Archive | October 2014

Short film about evictions in Cape Town

I’ve completed a short-short film I’m showing at a public event on November 6th. The event is called Open City Vol 4. The film is called EVICTED and documents the peripheral voices of Cape Town’s poor facing constant eviction at the hands of the city’s officials.

Watch it here:

Opening shot of the film EVICTED by Yazeed Kamaldien

Opening shot of the film EVICTED by Yazeed Kamaldien

Watch My New Short Film About Fashion Designer David Tlale

hi there!

firstly, thanks for reading my blog! it is as always a collection of my published writing and photography, as well as information about the film projects that i get involved with. here’s a link to my latest short film, a little documentary about south african fashion designer david tlale.

it’s at this link. please feel free to share the link!

Opening shot of the film, David Tlale (2014)

Opening shot of the film, David Tlale (2014)

Fashion graduates compete on African catwalk

Written by Yazeed Kamaldien

Fresh out of college and fresh on the runway is the aim of Fastrack, a project that has helped a young Cape Town fashion designer and others to showcase their collections alongside established industry names.

At the inner-city studio of established – and sometimes controversial – designer Gavin Rajah, recent graduate Jessica Ross from Bergvliet suburb reflects on the past few months that she has participated in Fastrack.

Fashion design graduate Jessica Ross will showcase her Russian inspired collection in Johannesburg this week. Picture Yazeed Kamaldien

Fashion design graduate Jessica Ross will showcase her Russian inspired collection in Johannesburg this week. Picture Yazeed Kamaldien

The programme is run by African Fashion International, the fashion events company owned by Precious Moloi-Motsepe, who is married to one of South Africa’s wealthiest men, mining billionaire Patrice Motsepe.

Fastrack calls each year on final-year fashion design students to enter their graduate collections for inclusion in one of its fashion weeks the following year.

Ross was studying at the Cape Town College of Fashion Design when she entered last year. She was shortlisted to earlier this year to participate with 10 other student finalists in Johannesburg fashion week.

Ross was then among four young designers selected for the next round of the annual contest that aims to nurture new talent.

The four young designers – including Naazneen Kagee, Rich Mnisi and Tuelo Nguyuza – were then placed with established designers to do a three-month internship.

On the closing day of this week’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Africa, in Johannesburg, one designer will be selected as the young designer of the year.

Ross says the run-up to November 1 show has been demanding as she has spent the last few months assisting Rajah in his studio, working on the collection and learning the business of fashion.

“I helped Gavin with his Cape Town fashion week show. And I’ve had to do an eight-piece collection in a month-and-a-half,” says Ross.

The four young designers were briefed to design a futuristic collection and had theme options to choose from. Ross chose ‘From Russia With Love’, as “my mother’s family is from Russia”.

“I had to find a subtle way to follow this futuristic brief. I’m not a very quirky designer and don’t make out-there garments,” says Ross.

“I followed the architecture of Russian Orthodox churches. They have cream and gold churches. I’m using those colours and it makes everything look expensive. It’s very luxurious.

“I’ve added volume. So there’s a lot of dramatic volume and layering. I’ve got dresses with skirts underneath.”

Working at Rajah’s studio while putting together her collection has been a “big jump from college to being in the industry”.

“I still have a lot to learn and it’s a lot of hard work. At college, I was used to doing everything myself. I was cutting out the patterns and sewing the fabric. In the real world, you work in teams,” says Ross.

“Now I only do my patterns and then a seamstress sews it up for me. I had to learn how to communicate with a seamstress so that she understands what I need.

“I enjoy sewing and wish I could sew my own stuff. But there was no time. I’m also a perfectionist and get stressed and OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) about it and will unpick everything and sew it again.”

Working with Rajah has meanwhile taught her “a lot about fabric textures and what works with what”.

“But I still want to learn more about running a successful fashion business. I don’t know enough yet. I am budgeting by myself and can see how things work,” she says.

“I need to go out into the work world and learn more so that I have the tools and knowledge to start my own business. I want it to be sustainable. I don’t want to start it and then see it flop. I don’t feel ready enough to do my own business.”

So far the exposure to real world opportunities has been beneficial, says Ross.

