The Juju of STR.CRDby Phumlani Pikoli, images by We Are Awesome / 04.10.2010
Take the train station, the most central spot in Cape Town, cordon it off and spray the whole place in urban culture, add sneakers, skaters and a fine smattering of hip, well dressed urban rainbow peeps and you’ve got the perfect way to celebrate Heritage day. The set up looks good: two stages, a skate section in the middle and a row of stalls with sneakers. I keep the shades on, in the hope that people won’t see the shame in my eyes from the previous night’s antics. I’m still a bit drunk, so I need to maintain and not entertain the hangover. I find myself magnetically drawn to the skating. Some of Cape Town’s most prominent skaters are trying to kill themselves on the six set and handrail.
Too many dope tricks are being attempted and pulled off. The kids playing on the plank with wheels all have a brazen disregard for their bodies. Some blood is flowing. They don’t hold back and I big up some kid for pulling off a lipslide that he’d attempted and failed painfully a few times before. He’s 18 and knows no pain. Hands bandaged, red body fluid seeping through the white wrappings. I see Khanya Spani skate the six set like he owns it. In the modern parlance of street slang, his style would be described as “off the wall like my ex-girlfriend’s picture”. Smooth, all the tricks he attempts seem to be pre-programmed into him.
Iron Fist don’t really impress me with their sneakers. But their ladies shoes really get my attention. The intricately detailed and patterned heels would make great gifts for a potential girlfriend. At that point I indulge in imagining myself as a rich man who’d buy all the shoes and make some girl really happy and look good on my arm. Iron Fist only run the patterns once for each shoe. I tell the guy I’ll be back to buy but he can smell the brokenness on me so he just smiles and nods, then thanks me for the chat.
New Balance have come up so fast, almost out of nowhere. They really impressed with their display. I’m still not sure about the running shoe look but I may be converted, should I no longer be able to find Nike 6.0’s. As my dad says, “Phumlani, you really love shoes that look swollen”. I had a long chat with one of the stall managers, and asked him when New Balance were going to start making skate shoes. He tells me that they’re hoping to come up with skate models in the second half of next year. I’m waiting till then.
By this time the main stage is starting to bump some really dope hip hop. I’m appreciating the DJ’s. At some point these guys start rapping. This kinda kills my buzz. Firstly because the rappers suck and secondly can’t we just play hip hop anymore without anyone thinking that they too can rap? I try to drown them out of my ears by concentrating on the skating. But at that point a dance competition on the stage right behind us kicks off. They use little kids to sell it. People won’t ever stop selling dirty African children, it’s an eternal truth, like the dharma of tourism and sneakers. I am disappointed in humanity.
Not really, it’s just annoying to have very bad loud music come at you from two different directions while you’re nursing a hangover and trying to enjoy the skating. Let the children dance I don’t care, just let them dance far away from the skating. The rappers must just go. But they don’t. I start imagining myself as the Julius Malema of STR.CRD. I banish those rap bastards from the revolutionary house of my head. Why is power so hard to come by for talented and educated folks like myself? I end up watching the skating with a finger in each ear. It’s not that bad. A few drinks later and I really enjoy the rest of the event.
*All images © We Are Awesome.