-  Diary of an Adventure   -  Juba Adventures

As is being reported, the levels of violence, even by the craziness we have witnessed over the past few months, is incredibly disturbing and the impact its having on the moral and commitment of my staff is tragic. Groups huddled around the TV waiting for the latest news. Security updates devoured for an indication of what next?

‘Train Across the Water’, 60cmx30cm, Oil on Canvas
Dramatic sunrises and sunsets over Juba Town. The air crystal after the rains. Challenging the artist to do his best. Turner, my standard for drama infused translucence. The lagoon in Knysna from the new gallery studio, with its railway line across the water, a setting that Monet wouldn’t have managed to resist. Yachts, the modern touch. A tad escapist, with it all being a gazillion miles away from Juba Town.

I’m staring at the left over mangos on the kitchen counter that are rapidly getting to the too ripe, pulp stage. Eating one is a huge amount of work, and such a mess for something that is more juice than anything else. Perhaps if I made a small hole in the tough skin and squeezed it, I would have better results?? The pips are massive, covered in tough fibre that admittedly, also acts as dental floss, and buckets of orange sludge.

Jog with a fiery sunrise. Sweltering under heavy clouds. The PoC ominously quiet this Easter Sunday. Not a drum, or a voice raised in song to be heard. The English Premier League, however, is amplified over a PA system and despite the looming storm, the flickering images mesmerizes hundreds.

A pen and brush illustration Bob did of Zevenwacht Village is powerful in its simplicity, clarity and sense of place. That is was done using digital tools provides another challenge, however in tackling one of the more disturbing sides of the conflict in South Sudan, it provided me with a base from which to work. Bob had the advantage of being a superb draughtsman, while my shoddy skills I usually hide by smearing paint about the place. Not so easily done, and I’m continually searching for lines to take out to hide my lack of skill.
‘To War’, 35cmx25cm, Charcoal and Acrylic on paper

Feedback on my French is that my grammar sucks. I have no idea what is masculine or feminine, and my pronunciation is at the same level as a non-native French speaking child who hasn’t left kindergarden!

Despite the craziness in the country that has stunned us all by its savagery, Customs Market is bustling. The new university buildings are complete making the wide pavement available for hawkers. They are now three or four shops deep, taking over one of the road lanes, the other blocked by minibus taxis. Traffic at a standstill, which if you are a stall owner is perfect as you can rush between vehicles selling your goods and get back to your stall for re-supply before the traffic has moved an inch. Rickety stalls selling clothing are at the back, with barrow stall owners selling shoes and other bits in the middle, and fruit sellers on sheets of plastic at the front on the road.

An impact of the high winds that have accompanied the storms over Juba Town, is that the large advertising boards that have sprung up all over the place have been wrecked. In most instances, the central support pillars have bent like straws bringing the signboard crashing down across streets, neighbouring buildings and even school yards.

The traffic around Juba Town is nuts again. A boda-boda driver came weaving out from behind the back of my vehicle and hit an oncoming car. Fortunately it didn’t hit me, but the passenger fell badly and the motorcycle driver couldn’t have fared much better. A tad upsetting.

In his time Jan has been an electronics, nuclear and power system engineer, a strategist, a humanitarian and an artist. A career path linked by creativity and innovative thinking. Initially trained at the Johannesburg College of Art, Jan has won numerous international awards and has exhibited nationally and internationally. He can be found in his studio ‘Jandreart’ located at Thesen Harbour Town, Knysna.


  • Mark Raats

    Thank you for sharing your art and your experiences with such eloquence boet. It goes without saying that we’re concerned about you, your colleagues and the people of South Sudan and its humbling to read your thoughts and challenges on what’s happening over there. We’ve both been witness to appalling violence (in different decades and in different countries) and in the end its the innocent who are always the worst off.

    The dedication of your staff and of you as a leader is something we stand in awe of.

    Take special care over there…

    April 25, 2014
  • Reblogged this on Sudan Hub Group.

    April 30, 2014

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