“This is good for my career. It’s a huge platform, to be showing at fashion week. I graduated from college last year. If I started my own brand this year, I would probably have been able to only have a show in five years,” she says.

“I graduated and three months later had a show at fashion week. The industry and media gets to know you that way. Everything has also been funded. This definitely fast tracks your career.”


While up-and-coming talents feature at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Africa, established industry favourites will likely claim headlines with their latest creations.

The four-day event runs at Melrose Arch, Johannesburg, this coming Wednesday to Saturday.

Designers from Cameroon, Kenya, Mozambique Rwanda, South Africa and Zimbabwe start the event on Wednesday night. For the rest of the week the focus falls on designers from Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa and Tanzania.

South African mainstays Marianne Fassler and David Tlale add gravitas to the event with their record of local and international experience.

South African fashion designer David Tlale will show a 40-piece collection “associated with happiness and love, which is what summer is about”. Picture Supplied

South African fashion designer David Tlale will show a 40-piece collection “associated with happiness and love, which is what summer is about”. Picture Supplied

Tlale’s 40-piece collection is a “celebration of a woman who is not afraid to show her soft, feminine side and yet still dares to be bold and command attention”.

The designer says the mood for his collection is “happy women”.

“When you think of the colour peach and its hues, an image of spring and summer pops up and it is often associated with happiness and love, which is what summer is about,” says Tlale.

Tlale was named designer of the year at the Arise Africa Fashion Week Awards 2009.

That same year, Mozambican designer Taibo Bacar showed locals his women’s wear brand for the first time. Just last month, the Italian edition of fashion magazine Vogue listed him as an international emerging designer.

Bacar will next week present A Luta Continua (The Fight Goes On), a “collection inspired by the present situation of Mozambique”.

“It represents continuity, evolution, development, and the future. This innovative line merges haute couture and ready-to-wear. Handmade details and embroidery feature prominently, lending luxury and attention to detail to garments,” says the designer.

Men’swear will not go unacknowledged next week. Popular Xhosa prints will take to the runway courtesy of Maxhosa by Laduma, a brand that “seeks to tell the story of the Xhosa people; their cultures, language and aspirations”.

It does this “through its distinct depictions of iconographic language in various applications including knitwear, home-ware, and graphic prints on men’s and ladies’ wear collections”.

LaurenceAirline, a menswear fashion label based in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, will show that “fashion and ethnic cultures can successfully collaborate to create possibilities for the future”.

LaurenceAirline is menswear fashion label based in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, showing that fashion and ethnic cultures are futuristic. Picture Supplied

LaurenceAirline is menswear fashion label based in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, showing that fashion and ethnic cultures are futuristic. Picture Supplied

It “produces wearable garments that fuse local fabrics with carefree, masculine silhouettes and soft colour palettes, juxtaposed with strong bold prints”.

“The cultural aesthetic of the great African continent’s inheritance is amalgamated with a distinctly fresh, modern and undoubtedly international feel,” says this label’s designer Laurence Buthaud.

Slain model’s mom lashes out at Oscar Pistorius

Written by Yazeed Kamaldien

Slain model Reeva Steenkamp’s mother has angrily lashed out at Oscar Pistorius, revealing in British media yesterday the man who shot her daughter was “jealous” and “trigger-happy”.

June Steenkamp, whose book Reeva: A Mother’s Story will go on sale from November 6, made headlines in The Times, The Independent and The Guardian newspapers.

An extract from her book was published in The Times newspaper’s weekend magazine yesterday.

Steenkamp, 68, and her husband Barry Steenkamp, 71, will also feature in tomorrow’s (MONDAY) edition of UK celebrity magazine Hello.

A snippet and photos of this report has already been published on Hello’s website, announcing the “world exclusive interview moments after the trial ended in South Africa” last Tuesday.

Pictures show the Steenkamp’s looking sullen, sitting on a beach, and with a horse on a farm. Barry Steenkamp is described as a horse trainer who “runs a small stable near the coastal town of Port Elizabeth”.

June Steenkamp told Hello the court’s decision to send famous paralympian athlete Pistorius to jail “was the best sentence we could have expected”.

