In 2010 a street artist called Freddy Sam started a street art revolution in Woodstock. He started by asking residents if they would allow him to paint on open walls – showing them the art before painting and getting their permission first.
This has inspired other local and international artists to come and work in the area. From his shop at the Woodstock Exchange you can now book for a walking art tour of the neighbourhood to see 40 artworks. The cost is R150 pps and the money goes directly to the artist that you walk with. To book contact Elmarie at A Word of Art: email@example.com or +27- 21 447 3994. Alternatively you can also book directly with one of the street artists who works with Freddy Sam – Juma. Juma has tried to expand the art activism as a platform for inspiration and change into one of the biggest Cape Townships – Khayelitsha. He soon learned that in order to work with the community – he needed to become part of it. As such he has now moved to the area. Juma is a qualified tour guide and runs art tours in Woodstock as well as in Khayalitsha township. He can be contacted on 073 400 4064 or firstname.lastname@example.org
I absolutely loved the walking tour. Note that it is a rough area – as such it was such a wonderful treat to have Juma with us! The whole community know him and everyone sitting outside their homes wanted to say hi to Juma – so we got to chat to half the community – great fun! We met the locals, the gangsters (Juma advised that people don’t sh** where they sleep!), the police who stopped to say hi, the criminal in the police’s backseat in handcuffs who also smiled and said hi and lots of kids who were playing in the street under the eyes of the community.
Woodstock is an area in transition – the lower part has always been poorer and rougher – but with absolutely fabulous architecture. With the gentrification of our city – the rentals increased and as such the artists could not afford to stay there. Among the first to move into Woodstock were the Cape’s two top contemporary art galleries – Michael Stevenson and the Goodman Gallery. This has been followed by a variety of artistic ventures opening up in the area and renovating the buildings they have moved into beautifully. Woodstock is worth a long a ramble – on a weekday and on a Saturday. Not much happens there on a Sunday!