One of Cape Town’s oldest suburbs, Woodstock has undergone a dramatic transformation in recent years from a run down town filled with litter, crime and drugs, to becoming a hip neighbourhood with trendy restaurants, offices and boutiques.
The regeneration of Woodstock comes in part thanks to the Woodstock street art project that began in 2009, where locals like our walking tour guide, Juma, decided to take art from its traditional setting indoors, to the great outdoors. “We wanted to put art on the street to inspire people,” said Juma, as he explained the beginnings of the project at the start of our tour. “This way, everyone owns the art”.
With the lofty goal to change the neighbourhood through beautiful, socially conscious murals, Juma and his collaborators invited established artists from all over the world to contribute to the project.
The result is over 100 murals and installations by 40 artists, with topics ranting from the political, such as the tribute to the Sharpeville massacre by Freddy Sam that we see in the parking lot at the start of the tour, to the ecological and educational.
The murals are painted all over the streets – on fences, houses and shops. “Permission is asked and rarely denied”, says Juma.
While you can absolutely take yourself on a street art walking tour of Woodstock, the experience is enriched with the correct context applied to each work.
The success of the Woodstock street art project is evident in the vibrant atmosphere to be found in the streets and converted warehouses, which are filled with young professionals, urban hipsters and plenty of tourists.
Juma’s Woodstock Street Art Walking Tour runs four times a day in summer and four times a week in winter. For an additional cost, participants can paint their own mural in the neighbourhood.
To book a street art walking tour of Woodstock contact Juma directly on firstname.lastname@example.org or +27734004064. Get more details online.
Distance from Cape Town City Centre to Woodstock: 3.5km
Use a metered taxi or Uber for taking short trips around Cape Town. For longer journeys, such as the Capes and Boulders Beach, either hire a car and self-drive or book an escorted tour. We travelled with the very knowledgable and kind Francois from Hylton Ross.
Where to stay:
While in the Cape Town City Centre, I stayed at the Westin Cape Town Hotel. The hotel is extremely modern, secure, and an easy walking distance to the stunning V & A Waterfront district.
My room was large and comfortable – with an incredible heated floor! I also enjoyed the hotel’s free wifi and helpful staff who gave us a plenty of assistance in getting around the city.
The daily buffet breakfast at the Westin was excellent, particularly the fresh fruit and yoghurts and omelette station.
More info: westincapetown.com
More info on my stay
I visited South Africa as part of the Australian Society Of Travel Writers’ annual general gathering. While my trip was supported by South Africa Tourism Australia, all opinions are my own.
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!