Writings

The Prophet Motive

The Prophet Motive by Lin Sampson

Cape Flats preachers have found a thriving market for fire and brimstone, writes Lin Sampson. Preachers, prophets and pastors have become the new rock stars. They drive swanky cars and live in lush circumstance. The Cape Flats on a Sunday morning rocks with the sounds of hallelujahs. Pastor Abraham of the Restoration Church of Christ …

Go Straight,Girl

Some girls will go to any lengths for their hair. Shaylene thinks of her hair as a disability, something like chronic migraine. It has to be medicated, treated, taken on mini breaks, stroked, chemically advanced, tranquillised, sedated and spanked. “Hair for a coloured girl,” say Shaylene, “is an issue. And let me tell you not …

After Dark

Erich Rautenbach

Lin Sampson talks to author Erich Rautenbach, who remembers a vivid past in a South Africa long gone I am sitting with Erich Rautenbach in what was once the Mountain View (now Jameson’s) in Long Street, a 1960s stronghold of prostitution once run by a woman with ivory combs in her hair and a theatrically …

Pavement Special

Virginia Springett

There are new tricks and there are old tricks, but the Cashmere Queen is still plying her trade, writes Lin Sampson. I recall, more than 20 years ago, Virginia Springett wearing something tiger-skinnish and driving a white Mercedes with red leather seats. In those days she was rich and ritzy and owner of a shop …

Clothes Maketh the Man

Amakrwala

Why are these young men turned out like English gents? Lin Sampson looks at the amakrwala culture of dress and initiation — and finds few answers Vuyo Ndiki walks down the street. He is wearing a checked cap, a velvet jacket, Prince of Wales striped trousers and black-and-white matinee idol shoes. The street is full …

Boy Loves Grille

Boy Loves Grille by Lin Sampson

What Hennie Roux harbours for vintage Mercedes Benz cars and parts is nothing short of a grand passion, writes Lin Sampson. My wife said, ‘It’s me or the cars.’ I said ‘I’ll miss you.’” Hennie Roux, lover of vintage Mercedes-Benz cars, is talking. “Women are so tricky,” he says. “Mercs are kinder and easier.” Roux’s …

Leftover Lives

An increase in white squatter camps in Cape Town bears witness to the hardship of a marginalised community, writes Lin Sampson. PINK toy lorry hurtles through the air. Behind it two small tow-headed girls, hands on hips, shriek with mirth. Children all over the world play in the same way but Jamie-Lee and Karen do not live in …

Wagons & Wigs

Wagons and Wigs

Lin Sampson meets three farmworkers who believe they are girls Pietie Klaasen is a farm worker on Hazendal, a historic wine farm outside Stellenbosch. He is wearing high-heeled silver sandals, a tinkling charm bracelet and green eye shadow. His two front teeth are missing which puts a crack in his smile. “Please call me Melanie,” …

Coming of Age

Leon Botha - photograph by Gordon Clark

Artist Leon Botha has Progeria, a rare disease that makes him age much faster than normal. Lin Sampson views the startling images he has produced in collaboration with photographer Gordon Clark. EON Botha is a local artist. The 24-year-old looks like a shiny new pin, sharp and as durable as his Timberland boots. He has …

Bull-Breaker

Nandipha Mntambo

Nandipha Mntambo is a conceptual artist gaining world attention by using animal parts, writes Lin Sampson Nandipha Mntambo is planed down like a piece of teak, creamed and flexible as fondue. As she talks she makes shapes with her arms, one hand holds an elbow, fingers encircle a wrist; she has a trick of forming …