On Tuesday, Judge Thokozile Masipa, of the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, sentenced Pistorius to five years imprisonment for fatally shooting Reeva Steenkamp, 29, at his home on February 14 last year. He told the court he thought it was an intruder in his bathroom when he fired four deadly shots.

He was not found guilty of murder but of culpable homicide. It is expected the 27-yar-old double amputee would serve only ten months of his prison sentence.

Steenkamp told Hello she “believe(s) Oscar expected to go to prison” by the time his seven-month trial concluded. She told the magazine: “It’s been a terrible, long journey”.

“He was almost resigned to what was coming. It was obvious in the court from his manner; he was calm and wasn’t performing,” she said.

Her husband added: “We’re both satisfied with the result and are relieved it’s all over. All we want to do now is get on with our lives.”

The Times reported that Steenkamp believed if Pistorius had not killed her daughter, “it would have been someone else ‘sooner or later’”.

The newspaper reported yesterday that Pistorius “shot his girlfriend in a jealous rage, then finished her off with three more bullets so she ‘couldn’t tell the world what really happened’, the victim’s mother claims”.

Steenkamp reportedly called her deceased daughter’s boyfriend “gun-toting” and “combustible”.

In The Times-published extract from her book, Steenkamp also describes Pistorius as a “pathetic figure”.

“Why decide to say sorry to me in a televised trial in front of the whole world? I was unmoved by his apology,” she wrote.

“I felt if I appeared to be sorry for him at this stage of his trial on the charge of premeditated murder, it would in the eyes of others lessen the awfulness of what he had done.”

She said she and her husband were still coming to terms with “the vision of Reeva suffering this terrible trauma”. Blood-splattered images of the murder scene were exhibited during the Pistorius trial.

Steenkamp added: “We’re not looking for vengeance or for him to get hurt; we’re just happy because he’s going to be punished for what he’s done.

“He may come out early on good behaviour, but by the time he’s served that time, it will have taught him that he can’t go around doing things like that.”

After sentencing, Pistorius was sent to the hospital section of the Kgosi Mampuru prison in Pretoria. He reportedly cried himself to sleep on his first night in jail.

The athlete’s fans meanwhile wrote supportive messages on his website.

One fan, Noluthando, wrote: “Oscar you made us proud in the world by your courage. Please keep strong.”

Another, Carina, wrote: “I feel so sorry for Oscar. He really doesn’t deserve to spend the rest of his life in jail. He’s a great guy… and the world needs him. I’m sure he never wanted to shoot his girlfriend. Oscar, stay strong.”

National sports minister Fikile Mbalula was less optimistic after Pistorius was sent to jail. He told the Cape Argus newspaper this “was the end of the road of his journey”.

“It is unfortunate that it had to end in this manner, but the courts have spoken and we will respect their decision,” said Mbalula.

Steenkamp said she intends to establish The Reeva Foundation where women could find refuge from abuse. She told Hello magazine she would be “helping the women who Reeva wanted to rescue”.

Reeva, who was a qualified lawyer, often posted messages on her Twitter account, which is still online, speaking against women’s abuse and rape.

Bombay Bicycle Club ready for Synergy dance music festival

Written by Yazeed Kamaldien

When London’s indie rock band Bombay Bicycle Club performs just outside Cape Town next month there will be none of the weirdness it has become known for via its music videos.

Its bass guitarist Ed Nash said their headlining performance at Synergy Live dance music festival next month would not feature synchronised swimmers or Bollywood movie dancers, as seen in two of its music videos.

London indie rock band Bombay Bicycle Club will perform at the Synergy Live music festival just outside Cape Town next month. Picture Supplied

London indie rock band Bombay Bicycle Club will perform at the Synergy Live music festival just outside Cape Town next month. Picture Supplied

“We had the swimmers at a gig we played in London two months ago. The venue had a swimming pool. We had to have the swimmers,” added Nash.

Speaking from Philadelphia, where the band is currently touring the United States, Nash said this week they were “looking forward to coming to South Africa”.

“None of us have ever been there. We’ve been trying to get to South Africa for the last few years. It’s just a difficult place to get to because you have to travel really far,” said Nash.

He had not yet seen pictures of Synergy’s venue, but they “know from Twitter and Facebook that we have fans there”.

