandise and brand name. So its something like that.

Khanya: Yeah man, it makes sense. It has to be


Mo: Exactly! So they take all the tips and tricks that they’d apply in graffiti, and create and sell merch that will actually pay the bills at the end of the month.

Shannon: That’s clever.

Khanya: So I look at you like more of an illustrator who uses a multitude of platforms as canvases, right, and various mediums as well. But when it comes to collabs, how does that work? Do you get together and conceptualise? because at the end of the day, you have your own technique and your collab partner has his/hers too…

Mo: Sometimes it’s spur of the moment. So someone will be like, “Yo, there’s a wall over here” and we’ll just get together, assess the wall and see what we can do together. Then we’ll assess our sketches, arrange them so they sit in sequence, and the piece just looks and feels good. But then the other times I’ll actually meet up with an artist and we’ll conceptualise and plan ahead. We’ll come up with a piece that will show our individual skills, where one doesn’t out-shine the other or anything like that.

Khanya: Ok that’s cool. that’s cool.

Mo: My collaborations happen in the most random of ways. Like meeting somebody and being like “Hey, I know your work”. And they say the same, then we end up trying to come up with something together.

Khanya: That’s cool. It’s organic.

Mo: Yeah. I appreciate that a lot more.

Khanya: But yo, your characters are the most attractive points of your work for me. The emotion, the gestures, the fabric… Whats the story behind those?

Mo: Flip man, so I grew up always watching cartoons. I mean, I still spend hours on Cartoon Network today. So being inspired by that, I kind of started working on my own style, playing around with different characters and techniques. So when I came up with a look that I could identify with, one that belonged to me, I started

playing around with it, perfecting it and started giving context instead of just random illustrations. Because from there man, flip, that’s when I started taking it a bit more seriously. I started doing small exhibitions, and a lot of people say my characters look a lot like me, but that’s because they are referenced a lot from what I go through and things that I’ve come to know. So I’m telling a personal story and kind of leaving it open to interpretation. It’s a very therapeutic process for me, because these illustrations will either say something I can’t say, or feel something that I want to feel but am not allowed to.

Khanya: That’s a lot of emotional risk that goes into doing public art man…

Mo: Yeah! it is. You feel flippen raw after putting work out. Just the thought that people are going to have their own perceptions and comments on the work… sometimes I do stuff and feel like, nah I can’t put that out, that’s too dark or twisted, people might start looking at me as some emo kid or something.

Khanya: -laughs. Cool but how about the other emotional side of putting your work out in a public space? I mean the thought of other graffiti artists coming out and damaging your work…

Mo: Weirdly enough, I do like leaving little bits of myself around everywhere. Little reminders when I walk by. It’s weird, but cool.

Khanya: Cool, so, I don’t want to ask you about the future of graffiti in Cape Town, but rather where would you like to see graffiti go to from here?

Mo: Ok. Yoh. Flip. Ok, I want there to be a balance between the opportunity and sustainability. It has to start paying more. There needs to be as much space to paint as there is money to pay. I mean everybody enjoys it, but right now, its still very much of gimmick. It needs to be taken a lot more seriously. when that happens, the artists will take it a lot more seriously too, and not just use it to look or feel cool, but rather showcase their work and talents. So I’d like to see a more legit scene, where you get as much respect and recognition from doing commissioned work as you do when doing underground work. 

Shannon: Where it’s seen and recognised as an art, officially.

Mo: Yeah.

Khanya: But I feel like a lot of the perception of graffiti

is just that – perception. If I did characters in a storybook, it’s just that right? A story book. But if I took those very same characters to a wall, then it’s graffiti. But dude, anyway, listen, next year we wana do something, a project called Posterboy. We want to start with story books and pyjamas for the kids in Hillbrow. maybe we can commission you to work on that with us.

Mo: That would be insane! Mad! That would be nuts! That’s actually one of the things on my bucket list. 

Khanya: Done bro! done! It’s going to be awesome. Pyjamas and fucking cartoons. 

Shannon: Wait, before you go, is your friend the one who did the piece at the aquarium?

Mo: Yeah that was her. Nadia.

Shannon: Yeah I have heard about her, through Carey. 

