MARS 15, 1998    ENDSTATION      ISSUE # 4

South African style...
Report made by Tes - Norway. Translated and published by endstation 1998.
In the beginning of February '98 the Norwegian graffiti artist Tes packed his cans in a trunk and headed for South Africa and Cape Town.

tes (norway), ink (cape town), lin (cape town), tesevol (norway) on the metro in Cape Town 1998  

I planned my trip right before i took off. I had talked to the leader of the Hip Hop Nation over the phone and he had fixed everything for me down there. He catched me up at the airport and gave me connections to other graffiti writers. I was well prepared with scetches and color combinations so I had every piece in detail.

lin (cape town), reyntwo (cape town), tes (norway)  

...a totally differnt view of graffiti.
The flight took 15 hours but felt more like 1, and it was pretty hot to come from minus degrees to plus 32! The people down there were extreemely hospitable and cooked me food all time. The prices in the store was half price compared to Norwegian, so I must say i felt rich. I never got out on any safari or even outside the Cape Town itself. My intension was to do graffiti and nothing else. In Norway walls get overpainted all the time. The African people had a totally different view of graffiti. When we grabbed our cans to go out and paint we never knew where we were heading. We just found ourselves a nice wall and asked the owner if we might decorate it. They didn't say no one time. 
The trains get buffed only ones a year...
Three nights i met up with the local writers at the train yard. The Cape Town Police and the guards are armed to their teeth and have a reputaion that they are keeping you locked down for weeks when they catch you.  Even if there were no fences at the yard it wasn't nice to be aware that

tes (norway)

you get shot if you try to run from them. I made three panels and some kind of throw-up. The trains got buffed only ones a year so there were no problems to get to see my pieces running.

tes (norway)

The five most famous writers had sponsors...
One day I went to the monthly Writes Bench where i met more than 30 African writers. Totally there were more than 50 writers in the city. The 5 most famous writes had sponsors who gave them big cartons of spraycans every month. But the paint was watery and didn't cover at all so I didn't regret i brought 30 Quick cans from home. It's not legal to bring spraycans onboard a plane, but there should be no problems if you pack them in your trunk. They only searched thru my hand lagguage.
Breakdance was the big thing down there. Hundreds of kids were breaking and many of them were not more than 13 years old! I saw a seven year old girl do a five round headspin. Little boys were headsppinning 'til infinity! Black Noise which is the oldest b-boy-crew in 

South Africa told their sponsor was about to bring some of those kids to the Battle of the Year in Germany '98. The South African graffiti culture don't get much promotion from papers witch makes it more difficult for the movement to show it's work internationally. Still there is one magazine; The Juice Magazine. / Tes

adresses and contacts
The Juice Magazine
PO Box 31184
Grassy Park 7945
Cape Town 8000
South Africa


    On the lookout for an artist? One who graffitis large spaces? Metrorail has the right person, but you first have to catch him/her red-handed.
    For some time now – Metrorail train-drivers arrive at Fish Hoek station to start their days work, to find their trains ”decorated” with brightly coloured paintings. Frik du Plessis of Metrorail Rolling Stock, says the group of artists work at nighttime. The culprits access the depots at Fish Hoek and Retreat stations and select specifictrains to ”decorate”. The graffiti is unusual because it’s done at random.
This is the original layout of the text... The artists work with a modern art letter design and bright colours. "The graffiti has a style of its own. The result is actually quite nice.”, said Frik. Unfortunatly it costs Metrorail R1 400.00 to clean one coach. The expensive does not end here; ones the train is cleaned and returned to the depot, the artists return to paint the same train. Over the past year Matrorail has cleaned 20 train coaches at a cost more than R1 30 000 damaged by the hand of these graffiti-artists. Keith Roberts, Metrorail Rolling Stock Manager, said Metrorail would much rather spend these amounts on services for commuters. ”It is this kind of expence that keeps Metrorail from offering first class facilities to regular commuters.”

A reward of up to R25 000 is offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of criminals. Anyone with information, can phone 406 4336 or 0810 210 180.