Voices of the city: Shuaib Philander | FUTURE CAPE TOWN

“The city is my obstacle course to perform and practice my street art by creatively through how I implement my skateboarding on obstacles that were not primarily designed to be skated”


This week in we talk to Shuaib Philander,  a member of 20sk8, a skate group which was featured in the short film Jas Boude about how he views Cape Town.


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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.


Shuaib Philander is part of the 20sk8 skateboarding collective, “a brotherhood formed through skateboarding originating from the Cape Flats Cape Town, Against Gangsterism and Drugs, Urban Street Culture 1 Movement” (source: OkayAfrica). Just this year the short film Jas Boude, directed by Georgina Warner and Imraan Christian, was released which draws attention to Cape Town’s spatial inequalities and public spaces issues through the lense of 20sk8 and with Shuaib’s narrations.

Jas Boude has been nominated for Best Student Film at the 2016 South African Film and Television Awards.


What about Cape Town inspires you the most?

The natural construction of our beautiful land, and how the mountain meets ocean. The people that originate from it also inspire me, along with opportunity that our youth are now able to be free thinkers and knowing that they can become anything they want to be in this world.

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Do you have a secret space or place that you enjoy in the city?

I am skateboarder.The city is my obstacle course to perform and practice my street art by creatively through how I implement my skateboarding on obstacles that were not primarily designed to be skated.

What was the last exciting event you attended in the city?

Cape Town festival, because it brings together all the cultures originating from the land, and has entertainment which is interesting for every race and age.

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What frustrates you about the city?

The hardest part is to answer as everything academically correct, but hey I’ll start when it mattered 1994 when our country got its democracy. Rumor has it whites believed in supremacy, that’s how they came into power and took ownership of everything. Black people had higher population and with this uprising in oppression, the white people saw that they won the battle  but could not win the war, so they needed a puppet, and Mandela was the perfect candidate. He had publicly suffered the hardships from those who held power, and if the face of the uprising could win the country’s democracy over by a means of voting. But in order for that to happen, he had to give our mines and other resources away, but hey what do I know.

My community, classified as Cape Coloured, were forced out of their own land which was prime location in Cape Town, to the outskirts of the city whereby they were not reimbursed, but segregated and undermined. It feels as if we had nothing to stand on, or else we stand for killing our own people and culture, and was further segregated by gangsterism and desperation because the investment goes into the prime locations which are now occupied by tourists.

Our currency is pathetic, yet our land is inhabited with so many resources of which we do not own. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer, while the under privilege areas deteriorate and nice place get made nicer. What is also very frustrating is the corruption and the form of the ‘system/machine’ where the need is identified by cooperates, and they get funded a large sum of money while giving the public just enough to have hope when a larger amount of money is getting given to them. The larger amount of people are suffering, but everybody is following this movement because its gives false hope since publicly is a success because of the number of people buying into it.

You can have dinner with one person living or dead. Who is it and why?

My father’s grandmother who raised me, so she could tell me what’s on the other side in order for me to be at peace.

Hear more voices of the city:

  1. Voices of the city: Funke Makinwa
  2. Voices of the city: Boeta Phyf
  3. Voices of the city: Darren Blair

Media Credits :

  1. All images supplied by Andre Visser
  2. Video: A UCT Film & Media Production, Graduation Film 2014, directed by Georgina Warner & Imraan Christian