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Take a Walk in These Shoes

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Since the early 1990s, Johannesburg has been a city in which commuting almost always takes place by car or taxi and the idea of walking the streets strikes fear into many a heart. That has been changing thanks to the gentrification of parts of the inner city in recent years. Now walking in Johannesburg, or at least parts of it, is something even the most leaf-sheltered suburbanite can do.


Since the early 1990s, Johannesburg has been a city in which commuting almost always takes place by car or taxi and the idea of walking the streets strikes fear into many a heart. That has been changing thanks to the gentrification of parts of the inner city in recent years. Now walking in Johannesburg, or at least parts of it, is something even the most leaf-sheltered suburbanite can do. A new project initiated by the Goethe
Institut places walking at the centre of a culture of movement and migration which is central to Johannesburg as a major economic centre in Africa. For the month of May a series of public events across a range of artistic disciplines will take place out of a new temporary project space in Braamfontein called the
Shoe Shop.

According to a press release from the Goethe Institut, The Shoe Shop "explores individual narratives and personal stories that reflect upon the complexities of a roving life — at times touching on larger migratory
movements, negotiated space, courageous walking, but also a joy in discovering new places and the simple act of walking".


The Shoe Shop will open at 4pm on 2 May, and will feature a reading by Stacy Hardy at 6pm, a Shoe Shine
Performance by Bettina Malcomess and Jacques Du Toit, and DJ sets into the night. The shop will display objects and images that suggest goods and equipment that might be carried on a walk. Some of these goods include map works by Rangoato Hlasane/Keleketla! Library and footwear, accessories, maps
and zines by artists and designers including Lisa Jaffe/Guillotine, Zen Marie, Ravi Govender, Jamal Nxedlana and Zamani Xolo of the CUSS Collective, and Francis Burger and Jonah Sack of the Independent Publishing Project.


There will also be a series of posters, which will be made available to the public as an extension of the public space interventions taking place during the project. The posters will feature photographic works by George Osodi, Fatoumata Diabaté, Emmanuel BakaryDaou and Thabiso Sekgala.



Like any good shop, though, the Shoe Shop is not just about material goods: it will function as a place for connecting with people and generating new ideas as well. A program of screenings, talks and other events will take place very Friday in May. The shop will include a work station for visiting photographers, as well as a space to access the Shoe Shop Project website, which will have the capacity for visitors to blog or add images and update events to a project map. There will also be a parallel film screening program hosted by the Bioscope at Arts on Main.


Every Saturday and Sunday the public will be invited to join artist-guided walks around the city, and on 6 May this program will kick off with a street parade from the Shoe Shop premises to the Drill Hall in Joubert Park. The parade begins at 11am.



The Shoe Shop is located at 6 De Beer Street, Braamfontein. For more information contact the Goethe Institut at 011 442 3232.