Graffiti is an inherently dangerous expression of art for every one of its practitioners. But shit is jus’ a lil realer for South African writers. “It’s more grimy and raw than a lot of other scenes,” says Faith47. She’s not establishing street cred – the slums of Nairobi and Kibera are far scarier places than most, if not all, North American or European urban environments.

What’s more, “It’s not easy to rack paint,” she says, “it’s just not an option to go to jail here, so the hustle for paint is real.”


Faith47’s introduction to graf came from Wealz 130. “He opened up the world of graffiti to me,” she says, “and it spiraled from there.” Wealz 130’s crew, YMB, Young Mobile Bombers, were integral to the young Cape Town graffiti scene, “with white and colored writers meeting up despite their geographical and social differences.”

For Faith47, graffiti isn’t just art, it’s an exploration of media, society, and the interaction between the two. “[Graffiti] is taking back spaces, stigmas, thoughts, learned behaviour and recreating them to be your own.”

Graff has also introduced her to a fascinating blend of people and places. “Every wall is not just a photo,” she says. “It’s a whole story in itself. You go to places you would not usually explore: alleyways, tracksides, ghettos, dirty roads, broken-down buildings…”


Her experiences have been as colorfuls as her pieces: “Finding an old lady in a tiny little room covered in black soot – in the middle of nowhere – with all her skin dirty from the soot – the walls, mattress, everything. Pitch-black dirty,” says Faith. She has traveled halfway across the world on her own, painting in crazy spots with writers “you feel you’ve known forever, but you’ve actually just met.”

In Langa, Faith was painting across a freeway, standing amongst human filth – literally. “Shit, people washing water, garbage, sheep skulls, razor blades, all the things of doom – and having children play right next to you with bare feet!” she says.


Once, while painting in a ghetto, Faith was rolled up on by an outraged rich, white guy in a fancy car. “He had seen me painting from the freeway and wanted to get me arrested,” says Faith. While he called the police, the neighborhood residents were telling him to go away; they liked what she was doing. When the cops arrived, “the guy laid it on think – he had photos of my work, and they must arrest me – even that my car had no license,” she says. “When he left, the cops told me that I could carry on, and apologized for his behavior.”

“[South Africa] is a complex place with extreme contrasts,” says Faith47. “Ignorance, hardships, hustle, luxury, affluence, violence, strong creativity…” And Faith47 is proof that graf persists in all environments, no matter how strange, dangerous or unique.

Rick Kang

Latest posts by Rick Kang (see all)


  1. believe that! this writer and her crew are non-stop! as an old skool writer
    i have been watching her go from strength to strength in a very dangerous
    place to paint, as she said: going to jail here is not an option, she’s hustling her craft on a design level,business level and on the gallery scene but can still run ther line with the bombers if she feels like. big up! mad respekt!

    cape town city be the craziest!
    d.form the neon don – Tykoon Suit

  2. good to see that local writers are getting exposed and not just in graf mags! you should do a article on the handstylers of south africa ask faith about toe007 disk ekon 2kil optone myza naid etc?!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>