Gadget you couldn’t live without? A Blackwing pencil, 2B, semi-blunted and sharpened about 46%. I read once that John Steinbeck used to edit his novels with them, and I also learned that Toni Morrison used to edit The New York Times with a soft pencil on her way to work. I maintain that the cheap pencil is the most revolutionary tool of the 20th century after the toothbrush.
Coffee or tea? Always tea — the British empire was on to something there.
What do you love most about London? Everybody reads. In London we have this idea of a second education — we spend so much time sitting on buses, tubes, trains, and planes that you normally fill that time with reading. For about six years I spent around three hours a day commuting, mostly reading. If you tally that time it could equate to a free degree if you use your time right. You can’t do that in Southern Africa because of car culture.
What do you miss most about home? Incredible food and small-town friendliness. The British empire really did badly in this department.
Listening to? Recently a lot of early Bob Dylan; Japanese city-pop disco breaks from the ’80s; some Sigur Rós and I just got into Australian drill. Listen to that all and be amazed.
Artist you’ve got your eye on? Arthur Jafa is God — I’ve been following his work for the past four years. I’d recommend watching his interview for ShowStudio gallery. I’ve probably watched it about 40 times over this year alone, and I still learn something new every time I watch it.
Book, album, and luxury item you’d take to a desert island? My $1 beat-up copy of The Catcher In The Rye that I bought at Strand Books in New York. A vinyl of Hugh Masekela’s album Home. My 6.2 Teardrop surfboard from Vudu Surf in Cape Town, because you never know when the waves will be firing.
Series you’re bingeing? We just finished an incredible Korean drama called Extracurricular. I can’t describe it — just go watch it on Netflix. Astounding.
WATCH | Extracurricular trailer:
Are you a collector of anything? I collect culture on my tongue, mostly. In physical forms it is old cameras, books, and art.
What makes you happiest? Asking questions that no one else thinks are important.
Dream dinner-party guests? Arthur Jafa, Zadie Smith, Christopher Hitchens, Bertrand Russell, David Goldblatt, Ernest Cole, Cosmas Desmond, Bob Dylan, Jennifer Kent, Bernadette Devlin, Bertolt Brecht, Sophie Scholl, Slavoj Žižek, Warwick Thornton, Helga Fietz, and the whole of Pussy Riot.
Next on your list of must-have items? A pair of Weejuns loafers because I don’t have a smart casual shoe and a pair of Red Wing boots because I’m tired of my feet getting wet in the snow.
Something that recently caught your attention? The video clip of a seven-year-old girl crying at a BLM rally in Seattle after she’d been exposed to tear gas. That really was the truest indication of how much work we have yet to do as humans, and disabuses many conservative apologists and liberal over-optimists.
Your favourite city in the world? Kyoto in Japan. One of the oldest cities, and quietest and most beautiful environments that I’ve ever spent time in.
• From the August edition of Wanted, 2020.