When Woodstock resident Zacharia Haroun walks around the area, a trail of people usually follow him, carefully listening to every piece of information he has about the street art scene.
Originally from Maitland, where he lived for nearly 17 years, Zacharia moved into Woodstock two years ago and started developing a passion for the street art scene, as Woodstock was slowly becoming one of Cape Town’s hot spots among street artists.
Zacharia, 19, is now one of Juma Art Tours’ youngest tour guides roaming the streets of Woodstock.
Specialising in street art, he shows tourists every piece of artwork in the area, telling the tales behind each piece.
“Street art makes communities look beautiful and it’s very special, also encouraging kids in the community to take part in art and also keeping them busy and away from the wrong crowd and it inspires and gives hope,” he said.
Zacharia attended Oude Molen High School in Pinelands but left in Grade 10 after being given an opportunity to study electrical engineering at the College of Cape Town. He is still completing his studies.
Zacharia might initially come across as being soft-spoken and shy but his knowledge of street art is priceless and it’s clearly evident that he is passionate about the art form.
“Street art keeps me hooked because there are so many strong social messages including the conservation of the beauty of SA , especially our endangered safari animals, and also the diversity of cultures, of religion and race that we have in Woodstock and I feel personally that Woodstock as a community has learnt over the years to live and accept each other’s differences,” Zacharia said.
Apart from being a tour guide, he loves spending time with family as well as enjoying the odd football game.
Zacharia said the street art scene is popular with tourists from all over the world visiting Woodstock to see what’s on offer.
He said Woodstock boasts a variety of pieces, each carrying different stories. Some were created by international artists who decided to display their work in the area.
“Being a tour guide is probably one of the best experiences that I have ever had, simply because you meet all these new people from all over the world. It’s like a never-ending journey. Every single day you learn something new and you also inspire others to work hard and strive to do your best,” Zacharia said.
One of his big dreams is to travel abroad and explore the world, but he has another priority too: “To continue to make my parents proud of me and contribute towards the community to the best of my ability.”