Mo: Yes yes yes, I studied with her. that’s crazy.

Khanya: It’s a mad world. One more question. Do you guys still use terms like ‘toy’ for a beginner and ‘king’ for the O.G.’s?

Mo: Yeah, that’s still there.

Khanya: At least the culture’s somewhat intact right?

Mo: Yeah man, like if you… I don’t know if you know the park just before you get to Walmer Estates? Just up the road from CPUT…

Khanya: Yeah, right by old District Six? The L-shaped wall?

Mo: Yeah. That’s one of the most iconic graffiti places in Cape Town. Like, a lot of the cats… if your name isn’t up there then… like if you a random cat and you go there and mess with someone’s work then your head’s on the block dude.

Khanya: Man, at least they still respect the craft. It keeps the culture alive. But yeah, thanks bro. We’ve really enjoyed this one. Love homie.

Siphiwe Giba Interview

Giba Interview:

Easy Sunday Afrasian Soup 

We spent about 3 hours on the streets of Cryildene looking for ingredients we needed to buy for our meal that evening. We were in the heart of an Asian food market- with fresh produce for days, luscious greens and root vegetables everywhere-it’s surprising we managed to walk away with stuff, we were quarter to buying everything they had. We saw everything from shark to cabbage. We got what we needed and drove to our next fresh produce market.

Yeoville- mini Africa, where you can literally find any African product you need. Fish that costs R700 but you don’t eat the fish, it’s used for broth, to paletine (banana that’s hard) to other burnt/flamed grilled meats. The Yeoville stop was a short one, I think at this stage we just wanted to get cooking and eating.

Khanya : Yo! Siphwe shout if you need help, like we can cut and chop things up for you if you’d like. 

*Bob Marley playing in the background- on a cassette*

Siphiwe: The kitchen is small, so we going to prep here in the dining room.

Shannon: But Giba, your energy is so calm dude- are you capable of getting upset?

Shannon ,Khanya, Giba: *laughing*

Giba: No I am not calm *laughing*

Khanya: Yea man I haven’t seen you upset or even angry and I’ve known you for over 3 years. Even if someone doesn’t pay you, or fucks with your work- even then dude.

Siphwe: *chopping up the vegetables*

Khanya: It’s just disrespectful to tell me, something if you feel a certain kind of way. 

Siphwe: Yea that’s very similar to me 

Khanya: So I have to be honest with you, relationships all work the same way. If I claim to be your friend I have to be able to tell you “hey man you’re fucking up now” 

Mariam: If your friends don’t tell you uh huh hhu who’s going to tell you? They don’t love you then, like when your friends let you go out looking ridiculous

Shannon, Khanya, Siphwe and Mariam: *laughing*

*Mariam and Siphwe continue cutting and washing the vegetables at the table*





Khanya: So Giba what are you currently working on?

Giba: Currently working on the Café, in the hood, Tsakane, dusty streets. *laughs* a way from jhb. It’s kind of cool, the place is very chilled. Uhm and there is room for opportunities as well. In terms of…

Shannon: Is it ready?

Siphwe: No, so it is not ready, I have the container and I kind of have to do the interior design. Chop it out, put windows. And I am also creating a space where people can chill on top.

Khanya: Oh yeah yeah yeah.

Mariam: Do you have the designs?

Siphwe: Yeah I have the designs. I am working with this other guy and he is going to put it together. He has an architectural background-nyana, so he is going to put it together. He also works with steel. So basically it’s going to be steel and wood, and glass windows. The space is called Wolf & Co. A lot of people call me Wolf so it’s basically me. It’s going to be my personality into the space. We will cook different meals. Each and every time we will change the food, so I will have themed nights as well where I just cook something very random. There will be live bands, music and dj’s and stuff like that. In between I want to create a space whereby people can just pop in, work and eat, have different coffees.

Khanya: In the area you are in right now are you guys contributing to what’s already happening, or is the container going to be the first one in Tsakane? 

Siphwe: Uhm there are couple of guys a block away from where my container will be, they have a concept shop and across the road there is a tattoo parlour. So what we’re planning to do in the near future is activate that whole space. Already on Sundays they do something different, they offer a time to chill listen to house. On Saturdays it’s more of curated space where people are skating, very chilled vibes, and live bands.

