WORDS Sam Woulidge PHOTOS Micky Hoyle PRODUCTION Sumien Brink
There is an intensity about Juditha Sakinofsky. But also a lightness. She is grounded but also appears likely to take flight. She has things to show and stories to tell. Her 55 m2 one-bedroom apartment reflects all this.
A small apartment above a coffee shop in one of the oldest buildings in De Waterkant is home to an extraordinary woman. Well travelled, knowledgeable, enthusiastic and unpretentious. A woman who is at home and has been at home anywhere in the world.
Having returned to South Africa two years ago after spending many years living and working in Toronto and New York, Juditha Sakinofsky has settled in this space. If she could ever really settle.
“This is a sanctuary or a hideout,” Juditha says. “I’d hate for it to be a place of memories. Because it’s not. It’s a place of life.”
This colourful yet tranquil slightly overcrowded art-and book-and-fabric-and-antique and-the all-manner-of-beautiful things-filled home reflects a life being lived well.
“A life full of adventure,” Juditha says. “I am terrified of heights, but I’m constantly living on the edge. Everything in this place was once packed up in a box, albeit a big box – a shipping container – and taken to Toronto and later New York. And then it all returned home, back to Cape Town. A full circle. But now that circle has become an infinity loop. Because I’m constantly coming and going.”
A nomad needs a place to come home to. To breathe in before heading out again. This is that space. A very personal space.
“The table, bookcases and chairs belonged to my mother, and when I was 21 they became mine. A couple of years later I took another piece, the armoire. It wasn’t about monetary value. It was about all the things inside of it that were part of our lives. My brothers’. Our extended families’. The smell is still there. I like that there is an awkwardness about one of the drawers; it gets stuck. But I know how to fix it. I’ve known how to fix it since I was a little girl. And here I am at 61 doing exactly the same thing I was doing then.”
“Some of the antiques have cracks because they have been taken across the world from one climate to a completely different climate. In North America there is indoor heating and the air is dry, so there are these cracks. But these cracks are earned. And now that this armoire is back in South Africa I see that the cracks are filling up, because the air is kinder to the furniture.”
She could be talking about more than just the furniture. Juditha’s art collection is worthy of compliments. “Art sounds so fancy,” she says. “These are just pictures on the wall. But of course they have value. They are of value to my heart. They make me happy.”
And so it is that this small space becomes a home – because it is filled with the things of the heart.