11 July 2018

South Africa: Circle of City Life Returns to This New/Old Part of Joburg

analysis

At the heart of the event will be the relaunch of the wooden head sculptures. Around 90 new heads have been installed and old ones that together total about 200 have undergone restoration by the original sculptor Americo Guambe.

Even a place named Newtown can get old. Time's wrinkles at this precinct on the western rim of the Joburg inner city are cruel reminders that urban revival has not been on the agenda here for years. Until now.

On Saturday 14 July, Newtown, the suburb wedged under the M2 motorway, is launching the Newtown Now festival. It's a festival that's part hurrah for putting the precinct back on the Joburg map, it's also part experiment. It's testing the shape of appropriate rejuvenation in a part of city that has lost its sheen and has increasingly being marked by people retreating into off-street bubbles of corporate head offices, malls and entry-fee access only places.

The "experiment" part is because urban living models have no blueprints. Tanya Hugo is one of the collaborators behind the festival and owns the pop-up creative studio 56 Pim located on Gwigwi Mrwebi Street. She says: "A lot about what modern urban living looks like and who...

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