WATCH: 'Graffiti is a voice for the voiceless' - tour guide shows off Joburg's underbelly

30 May 2017 - 09:27 By Staff Writer
Jo Buitendach
Jo Buitendach
Image: YouTube/TimesLIVE

This video is part of TimesLIVE's “On Shift” – a 10-part video series proudly brought to you by 1Life Insurance. Every Monday until the end of May, watch exclusive videos giving unusual insight into the lives and perspectives of people working in interesting professions in South Africa.

Showing tourists around central Johannesburg is only one part of Jo Buitendach’s job. She sees herself as more of an activist than a tour guide, dispelling myths about South Africa's largest city one tourist at a time.

She says some tourists are told not to come to Johannesburg. They are warned it is dangerous, with nothing to do. So, inspired by the rich history of central Johannesburg – and the variety of graffiti art on display in this area – Buitendach launched Past Experiences, a company that offers walking tours.

“Eight years ago, the city centre was a very different place. People laughed at me when I went to tourism trade fairs,” she says.

Tourists aside, the unsavoury reputation of central Johannesburg keeps even local people from exploring their city. Buitendach hopes she can encourage residents to explore different corners of the urban space they call home and recognise the abundant creativity on display in its street. Indeed, it is the very degeneration that tarnished Johannesburg's reputation that has provided fertile ground for an explosion of street art and graffiti.

Buitendach considers graffiti “a voice for the voiceless”. On her walking tours, she uses these outdoor artworks to dig deeper into the past as an innovative way to present the history of Johannesburg – a city that is, she says, “the graffiti capital of Africa”.​​

 

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Some tourists are told not to come to Johannesburg. They are warned it is dangerous, with nothing to do. So, inspired by the rich history of central Johannesburg – and the variety of graffiti art on display in this area – Jo Buitendach launched Past Experiences, a company that offers walking tours. Buitendach considers graffiti “a voice for the voiceless”. On her walking tours, she uses these outdoor artworks to dig deeper into the past as an innovative way to present the history of Johannesburg – a city that is, she says, “the graffiti capital of Africa”. * This video is part of TimesLIVE's “On Shift” – a 10-part video series proudly brought to you by 1Life Insurance. Every Monday until the end of May, watch exclusive videos giving unusual insight into the lives and perspectives of people working in interesting professions in South Africa. ======================= Everyone has a story. 1Life can secure what your future story holds. With advice, financial planning & affordable life cover. Get a quote tailored to your needs today at http://bit.ly/2nIAMK8 Subscribe to TimesLIVE here: https://www.youtube.com/user/TimesLive

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