Voices of the City is a new, weekly feature that spotlights the everyday lives of our citizens, living and working in the city. By asking the same five questions to all our interviewees, we discover not only how our experiences of differ, but also what we share. It is a daunting task to try and capture the diverse experiences of our city’s inhabitants, but we feel that it is a worthy, and necessary, endeavor, in order to better understand the present and future of our city. This week, we interviewed Mikhail Adam Motala, a freelance photographer. His latest project is traveling around the country to document the filming of a series of Happy South Africa music videos in Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Pretoria. Here he tells us how Cape Town inspires him and his work.
Question: What about Cape Town inspires you the most?
Answer: The amazing scenic beauty of Cape Town inspires me the most, as I started out taking landscape shots as many aspiring photographers in the city do when they start out. The main thing I love about landscapes, especially shooting in Cape Town, is being spoilt for choice, with the diversity that the city has to offer in terms of locations, forest, mountain, beach locations, all within a few minute’s drive from the CBD. The great part is being blessed with a different view every single day, the city takes me by surprise each and every time. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, it knocks you out by surprising you the next day with some of the most incredible sunsets in the summer, with a myriad of colours lighting up the sky. It’s simply breathtaking.
Q. Do you have a secret space or place that you enjoy in the city?
A: I love the Sea Point Promenade because of its accessibility. It’s nice and central, a few minutes drive from home. I especially love it in the summer, when everyone’s out and about, young and old, from all walks of life and backgrounds, enjoying the outdoors. I’ll play a soccer game on the fields, work out on the outdoor gym, bike ride or a skate along the promenade during the day. There are nearby foodstalls and restuarants, there’s even time to fit in a sunset jog overlooking the Atlantic, with the sun only setting after 8pm each night. It’s an amazing spot for anyone who loves the outdoors within the vicinity of the city.
Q: What was the last exciting event you attended in the city?
A: I would have to say ‘’Pressure’’ which is a monthly drum and bass night in Cape Town, at the popular, longstanding live music venue in the city called Mercury. ‘’Pressure’’ follows on from ‘’Homegrown,” which was the longest running drum and bass night in Cape Town, showcasing the best in both local, international drum and bass acts over the last 12 years. Pressure is pushing the next generation of drum and bass DJ’s / Producers, offering the very best that the genre has to offer to its loyal drum and bass enthusiasts month in and out. What’s special about this event is its community feel, with people coming together from all walks of life for the life of the music, which is the binding factor first and foremost.
Q: What frustrates you the most about your city?
A: The crime rate frustrates me the most, especially pick pocketing, and cell phone muggings in the city and at events. Having been a victim of this kind of theft myself, many family and friends as well, it’s a bit upsetting, unfortunate, that a certain few would tarnish the name of this incredible city of ours. But I suppose like any other major city in the world, you have to be mindful, aware of your belongings and surroundings at all times late at night or at an unfamiliar spot.
Q. You can have dinner with one person living or dead. Who is it and why?
A: It would sound terribly cliqued, but I’d have to say, Nelson Mandela (Madiba), our late ex-president. I never got the chance to meet him in person when he was alive, but according to my folks we were at his first address to the nation at the city hall in Cape Town after he had been released from Robben Island. I was in diapers back then, too young to comprehend the magnitude of the occasion. So if I had the opportunity to meet him face to face, that would be incredible, to thank him for everyone he’s done for this amazing country of ours, striving for many of the freedoms that we enjoy today. The opportunity to attend multicultural schools, socializing with friends from all walks of life and most importantly, having the freedom and opportunities to become a photographer. This is something that I wouldn’t have dreamt of having had apartheid still been in place today, so I salute you Madiba and to all who brought freedom to this country.
To learn more about Mikhail and his work: https://www.facebook.com/MikMotalaPhotography or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out our website next week for the next Voices of the City interview.