Mdantsane is a unique, vibrating, eclectic, African place. Follow us on a pilgrimage to Mdantsane to discover the street culture, fashion, food, people, music, homes, taverns, humor, businesses, history and what's hot in the second biggest township in South-Africa, located close to the city of East London in the Province of the Eastern Cape. Join us on this journey while we capture the spirit of this amazing place for you in the here and in the now. We are going to introduce you to many individuals, artists, musicians, groups and associations.
They are the HEROES OF DAILY LIFE. They are the people who create, innovate and improve their life and their stories deserve to be told. This is a place for only good and positive stories of humanity, that will send out a message of courage, endurance and strength to the world through their pictures and words.

Monday, January 30, 2012

What's Next ? - The Mdantsane Tales On YouTube

" Can you listen to me for a minute" ? I asked.
" Ok, what's up," she said.
" I got a new idea," I replied.

" Aibo," she said

(Aibo is a South African exclamation and could be compared to the French " Oh la la ", the American " Gosh " or the German "Ach Du Lieber Gott ".

" THE MDANTSANE TALES, a series of short movies, that's my idea ," I said.

After having finished The Mdantsane Way we have moved up to the next level and are working on a series of short movies. The existing material has been filmed during the photo shots for The Mdantsane Way and is being edited at present. We have already created a channel on YouTube and hopefully we will upload the first movies very soon. 

The series carries the title " The Mdantsane Tales ".
This time the Mdantsanians are telling their stories themselves. We are the spectators, listening to the voices, the music, the poems, the memories of Mdantsane. During the work for the book we have concentrated a lot on history, life stories, memories of old people, African entrepreneurship and women.

While working with the existing material the concept that we intend to follow with the Mdantsane Tales has become very clear for us. Our focus is on artists. muscians, poets, writers, students, dancers, revolutionaries, believers, protesters, comedians, free spirits and people with other aspirations. 
In the bigger picture this means that the stories old and young are linked and connected in society. We are going to show the interdependency of people and their influence on each other in their society.

We want to take you through a whole range of emotions, like my friend in the picture.
Because emotions are good. We hope to leave you speechless, shocked, delighted, confused, happy, curious, excited and puzzled. But NOT BORED !

And in the end we hope that we can provoke a hearty laughter !

The Mdantsane Way

The photo documentary and the coffee table book project " THE MDANTSANE WAY " has come to an end. The book will be available from next week onwards on Amazon.com. You have the option between an e-book version and a hardcover version. You can also order it directly from me.

It was not easy to make the selection of images to be included in the book. In fact this was our biggest problem, to choose between more than 10.000 images that we have shot during the last five years.Reluctantly we had to limit the scope of " THE MDANTSANE WAY " although we would have loved to create a 1000 or more pages edition - which would have been easily possible. 

The hardcover version measuring 30 x 25 cm, with over 200 pages, hundreds of color images and some amazing stories of amazing people, this book is a portrait of Mdantsane that we are proud of. It includes a number of images and articles that we like and that we have partly shown on our blog but it also contains a lot of new material. It is a personal, very human account of what we have seen and encountered during our countless visits.
We thank Onehitale Akhimien Ugue for an amazing job he has done on the layout and the graphic design of The Mdantsane Way. If you love color, you will love browsing through this book !

We called Mdantsane in the beginning " the mysterious one". There was this big township right in front of our door and nobody had talked about it or devoted a photographic project or film project to it. Many said, it's not interesting. Township reportage is boring now !

Nobody could even explain to us what the name Mdantsane means. Our book starts with a short description of our search for the origin of the name. 
Every African name has a meaning. So, I said to myself, the meaning and the origin of the name has to be found. But each and every person I asked said to me: Nope, it doesn't mean a thing ! 

" The Mysterious One" has been turned into a to us much known and beloved one. When we started the process, we saw there are so many amazing things to discover. It's not boring at all. It is exciting ! We are able to share at least some of the excitement with you now.

And there is more to come in the future !

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Longest Washing Line

Having said this, I can hear some already protesting and proclaiming loudly that their washing line is longer. 
I am sure there are longer ones but this one was pretty phenomenal. It looks small in the picture but when you stand right in front of it, it is a different story !
Since nearly ten years the MURP - Mdantsane Urban Renewal Programme is concentrating all it's efforts to upgrade and improve urban life in the Kazi. Successful ? We are not here to judge.
Housing programs are mushrooming all over the township, but still informal settlements grow on a daily basis.

On A Hot Day

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Gimme A Smile

Well, what can I say, sometimes my requests are a little bit misunderstood !

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Art Of African Sign Board Painting

Kings Hardware Store in Centani is getting a serious face lift

E-Commerce, Internet-marketing, Search Engine Optimisation, Google-it, E-mail marketing, Podcats, Minicast - the list can be continued ad infinitum.

Kings Hardware Store in Kentani is getting a face lift
No efforts are spared - even if it involves a complicated act of balance
But still, in Africa we paint the sign boards to attract a potential costumer's attention. It is one of the cheapest and most affordable ways to market your shop or product locally. There are troops of talented sign board painters out there.

Africans are doing it the African Way

And that is truly, truly great !

Kentani At the wildcoast in the Transkei
Teamwork on the roof top of King Hardware Store In Kentani In the Transkei

Bigger surfaces are dealt with in  team spirit like here in Kentani at the Wild Coast where the wall of Kings Hardware trading store is getting a face lift !

It takes time.......and patience

While the one paints, the other can rest. And vice versa.

Proudly South African

Africa is a fantastic continent !
We salute you artists of Africa !

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Normal Flat

I invite you to stay a little longer in the beautiful Transkei with me.
I was so lucky to be able to spend a couple of days there inlcuding New Year's Eve.
Girls, if you ever had a problem bringing your color TV home alone, just follow the example of this lady in Kentani, a small village at the wildcoast, a few kilometers outside of Butterworth.
Not only is she " walking her TV home very independently " -  no man in sight who thinks he should intervene ( I don't think she needs one)  - but she is doing it with great style and class as well !

Hm, I should rather say : Do not follow this example ! Do not do this at home ! It does demand practice ! 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Transkei, A Land Of Green Rolling Hills And Mighty Bulls

The Transkei and the Mdantsane township are closely linked. You might ask why ? In basically every family who resides in Mdantsane you will find a person who has a connection to the former homeland of the Transkei that had been established under the Aparheid regime as a " self governed bantustan reserve ". The establishment of such a reserve was an experiment at the time. But today the Transkei is one of the purest places in Africa displaying a true and unique African identity. 
This means that most of the people have still a connection to the rural areas of the Eastern Cape. Before the holidays you can hear people talking about " going back to their location ". The location is their home, their place of birth and origin. For many this place is a village in the Transkei.

The Transkei is a blessed land of plenty with green rolling hills, rich soil on which you can grow basically everything. It is a land of mighty bulls. It is a land where the Nguni cattle reign.

Over centuries this region has kept and preserved it's wild beauty.

It is a land of abundance, especially after long and heavy rainfalls like we had them this year. A land where the traditions of the Xhosa people are lived and are very well alive.


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