A Place of Mirrors

Written by Boitumelo Mazibuko.

Serendipity had been my word for the year of 2017 and as the universe would have it, once you speak things into existence, it answers in ways that you may have not anticipated but it’s always in a manner to educate you about some matters of our existence.

So somewhere in the spring of 2017, Mariapaola (Managing Director of the Coloured Cube) and I were driving back to the office from my apartment and as usual she mazes meticulously through Jeppestown’s labyrinth and has me catching my breath a few times. This time however, we seemingly got “lost” when we took a left turn too early. As mentioned above the universe is faithful to deliver a pleasant surprise when you least expect it, especially when you’ve had a ‘dry spell’ at being creative.

Before I go further let me define serendipity: the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way. So yes, taking a sharp corner into a street that had mirrors lined across the pavement, was exactly that.
I was way too excited by the fact that I can now buy myself a full length mirror after all the struggles in the mornings when putting an outfit together. Mariapaola quickly nudges me to notice the house that had been reflected like a kaleidoscope through the mirrors. This yard was completely covered in paint. Like a giant painting had descended onto this yard and unified all the shacks into a beautiful artwork that happened to be a home for its residents.

Reckson (55), in his efforts to make the yard look neat and unified, didn’t realise that he had begun a beautiful master piece that has a few tourists from Europe coming to Africa just to capture the attraction site in Jeppestown. He’s been living there since June 1999 and lives there with his wife, Joyce (45) and their children.

Here are some of the images I had the privilege to take.

Reckson's collection of mirrors 3 Reckson's collection of mirrors photo 4

Reckson working on a mirror Mirror wall signage Mirror and Glass signage

Above is where Reckson makes his trade. He cuts mirrors into different shapes and sizes, and then displayed for people to buy. This is just outside his front yard; one can even see his house reflected by the mirrors.

Photograph Mirror Reckson working on a mirror

Some of his clients request that he frames the mirrors and turn them into picture frames with family photographs on backside.

First House inside Reckson's yard Second House inside Reckson's yard Third House around Reckson's yard Fourth House around Reckson's yard

These are images of the outside and the inside of Reckson’s yard. He has fellow residents that have occupied the small rooms and all of them have been painted with different colours and patterns; even the objects closest to the homes were not left out. Tires, shopping trolley, benches have also been turned into works of art.

Hanging artistic bottle Reckson made action figure Reckson made enamel cup Reckson decorated fan Reckson made figurines

Here are some of the interesting objects found in and around the yard. They too have been given a splash of colour.

Reckson Painted Door 1 Reckson Painted Door 2Reckson Painted Door 3 Reckson Painted Door 4

Each resident’s door is given an individualised creative feel that’s different from their neighbour’s door.

Reckson made recycled pot plants Reckson made recycled pot plants Reckson made recycled pot plantsReckson made recycled elephants

There are even some up cycled materials for some vegetation to grow in them.

Reckson art inspired mirrors Reckson art inspired mirrors Reckson art inspired mirrors

And since his trade is that of mirrors, it is a beautiful treat to bump into a few mirrors that have some paint on them and reflect back what’s in and around the yard. A truly magical place of mirrors.

And as mentioned before, Reckson lives with his wife who is a traditional herbalist and he has found ways of integrating colour and creativity into her space. He has even hung around her room some of the objects that she uses during her healing rituals or objects that hold some powers of protection against evil.

Reckson's wife in her sacred place Close-up of Joyce's beads on her hand

Herbalist signage Pangolin husk Hanging animal hyde

What I really loved about Reckson’s home were two sculptural head busts of him and his wife hidden in one of the rooms in his yard. These busts actually look outside of the yard from the inside, as though they are placing a watchful eye over their property. It also gives off a very romantic feeling to their union. They stand together in matrimony, looking over what they have built together since having moved in there in 1999.

Close-up of Reckson's bust Behind Reckson and his wife's bust Close-up Reckson's wife bust

Within the same room in which these head busts reside, are photographs that Reckson has framed of himself and of his family.

Mirror mixed with photograph frame 1 Mirror mixed with photograph frame 2 Mirror mixed with photograph frame 4 Mirror mixed with photograph frame 4

What I have learned from this experience, especially when it comes to creativity, is that you create from your passion and not from social conventions. It is about using your skills to beautify what is all around you, and appreciating what you have and making the most of it. It is about contributing a little bit of ‘wonder’ into this world for others to get lost into and find inspiration.

So if you are ever around the Jeppestown area, I challenge you to either walk, cycle or have a short drive around the area and maybe you may have a serendipitous moment of your own. Or even come across Reckson’s creative and colourful Place of mirrors.


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