Notes from underground

يارب يسوع المسيح ابن اللّه الحيّ إرحمني أنا الخاطئ

Kitsch Corner, Tshwane

The Great City of Tshwane has its very own Kitsch Corner.

In Hatfield, in the east of Pretoria, at the corner of Jan Shoba (Duncan) and South Streets, are two buildings that seem to represent concentrated essence of kitsch.
Kitsch01This one looks vaguely like a church, or an office building got up to look like a church. It’s rumoured that somewhere inside there is a church.

Kitsch02On the other side of South Street is this/ It’s a shopping centre/office block of sorts, very 1990s in design, but it is surrounded by fibreglass statues of animals that look quite out of place in the urban or suburban setting.

Kitsch03Looking south along Jan Shoba (Duncan) Street, you can see both buildings adding kitsch upon kitsch. It is clear that the whole is kitschier than the sum of its parts.

Kitsch04One plastic giraffe might have been acceptable, a nice decoration for the parking lot, but add the lion and the elephants and even the poor old giraffe looks ridiculous.

Kitsch05On it’s own, and looking from the front, even the lion on the roof doesn’t look too bad, but when you see it from the side, or in relation to the rest of them, it looks over the top.

Kitsch07Back in the 1950s people used to travel to Pretoria to admitre the architecture of the office buildings, which seemed so much more imaginative than those in Johannesburg. Now those buildings are rather decayed and down-at-heel, and would excite no comment. But would people come from far and wide to see these ones? I doubt it, unless they came to laugh.

Kitsch08So  there it is, in all it’s glory. Kitsch Corner, Tshwane. I wonder if anyone will add to it? But as long as they keep it all in one area, at least it will keep the rest of the city free of it.


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  1. Pingback: Civilization | Khanya

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