“The city itself seems to be the driving force for creating inspiring people”
In this week’s voices of the city, we hear from local urban designer Azraa Rawoot.
Voices of the City is a 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 the city 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.
A born and bred Capetonian, Azraa Rawoot is a young urban designer and enthusiastic. Graduated from UCT with Master’s Degree, City Planning and Urban Design, she now works with Jakupa Architects and Urban Designers.
What about Cape Town inspires you the most?
Cape Town is a city in which people are genuinely interested in what you are doing. There is usually a community of welcoming and excited people that are interested in the same things you are. It’s easy to find your niche. They want to hear about your ideas, ask questions and generally make sure you succeed in whatever you are trying to do. There is a compounding excitement effect in the air and you will always find someone into the same things you are. People are proud of their city and their role in shaping it. The city itself seems to be the driving force for creating inspiring people.
“One of my favourite places in Cape Town. The not-so-secret Seapoint swimming pools, just after close and heading into sunset on a late summer afternoon.”
Do you have a secret space or place that you enjoy in the city?
I have a few secret spaces that I enjoy in the city and they are usually associated with a certain friend or group of friends at a certain time in my life, which means that I have not visited some of these spots in years. As time moves on, new people with new secrets spots come along but the one thing they all have in common is that they are all always quietly located in a space surrounded by the mountain or sea, and always a stones throw away from the city.The dense Cape Town inner city taking from 9 storeys high
What was the last exciting event you attended in the city?
A few weeks ago I attended an “Artists for Artists” event organised by a few friends of mine. The concept is that they host the event every second month and invite artists and musicians from multiple disciplines to perform. There was great live music alongside art installations and live painting. The proceeds from the events are given to an artist or two of their choice in order for them to further their career in the field. The most inspiring element of this was that is was all arranged by small team, using their own time and resources, even their own home, to host an event giving exposure to an array of artists beyond themselves. There was a real sense of collaboration and support in getting everyone to succeed.
What frustrates you about the city?
Cape Town is A Tale of Two Cities personified to the nth degree. As much as I love the city that raised me, I cannot ignore the intense paradoxical energy that surrounds it. After 22 years, the marginalised are still living, physically and metaphorically, on the fringes of our city with little or no political voice. Our striking landscape of spatial segregation makes it easy for the well-off to be completely oblivious to the plight of the poor and live in insulated bubbles while the majority face unimaginable struggle to gain access to the most basic needs. In short, our collective inaction in addressing our broken society is what frustrates me most about this city.
“Aspiring urban spaces in Istanbul in which dense building facades frame interesting public places in which the pedestrian and vehicles transition through the same space, without it ever feeling unsafe for the person on foot.”
You can have dinner with one person living or dead. Who is it and why?
I don’t think it would be just one person. I would love to have my closest friends scattered all over the world right now, with me around the dinner table one last time. You only really realise how good something was until its half way across the globe.
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Image Credits :
- Azraa Rawoot