On Africa Day, 2016, the South African filmmaker Zandile Tisani released a short film to celebrate. And what better back drop is there than Yeoville, the pan-African cultural melting pot? At first, white flight – you know, that thing white people do when a neighbourhood begins feeling a little too diverse, they did it to the Johannesburg CBD too – threatened to flatten the suburb of Yeoville. But it still stands, likely a shadow of its former pristine visage, but richer for it.
Yoeville is a sort of “little Africa” home people who bring with them the loneliness being away from home makes of you. They also bring with them the optimism it takes to survive outside of home’s embrace. Whether home is outside of Kigali or a lesser known village right next to Mthatha. In that loneliness and optimism, there are moments that look and feel like thriving.
In Tisane’s new short film, Style Diary: Yeoville, there is not a single coat or jacket draped on shoulders. This is fashion at its most primal: removed from trend tracking, not trying to look cool. This is fashion functioning. This is style and everything those who make clothes should hope they become: armour, presentation and self. In the film, David, or Sunny Jonathan, says the way he dresses reminds him of home, “it makes me have full confidence of where I’m from.”
About the inspiration behind the film Tisani says, “At the time I was living in Yeoville and became struck, daily, by the flair with which my neighbours presented themselves without trying to appease hipster-influenced, supposed sartorial conventions. What I learned is that while fashion might be a playground for the elite, style is intuitive and by virtue of its authenticity; a far more interesting story to tell.”
Style Diary: Yeoville is produced by Goodcop and premiered of the culture website Casimir.[Still captions: Style Diary Yeoville Zandile Tisani]