Synergy will run for three days of camping on the banks of the Theewaterskloof Dam, in the Overberg region, a 90-minute drive from Cape Town. It is billed as one of summer’s best music festivals and has been going since 1995 when it pulled in 6,000 people.

It has grown since then and last year, at the same venue, featured at least 100 acts, including international DJs, live bands and comedians.

Interestingly, the nearest town to the dam is Villiersdorp, which has an estimated population of 10,000 people.

Bombay Bicycle Club, a band started by four 24-year-olds nine years ago, has toured globally to play music of its four albums. Its name comes from a restaurant it walked past in its neighbourhood.

The band has been associated mainly with rock music events but has played at a number of dance festivals too.

Nash said the shift comes as “our music has changed over the last five years”.

“It has become more danceable. We usually play at rock festivals. Our music was far more aggressive. Now it’s more rewarding to see everyone just having a good time. It’s more chilled out in a nice way,” he said.

He said their music videos were meant to be films, instead of just a means to promote the band.

“We don’t enjoy watching videos when it’s just people in a room. You want to do a video that exists by itself. We’ve made films (of our music),” said Nash.

“For one of the songs on our last album, we decided to make a Bollywood music video because they’re so much more fun. We found a director and production company in Bollywood and told them to do what they want.

“We are less involved in the making of our music videos. It’s better if we don’t ruin it. We find people we trust and believe in and they do it.”

Nash said after their South African gig they return to Europe for a tour until December.

“Then we end in London with our biggest show this year. Our shows are definitely getting bigger,” said Nash.

Synergy runs from Friday, November 28, and concludes that weekend with a nine-hour electronic music line-up on Sunday. International DJs will include names familiar to electro fans, including Captain Hook, Atmos and Mindwave.

Cape Town couple safe in Nepal

Written by Yazeed Kamaldien

A Cape Town couple, whose families could not get hold of them during deadly snowstorms in Nepal last week, is safely carrying on with their travels in that country.

Families of English language teacher Daniela Cum and her call centre assistant husband Gil Yaakov Hershkovitz confirmed this week they were alive. Cum is originally from Johannesburg and Hershkovitz from Israel.

They married in Cape Town, where they lived for the last few years until April when they embarked on extended travels.

Daniela’s mother Pamela Cum said this week they could not get hold of the couple because it “was just a question of connectivity”.

“I’ve sent them WhatsApp messages. I told them it was serious as we could not contact them,” said Cum.

“They were very taken aback because they didn’t realise that everybody was looking for them. They said they’re absolutely fine. They’re okay and there’s nothing wrong.”

Cum said talked on the phone with Hershkovitz’s family, who contacted the couple too.

“They told his family they were aware there was an avalanche but didn’t know how bad it was. They have gone on another trek and they are not contactable until Saturday. But I am not worried. They are safe,” said Cum.

“They have been going up and down the mountain. They are quite high up. It was just a question of connectivity. That’s why we didn’t hear from them.”

She added: “They are still in Nepal and they are safe. I’m glad that they’re safe.”

Bibek Kharel, director at Nirvana Travels in Nepal, also confirmed the couple was safe. He had assisted them with their journey in that country.

“They are safe in Nepal. It will be three days before we can communicate with them. Now in that place (where they are) there is no network of phone. So it’s difficult (to be in contact),” said Kharel.

South Africans survive Nepal mountain tragedy

Written by Yazeed Kamaldien

For two days, with limited food and water, three South African adventurers trekked through an endless road of heavy snow in Nepal to survive one of nature’s unexpected twists.

Cuan Cronje and Graeme Duane, both from Durban, and Dean Burscough from Johannesburg, were among the lucky tourists who ventured in Nepal’s hiking trails earlier this month and came out alive.

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Heavy snowstorms hit the famous Himalayan mountain range last week, leading to 43 reported deaths. By all accounts, the storm was unexpected and is unusual for October, a popular month when tourists annually flock to Nepal’s mountains.

Cronje and Duane this week recalled how they held onto life while coming across scenes of disaster as they moved closer to safer ground.

Cronje said: “We thought we might die. All I kept on my mind is that we needed to keep moving. If we were going to stop, we would die.

