Its scary how quickly Street Level is becoming a historical record rather than a celebration of Dar’s architectural gems. Today Blaschke House is being demolished. Adorning the clock tower roundabout where Samora Avenue joins Railway Street since 1907, in a few more days only the shiny mbati around it will remain. Who knows what modern wonder will then replace it.
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the fabulous folk at mambo magazine have reviewed street level: http://www.mambomagazine.com/in-deep/arts-and-culture/sense-place
So it really has taken on physical form now, i promise. If you don’t believe me you can drop into the Green Room and take a look at the sample copy (I keep on having to go and double check myself). Sale copies should be available in the next few weeks – kweli kweli!
The good news is that the Street Level book, is just about to go to print. Copies should be available in Dar from mid june. Watch this space for more information on the launch date, events and outlets. If you would like to reserve a copy please email email@example.com.
There is something reassuringly generic about most local dukas. A battered fridge full of sodas, an assortment of cigarettes with a lighter on a string, sachets of soap powder, tea, shampoo and cooking oil, blocks of brightly coloured soap and tubs of even more brightly coloured sweets, a few brooms, pots of indestructible Blue Band margarine, rolls of toilet paper, packets of salt, toothbrushes, toothpaste and phone credit vouchers, bread and eggs. Whether you are on a road trip out of town or in any corner of Dar a duka near you can fulfill your generic needs!
I cycled past my old house yesterday, now reduced to another national housing pile of rubble. A sorry pile of broken bricks and a mess of wires, like dead snakes that were too slow to escape. Another home of memories now removed from the physical to the abstract.
But for now i remember the terracotta tiles beneath my feet, the frangipani view from the tiny balcony, the accumulated cutlery of past tenants, the rusty ceiling fan’s squeak, the erratic lights in the hallway, the intricate shapes formed by peeling paint and my gorgeously cool mornings insulated by thick old walls and doors.
I don’t even have a photo of the place, but at least the fabulous sign just down the road survives…