The best part of travel is the discovery of the unexpected. Finding something almost out of place in the most unlikely of areas. For me, the latest of these discoveries happened in the tiny Western Cape town of Prince Albert.
Truthfully, I’m still learning when it comes to graffiti. My tours with PAST Experiences are always informative, and having met a few graffiti artists in recent years through exploits in the city, I’ve become more familiar with this form of expression, I even finished my journalism degree with a paper on graffiti as a form of self-expression, but still I hardly feel like I know anything at all some days.
But then there are the days that everything seems to click and I recognise the work of a particular artist. Driving into the poorer area of Prince Albert passing through the town on the way to Knysna during my recent #MeetSouthAfrica trip, I actually shouted out for our van to stop. As we skidded to a halt in the dirt, I couldn’t get the words out about how excited I was to see what I could see marked on the wall in front of me: a genuine, bright and detailed Falko piece (the one featured above).
Guys, I not only recognised the work, I basically had a mini platz on the inside. Why was I so excited? I’m not really sure, but that wall made me ridiculously happy.
Chatting to the locals standing about, they said there were more and our brief pitstop in Prince Albert, suddenly became an elephant treasure hunt. I ran frantically up and down streets rooting out all the elephants I could find, slamming down my broken Afrikaans to discover the next piece and at the same time understanding a greater picture here.
The pieces in Prince Albert form part of Falko’s ‘Once Upon a Town’ series. The point? To beautify the poorer areas of town and bring art to the people who it will hopefully inspire to better their lives. It didn’t take much searching to find out this detail, and I have to credit Mr Baggins Graffiti Hunter for writing more about this project so I could have the privilege of understanding it.
The link for me to Falko is a strangely personal one: During the City of Gold Graffiti Festival last year, Jo from PAST Experiences and one of my closest friends Meruschka from MzansiGirl helped plot a graffiti tour route for Jo’s company. We spent time below the giant crane that had elevated Falko high enough to create this beautiful portrait in Maboneng. In that moment, I was on the streets of the city I loved with people I admire and it was an afternoon that made everything right in my world, I’ll always feel something for Falko’s perfectly-angled faces now I think.
Inspired to see more of Jozi’s graffiti for yourself? Why not get in touch with PAST Experiences for a tour of the inner city?
My #MeetSouthAfrica trip was courtesy of South African Tourism. As with all my posts, editorial control remains with me.