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Don’t Tag Me… An Edutainment Piece by Lance Liebenberg

So I’ve tried to stay relatively out of this whole “gangs of graffiti” entanglement some Durbanites have found themselves ensnared in, other than the odd Facebook update with rather limited scope. To offer full disclosure, there are three reasons for this:

  1. I am absolutely in love with graffiti and the hip hop culture, (have you ever seen a  broke crack-head search a carpeted floor on the third day of his binge for the piece of rock that dropped out his pipe? Me neither, but if Hip Hop was that rock, I’d spend all day on my hands and knees with my nose on that carpet)  have been since I started skateboarding at the age of ten, (I’m much older now, almost thirty, but it’s okay, Ray Kurzweil says if we can just live long enough to see The Singularity we’ll probably live forever, seriously, google it) and so I feel it would be difficult for me to write an un-biased “opinion piece” on the subject.
  2. I count many of Durban’s original Hip Hop innovaters, founders, activists, graf artists, and vandals as friends or acquaintances, (my friends are totally cooler than Paul Kirk’s; he hangs out with lesbian Nazis and people that still laugh at Vernon Koekermoer jokes [Actually, the lesbian Nazis sound like a good time out]) once again this would push me towards a natural alliance with them, and nullify any validity of standpoint. (Or at least in the eyes of those working for and supporting “The Man”)
  3. I work for “The Man.” (See what I did there?) I am currently employed, and have been for quite some time, at Independent Newspapers Limited, who produce The Mercury and were responsible for a massively (in my view) irresponsible, or at the very least, poorly researched article. Read the rest of this entry

Open Letter – Mr Wizid

To Whom It May Concern
I was supposed to be painting that wall on Sunday with Yeh2, luckily I went on a breakfast run with my bike club and therefore missed the drama.
The burning question I have for the media, all aspects of media, is how are huge corporate companies that advertise on TV, magazines etc.  allowed to associate their products with “gang markings” such as graffiti Across the spectrum we have brands like HEITA (Telkoms own cellular service), Ford Cars, the ever annoying 35050 ads which charge R7,50 per sms and repetitively run back-to-back all night long across E-TVand many other force-fed brands running campaigns where graffiti, street art etc is the medium used on NATIONAL TELEVISION to promote their products?

Read the rest of this entry

Mercurial Misrepresentation by Karen Logan

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The unfinished wall in remembrance of Eiy5.  Images by Karen Logan.

Gang definition: ‘An organized group of criminals’.

How does a group of young artists painting during the day, in a highly visible area with no attempt to hide their actions, on a wall that has been painted annually in the memory of a deceased friend get arrested and then labelled a ‘gang’ by our local paper that is meant to support the local arts scene? How much money has the city spent on a private investigating company to help the police ‘bust’ an event that would have been easily discovered by a simple Facebook search?! This smacks of opportunistic, attention-grabbing abuse of public responsibility on a soft target that clearly believed they were acting within their rights. The Mercury photographer could have got a much better quality picture had they asked the young artists involved to stand next to their mural with the pride they can deservedly wear for attempting to brighten up an area the city clearly doesn’t have the resources to uplift.


In response to todays (Monday 15th 2011) article in The Mercury under the title “GANG CAUGHT RED HANDED”:

A front page title such as GANG CAUGHT RED HANDED smacks of sensationalist and irresponsible journalism upon clearer analysis of the details of the event being described.

For any writer worth their pen, there can be no denying the obvious negative connotations associated with the use of a word like GANG in describing a group of urban youth, especially in a country and a city where violent gangsterism is still a serious issue affecting our communities. To label as a GANG a small group of young creative artists, engaging in what was quite obviously an unsuspecting and harmless act of craft and expression, is once again both short-sighted and potentially damaging for those involved, and can in no way be justified other than as an attempt at catching the attention of potential consumers of a product, in this case a newspaper. Read the rest of this entry

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