So Much More Than Graffiti – Mr Paynter

A quick note to the Great City of Durban, (A City I love. Enough to wear her name under my skin.)

The joke of an arrest which spawned this very site has the police (and our local government I’m sure) patting each-other on the back and grinning ear to ear for their catching of these “hardened gangsters”.

Meanwhile, I for one have been overwhelmingly warmed by the intelligence of our city’s people in reply to this media-propaganda and their seeing right through the very thin woolen veil the authorities have tried to pull over their eyes.

Whilst I know the guys involved, my letter is not to say up graffiti, up art, up free thought or even  up basic creativity because these thoughts and feelings have been covered extensively, I will say however that the uneasy feeling stirring in a lot of people around this situation is indicative of a rising attitude of disenchantment and dissatisfaction. This is our city and the last time I checked, this is a democracy, and with the media hype surrounding this fiasco is handing us a rather large chance to be heard, on the proverbial golden platter.

It’s easy for each and every one of us to feel we’re doing our proud South African bit every four years and vote and it’s even easier to feel like we can’t do anything but complain when our candidates aren’t voted in, or even more when they are and they’re not fulfilling promises BUT here is a chance to get behind something you may or may not believe in, in unity as Durbanites against the common enemy of a local government who won’t listen to their citizens. Literally for no other reason than they need to learn.

WE are the people who are supposed to decide who is in power and WE are the people who continue to go unheard, it is evident everywhere in our city, I literally don’t know anyone who supported changing road names ( I know I’m beating a dead horse but it’s a valid point) but somehow despite a city who didn’t want to see it, we have them. Now we wait to see if these young men will be steam-rolled by the system because of a situation where they have been trapped by private investigators we’ve all paid for with our hard-earned taxes?

These investigators then tell all the press and media that they’ve nabbed a gang of wanton vandals and that they are cracking down. This is money we as a community could surely find better use for!

Let’s hire private investigators for VIOLENT crime or even better yet, let’s hire them for independent investigation of our own officials who have been accused time and again of nepotism and corruption with no resulting investigation or punishment.

Attached for your benefit is a short list of things I disagree with in Durban:

–          Renamed streets, changed for public figures irrelevant to South Africa AT ALL (Che Guevara Rd?) at extensive cost to the municipality as well as citizens and businesses.

–          Millions spent on refurbishing our beachfronts and Stadiums for the World Cup whilst homeless people still go cold, hungry and homeless (And are routinely rounded up and herded out off of these free public beaches away from tourist-eyes and dumped in rural areas, NOT at shelters.)

–          The millions which South Africa was supposed to make from the great tournament did NOT trickle down to the man in the street with all of Fifa’s tight legislation.

–          Millions spent on the King Shaka Statue only to have it torn down so the powers that be can argue over how to make it better and a more proud reflection and build it again.

–          Millions spent on Durban’s BEAUTIFUL elephant statues only to have them covered up, and kept out of sight because certain powers that be disagree with them.

–          The proposed spending of millions turning Vetchies Reef in to a yacht mall, killing off Durban’s last central hot-spot of NATURAL sea-life.

–          The constant policing of EASY crimes, like hawkers with no licences having all of their goods seized for trying to make a living legally.

–          The presumably large sums of money spent on the Average Speed Prosecution system between Hillcrest and Pietermaritzburg.

(in itself a good idea, but that same road is mobbed with RTI officials every weekend, sometimes up to 30+ officers policing just 60km of one road. We’re paying them salaries to police a road already policed by an expensive “state-of-the-art” trapping system. Which one isn’t working?)

–          Stories of tender-corruption involving our City manager and his cronies which disappears after the initial report, never to be heard of again (Where is the culpability?)

–          Blue-light bullies tearing around in massively expensive luxury vehicles, risking their own and OUR lives in the name of “security”

All of this has gone on or is going on whilst the municipality bleats about the “huge amounts of money” it’s spent cleaning up graffiti, and make no mistake, this is surely no paltry sum, but it almost certainly pales in comparison to the millions being squandered on silly things like private investigators arresting legal mural artists for illegal graffiti they’ve yet to prove was done by these young men, not before smearing their reputations and printing their names in the papers.

If even one of these things irritates you in the slightest then this is my call to arms for Durban as a whole to get behind these young men and let the powers that be know that we have a voice and we’re willing to call them on their bullSh1t.

Durbanites are notoriously apathetic and it’s about time we start spreading some awehness because our voices will only be heard when we speak together on any and ALL of these issues. This is our chance to be the change we want to see in our immediate world.

Our Civil Servants forget the SERVICE which comes with their positions of “power”

Mr. Paynter




Posted on August 17, 2011, in Mr Paynter and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. jennifer Eales

    I completely agree with the sentiments expressed by Iain Robinson. What about the numerous hijackings we have heard about on the Berea over the last couple of weeks? What is being done to stop the violent crime and make our suburbs safer to live in? Stop squandering our money and start using it for good instead of persecuting young people.

  2. Agreed! I feel that several spaces should be made available for these modern day artists to express themselves. Besides I would much rather see beautifully painted graffiti then a boring plan wall.

  3. So right your are – about everything. The authorities must know that we see through their smoke screen. Are they perhaps trying to draw attention away from their lack of success with the real criminals with waste of public funds?
    One day some ‘hardened gangsters’ rang the doorbell and asked if they could paint my wall. The word ‘giftscape’ was painted graffitti style.Their art is a gift to the community. – At their own expense. They can come back any time; I still have some wall left.

  4. This is like music to my ears – I love the fact that there are artists in Durban who recognise injustice and are not bullied into keeping quiet about it. I am teaching a Grade 11 class a course in South African Theatre History and the largest component is protest theatre – and just yesterday I said to them: “With apartheid gone, is there a need for protest theatre? And if you say no, why not?” It seems that there is a huge need for artists such as Ewok and those who are not scared to make a stand, to rally together and protest against many aspects rife in society right now – it doesn’t begin or end with graffiti!

  5. I second you guys!!! It really is scary thinking that “this” is what our “justice system” considers a “big break” ….there’re lots of real-life worst case scenarios going on around durban-things that I witness on everyday yet its given a blind eye!

    Something so beautiful and with such heart melting intentions to be described and “painted” the total opposite of what it is -leaves me as a journalist student thinking…how on earth could such a well known publication allow an article which is so cynically viewed to be published..what ever happend “objectivity”

  6. Props to all those voices out there,speaking out against this state sponsored oppression.

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