Slice of life: ‘I fell in love with a space’



I am a Jozi kid and I’ve always had a love for space. When I was growing up,

I used to go to the top of the Carlton Centre, the 55th floor, and check out all the buildings in Johannesburg from the top.That helped create a lifelong interest in how we can restore, invigorate and renew a space.

My partner, Neo, is really good at finding unused and derelict spaces.

Last December, he found this space in the Madison building [in the Johannesburg city centre] and got me to come and see it.

It’s an unloved, rusted old factory. But I fell in love with the amount of empty space and the possibilities of what we can do with it. We are planning to restore it with art, by making it an art centre or art precinct — just a space dedicated to art.

What hooked me was that this place runs along two streets, Madison and Macintyre. It’s huge and we can renovate the third, second and first floors. So far we’ve cleaned out the space, with our own hands. We focused on the courtyard, which is like an urban garden. We still have the roof to do and we have the full interior to get done.

There’s a lot more to be done. But we are still looking for funding. We are not a nonprofit, so it’s a little bit harder to try and get funding. But yeah, we are looking.

This project is my baby. I fell in love with this building. — Chan de Villiera, as told to Tshegofatso Mathe

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Tshegofatso Mathe
Tshegofatso Mathe is a financial trainee journalist at the Mail & Guardian

Nehawu launches urgent court bid over protective gear for health...

The health workers’ union says the government has rebuffed its attempts to meet about mitigating risks to workers

Stay at home, Cyril said. But what about the homeless?

In Tshwane, forcing homeless people off the street resulted in chaos and the abuse of a vulnerable population. In Durban, a smooth, well-planned operation fared far better

Press Releases

New energy mix on the cards

REI4P already has and will continue to yield thousands of employment opportunities

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders