VISI Issue 123 is HERE!

VISI Issue 123 Cover

Welcome to Ed’s Letter improv. The premise: Take three elements from this issue of VISI, and weave them into a mildly amusing personal anecdote. Disa Park, gifts and Star Wars… and go.

Okay… so when my mother and I first moved to Cape Town in the late ’70s, she rented an apartment in the city’s much-maligned but equally loved towers, Disa Park. Much-maligned because, situated at the foot of Devil’s Peak, this misplaced triumvirate has loomed over the City Bowl for more than five decades; but also loved – back then for its modern design, and today for its retro-cool cred.

While it’s the latter that appeals to me now, in the summer of 1977 it was the tennis and squash courts,
the huge swimming pool, and the covered concrete parking levels with spiralled car access that made for brilliant skateboarding. Basically, Disa Park was the perfect playground for an eight-year- old boy who, until then, had been living in a basement flat in Benoni.

The great gift I got that first Christmas in Cape Town was a big white polystyrene surfboard taller than my person… and I adored it. The very next day, with the board’s nose peeking out of the back window of Janine’s tiny yellow Fiat 124, we headed off to Camps Bay to embark on what would surely be the start of a career in surfing.

Unfortunately, the combination of my blind excitement and her overprotective sensibilities meant that I paddled a little too far out for my mother’s liking. She panicked, running up and down the beach, yelling for me to come back in. Humiliated, my surfboard and I were driven straight back home to Disa Park, where she promptly sawed the board in half with a bread knife. She figured that if it was only half the size, I would only be able to paddle out half as far.

A few days later, as compensation for what she now realised was a rather rash act, Janine took me to see the new movie showing at the Gardens Centre (yes, GC had a movie theatre back then). It was called Star Wars, and to this day it remains my favourite movie in the whole world. When I turned 35, I bought myself a proper surfboard, and learnt to surf.

You can read architect Robert Silke’s fascinating story of Disa Park on page 140, peruse our fabulously eclectic gift guide on page 128, and find out more about a couple of Star Wars-inspired Koreans on page 164.

– Steve Smith, Editor |

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