Drive from Cape Town to Somerset West and after Gordon’s Bay a string of little hamlets lines the winding coast all the way to Hermanus – popular seaside destination: probably one of the most breathtaking and spectacular drives, and setting for more than a few commercials. Carsickness notwithstanding. These little settlements vary in size, development and atmosphere. From the rough and rugged Rooi-Els to the quirky Pringle Bay and the much more modern Kleinmond and Betty’s Bay, these seemingly non-descript locales hide many unnoticed treasures… that you have to dig for yourself. One of them happens to be a passionate painter, printer and pizza chef.
Twenty-six year old Takura Chadoka is always busy being creative. Be it painting, designing and hand-printing T-shirts or wood-firing pizzas at the Hanging Rock Kitchen – another little gem – a white chef’s hat hiding his dreadlocks.
Splitting his time between Pringle Bay – from where the backside of Table Mountain is clearly visible across False Bay (several miles wider than the English Channel and Great White infested) – and Cape Town’s arty Woodstock district, by night he cooks but by day he works in the studio that sits beneath the restaurant.
It is small and simple but undeniably charming, crammed full of his paintings and his sculptures born of any recycled “junk” – from Coke can rings to pieces of plastic. The studio also doubles as the workshop for his screen-printing business. His love of cycling fuels the novel designs that he carefully applies to T-shirts and tank tops and are very distinct from his very wild, colourful and very African oil paintings. Indeed, the garments would not be out of place in any boutique in London’s Shoreditch or Soho. Evelyn – a Zimbabwean writer who he happened to have met in the tiny but lively Pringle Bay village back in 2007 – is both his wife and model.
Takura emphasises that his painting and printing endeavours are separate. The paintings are his art. The T-shirts his business, though no less love goes into the latter. Already both operations have gained him considerable attention in his native Zimbabwe and in his new home of Cape Town. Coming to South Africa in 2006 because of the unfavourable conditions there for an artist trying to make his way, he settled in Pringle Bay in 2008 where he has since worked in the restaurant though ownership has changed several times.
The Chadoka Art Studio is his own, while the I Love Screen Printing studio in Cape Town he works at with a number of other artisans. So far he spends alternate weeks on either side of False Bay, but as of March he plans to move back full time to his own studio, selling his wares at the weekly Pringle Bay market on a Saturday.
In Cape Town he has garnered interest form markets, boutiques and bike shops alike and his Young Forever T-shirt brand will soon be available online, as well, with a photo shoot planned in March this year. Visiting his studio, it is obvious the labour of love that goes into both his business and his art work. He is optimistic but very humble. Takura – like the majority of artists – has not yet achieved the recognition he might deserve… but for now he is content simply doing his thing.