Khanya: Juxtapose? Is there a future for that or is it still on hold?

Siphwe: It’s on ice now- but future plans, we’ve made a 2m x 1.2m big roll of fabric and I will start to manufacture cushions, material as well. And then in a year or 2 years I want to start doing textile art.

Khanya: I know you as a graphic designer, but it seems to me that you lean towards art more, and craft. Look at what happened with the cushions, you got disheartened as soon as you saw that everyone was doing the same thing and printing out, but creating it on digital. And it seems like what upset you was the lack of craft?

Siphwe; Yea man.

Khanya: How do you balance the two, because I know a lot of corporate freelance work which is more art direction and design, and everything that you do personally is art and crafted?

Siphwe: Sure…when you are a digital designer you can lose touch because everything is you using your computer to express whatever it is. You lose that touch of actually sweating and doing something manual and I made a promise to myself to actually go back there and start doing manual things.

Khanya: There is a certain soul that goes into the work when you do it with your hand…

Siphwe: Yes

Khanya: I remember when I was doing wood work, you would be touching things, painting things, and putting your work together it has an aura and a character.

Siphwe: Exactly

Khanya: So now let’s chat about the food, do you see it as an extension of your creative side?

Siphwe: Sort of *laughs* actually yes *still laughing* feel like there is so much you can do with food. You need to be creative in order to make use of the ingredients you have. I love food, I love to eat. So that’s what I decided to do. I used to have dinner parties and people would come and eat. An as a creative you’re always having conversations with different people, so there was a need for food and drinks. 

Khanya: It’s a good drawing point.

Siphwe: Yea that’s how it all started, from the dinner parties. 

Khanya: Do you gather inspiration from a recipe book, or do you do what we did this morning, and just walk through a market and see what you like, and what you might be able to put together?

Siphwe: Yea that’s basically it. It’s more like an impulse and reacting to different tastes.

Khanya: Do you ever cook the same thing twice?

Siphwe: Most of the time, but it depends if I want to master the dish. The first time I made curries and stews it took me awhile to actually find the balance where I was comfortable with the dishes. 

Shannon: Do you still enjoy your Mother’s cooking?

Siphwe: *laughs* actually now she enjoys my cooking. Even my Dad now, he doesn’t want to eat what my mother makes. Haha it’s funny.

Shannon: Did you find it hard to cook for them at first? You know our parents always made us eat the same things. Rice and potatoes everyday type things. Like you know what’s for supper when you’re at school still.

Siphwe: What I do is make what they are used to but make it different, add a twist to it. They still need to be familiar with the dish to eat it. But they enjoy it. The other day there was a stokvel, my Father’s came and I had to make something and the weather was cold and grey, it was nice, so what I did was make stew and mngqusho (samp and beans). 

Shannon: So many cooks can’t bake? But some can? Are you good at both?

Siphwe: *laughs* I actually can’t bake, but what I want to do is learn, because I want to start making my own breads. There must be a short course. Like proper bread. Not steam breads, that’s easy. Again it will be good for the shop because I want everything to be as homemade as possible. So I am going to have a garden at the back. Fresh ingredients will be used in my meals. 

Khanya: So everything has be chopped and washed for today’s meal, what are you making?

Siphwe:: I don’t even have a name, everything is random *laughs*. So I will call it Easy Sunday Soup

Khanya: Hey man, Mariam (January) you knew most of those Asian vegetable names today. Have you cooked a lot with these ingredients or do you just know your stuff.

Mariam:  I have just been cooking for that long, so I quiet like Asian food. So I was in food heaven today.

Shannon: So you’re making a soup! 

Siphwe: Yea a seafood soup.

Khanya: So he told me this morning, “we gonna mix shit up. We gonna go Asian and African today”. 

Mariam: It’s Afrasian soup today 

Siphwe: I am always fusing different food together. The one time I made a black pea burger, bought masonja chopped them up and made a patty and deep fried that shit.

Khanya: Was it dope?

Siphwe:  So amazing, yoh it was amazing. I really want to make the burger again; and give it to everyone that doesn’t like masonja -laughs!