“The only time that we could stop was if we found a dry place. The cold from the snow gets into your body. We had no food or water for two days. We had no fuel for our body. We had melted snow for water.”

Their journey started on October 9, when they arrived in Nepal, and cycled to the Tilicho base camp to start a mountain route less travelled.

The three trekkers were at this camp in Tilicho, on the mountain trail. This is what it looked like before the snowstorm. Picture Supplied

The three trekkers were at this camp in Tilicho, on the mountain trail. This is what it looked like before the snowstorm. Picture Supplied

“The weather was beautiful before the snowstorm. It was warm. We arrived in T-shirts and shorts. Nobody, out of all those 80 people that were in that area, knew this was coming. It was totally out of season and caught us by surprise,” said Cronje.

After a few days of journeying, snow stopped them in their tracks.

“Monday night (October 13) is when it started snowing. We were holed up the whole of Tuesday. We were in the snow for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday,” said Cronje.

This is the base camp in Tilicho, on the mountain trail, after the snowstorm. Picture Supplied

This is the base camp in Tilicho, on the mountain trail, after the snowstorm. Picture Supplied

“We were really high up in the mountains. It was totally desolate. There were no cars, nothing.”

They were unprepared for snow and had “some waterproof jackets but didn’t have suitable footwear”. They started walking in search of the nearest village, following a river they trusted would lead to safety.

“We were awake from 9am on Wednesday (October 15) and stopped walking at Thursday 2am. We woke up at 6am and stopped walking at 5pm when we reached a village,” said Cronje.

“We were beyond exhausted. That first night, if we had to sleep, we would have had a problem. When you get that tired you just want to lie down and sleep. As soon as you do that you will die.

“You are so cold and if you sit down for too long you will lose your energy. If you sleep, you won’t wake up. It saved us that we kept going.”

Cronje added: “We just kept saying we were going to stay together and we would pull through. If one person gave up, it would put us all at risk. It was a long two days. It went on forever.

“We hoped to see civilisation around each corner but then we would just see endless snow. Eventually we came around a corner and saw a bridge.”

That led them to a small village from where they could find their way back to Manang ,a largish village that was connected by trails to the outside world ,and eventually to Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu.

Duane recalled that once the snowstorm trapped tourists, “base camp was a disaster zone”.

“By nightfall the snow was half way up to the roof, and we had to constantly dig our way our of room… We were surrounded by high slopes on all sides, save for the river which now charged into the valley below,” he said.

He said one “hardcore” hiker attempted to tackle the snow, “but turned back after going just 100 meters”.

When they eventually left base camp they “wrapped our socked feet in plastic bags, cable-tying and taping in various different ways”.

“We’d be walking the whole day with our feet deep in snow… this route was a terrifying prospect.

He added: “We were still unaware of the deaths to the east… The deaths were going out on the news and our families were understandably in a state of panic.

“Even without this knowledge, lying exposed in the Himalayas not knowing what’s going to happen next, and thinking of your wife and family back home is a terrible feeling.

“You feel so far away, and you realise that you’re in a situation like you’ve seen in the movies, but that this is real, and that’s not a comforting thought.”

Duane recalled they “hadn’t eaten more than a handful of peanuts for over 24 hours”.

“We eventually reached the teahouse at Kanshar where we’d stopped three days before, with a huge feeling of relief. We were back in the mix, plugged back into life and out of that wild valley that had held us for 36 hours,” said Duane.

“Over the course of that evening, the extent of the disaster was revealed. We’d been fighting our own private battle in the valley, sealed off from the mayhem around us. Other hikers were dead or missing.

“The Nepalese bring their yaks into the villages in winter, and a herd 100 strong at Yak Karka had been wiped out by an avalanche.”

Duane said a different storm has since erupted after this snow tragedy.

“There’s the usual blame game going on,” he said.

“(People are asking) why were hikers not warned of oncoming weather? Has the Annapurna (mountain trail) become the Disneyland of Nepalese mountaineering? Does it attract an unqualified crowd of hikers?” he said.

“Not one lodge had weather info, there is no way of knowing where each hiker is at any given time. In short they don’t know who’s on the trail, but to me that’s part of the appeal.

“The Annapurna is so accessible, but it’s so wild. And that’s a rare thing these days.”