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 …

Ballet Boys

Ballet Boys by Lin Sampson

Number 14 Fikizolo Street, Nyanga, lies within a jostle of shacks, a place where hazy-eyed dogs eye each other and lines of washing herald the winter sun. It is a place not without a certain community charm but a place where poverty exhales an air of desperate need and, as the afternoon shadows lengthen, crime …

Accordian TIMES

Nico Carstens

Nico Carstens was once South Africa’s highest-paid musician. Today he lives in a room at the back of a house in Bellville. Lin Sampson talks to a man who is bloodied but unbowed.  NICO Carstens lives in a part of Cape Town’s northern suburbs traditionally home to working class Afrikaners, a place where tidiness absorbs …

Quality Street

They’re the divas of the dumpsters, keep their clothes in manholes and snatch at any glittery throwaway. Lin Sampson tracks the hobos of haute couture In the narrow alleyways, on the puddled pavements, against a background of gutted buildings, boarded up windows and stacks of crates and construction scaffolding, there is a flush of excitement, …

Court in the Act

Magistrates Court

If you want to know what is going on in South Africa, spend some time in no-holds-barred tabloid territory — the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court, writes Lin Sampson. Take hold of this moment: poignant, fleeting as it is. Head scarred, bearing badges of combat with small patches of insolent hair scarcely concealing the scars, badly socketed …

House Gods

House Gods by Lin Sampson

Charlie Carson, the butler in Downton Abbey, has set fire to the profession. Lin Sampson hires a butler for a day. At exactly 10am there is a knock on the door. My butler has arrived. His name is Jacques van Woerden. He is wearing a dark charcoal suit and a shiny pink tie that looks …