• Reflecting on Nairobi’s heritage

    Residents of Nairobi appreciate the city for its present-day attributes but not so much for its history. The city, built on a swamp, began in 1899 as a railway depot and camp during the construction of the Mombasa-Kampala railway.  By the early 1900s, Nairobi was a bustling town and eventually became the colonial administrative capital […]

  • Come dance with me

    The moment the Sarakasi dancers and acrobats appear on stage, one feels their pulsating, vibrant energy. The dancers bound onto the stage exuding graceful athleticism often associated with world-class acts like Cirque du Soleil, yet exhibiting a uniqueness that has come to be recognized as the Sarakasi (which means “circus or acrobatics” in Kiswahili) dance […]

  • Artists as urban catalysts in downtown Cairo

    Last December the Goethe Institute hosted a panel discussion titled “Artists as Urban Catalysts in Downtown Cairo.” The event was organized by Beth Stryker and Omar Nagati (Cluster) and supported by the Ford Foundation. Invited panelists represented two types of stakeholders in downtown: property owners (Karim Shafei, CEO of Al Ismaelia Real Estate Development, and […]

  • The “White City” and Egypt’s modernist heritage

    In 2003 UNESCO added Tel Aviv’s “White City” to its list of world heritage sites. The “White City” consists of three zones (central White City, Lev Hair and Rothschild Avenue, and the Bialik Area) containing around 4,000 buildings built from the 1930s to the 1950s in various interpretations of the modernist style. Tel Aviv was […]

  • Art and the Public Interest: A view from Joburg’s Premier Public Art Gathering

    “Public access”, the theme of Johannesburg’s second conference on public art, held November 16-18, was aptly cued the night before the talkshop as attempts to host a tea-drinking ceremony in Hillbrow were almost scuppered. The planned street closure was denied at the last minute by metropolitan police — no such permissions are being granted for […]

  • Cultural renaissance on the streets of Accra

    Ghana’s cultural policy is largely stuck in the past, with the state steadfastly centered on promoting historical tradition. Much of the public holds the same perspective, says Ato Annan, project officer of the Foundation for Contemporary Art Ghana (FCA), a non-profit organisation and network of Ghanaian artists. “Most Ghanaians are set in what they perceive […]

  • A city in danger of losing its heritage

    The question of urban heritage has become increasingly politicised in Egypt. Cairo is a city with traces of its built heritage going as far back as its founding in 969. In addition, the city’s Greco-Roman, Coptic and Ancient Egyptian heritages are all visible. Cairo is a city of many histories, reflected in many remains. However, […]

  • “If you look at the metropolitan centres and capitals as just individual phenomena you miss how to understand the nuances”: David Adjaye

    The digital camera, rather than sketchbook, became an indispensible aid to seeing the 53 cities he visited. In particular, the democratic rawness of the digital image appealed. “I wanted the experience to have the kind of naivety of anybody landing in the city,” he says of the anti-iconic images made on his personally directed research […]

  • Capturing Kinshasa through comics

    For comic book fans around the world, a handful of cities evoke strong images: superheroes jumping from skyscrapers in New York; Tintin running across a building in a Brussels mural; wide-eyed schoolgirls looking for romance in Tokyo. But colourful cityscapes, designed by local artists, are finally putting an African capital city on the comic map. […]

  • The Lagos Tour: How easy is it to walk around Lagos?

    Lagos is dealing with rapid urbanization, which has increased our demand for parking. However, nobody seems to be concerned that cars are parked on sidewalks without penalty while pedestrians are forced to walk on the road.

  • A pastiche of the streets in Cairo

    Photographer Roy M Gunnels documents life on Cairo’s Muizz Street.

  • The Lagos Tour: first stop Surulere

    ‘The Lagos Tour’ is a new, monthly feature from Future Lagos that will explore Lagos using photography. This month we visited Surulere, a residential and commercial district on the Lagos mainland, east of Lagos Island. The district is famous for it’s suya (spicy barbequed meat) and barbecue spots. The National Stadium complex is also situated in Surulere and is one of the district’s major landmarks.

  • 7th Street Melville: Joburg at Play

    For decades one of Jozi’s most social arteries, 7th street in Melville remains abuzz with an eclectic mix of establishments. It boasts some famous staples of Joburg’s restaurant scene and nightlife (with several of its bars and restaurants having lasted a decade or more in their current locations, which is no mean feat) and can always be counted upon to provide an interesting browse, a very good night out, and the richest of pickings for people watching.

  • Future Nairobi and the media menace

    Kichwateli, which means ‘TV-head’ in kiswahili, is a short film directed by the self-taught animator and graphic designer Muchiri Njenga. It is at once an Afro-futuristic and an almost-apocalyptic film but it’s also completely rooted in contemporary times.

  • Kampala stakes its place on East African art map

    African art lovers are preparing for the Kampala Art Biennale, which will be held throughout August in venues around Kampala. The Biennale is presented as an innovative project with the intention of showing contemporary works from around the continent and creating debate on its current value. According to the organizers, the first edition will give […]

  • Moments of connection at Cape Town’s World Music Fest

    “No one said that freedom would be so hard, rainbow child.” These words from the lead vocalist of South African band The Brother Moves On sent ripples through the crowd at the Cape Town World Music Festival on Friday night. When I had entered Cape Town City Hall, almost seven hours earlier, the grandeur of […]

  • Don’t snap me!

    “Don’t snap me!” he says as I twirl about with my bag unsteadily like a spinning top resisting the inevitable topple. “I was actually just taking a pic of the billboard” I offer, but end up muttering to myself, the offended man long gone. New city – we’re in Accra, Ghana – and our local […]

  • African Creative Economy Conference coming to Rabat

    Rabat, which was recently declared the Moroccan capital of culture, will host the fourth edition of the African Creative Economy Conference, an annual project of the Arterial Network. The network is a Pan-African civil society network of artists, cultural activists, enterprises, NGOs and others active in the creative sector. The conference will run from November […]

  • In God’s Land: Exploring Yeoville Ridge

    Ang Lloyd contributes on a rocky outcrop in Joburg offering far more than a good view. Cross-posted from urbanjoburg. I have found a place – in the middle of the city – where I can feel god. This place is hard to find: it requires a detour through Yeoville via Rocky Street, and a vague […]