Two human-sized plastic beverage bottles share the garage roof with a boat, a large windmill attached to a chemical drum, and a vintage moped driven by a Michael Jackson-lookalike manikin that Tony and his wife Orlinda have named after their son who lives in London. At sunset the front and rear lights of the moped and the line of large blue spheres edging the roof all light up. The yellow walls and the friezes around the property are illuminated too, and spotlights focus on a mural of a Madeiran coastal village with a colour scheme that might have been the inspiration for Tony’s house.
In the nondescript working class suburb of Turffontein, which has always hosted migrants, a restless outsider artist is at work transforming his home into a veritable castle of lights, turrets, murals, manikins and stairways. He is an obsessive collector of ‘waste’, but also an entrepreneur whose property is home to 17 rent-paying households. Writer and urban planner Tanya Zack and photographer Mark Lewis dig up another story of a remarkable citizen of the city who has spent most of his life transforming a 500 square metre patch of urban soil.