An Ode to Melville

I meet a lot of people around Jozi these days.

When I meet a new person, the first question he/she normally asks is, “What brought you to Joburg?” I dread this question because it takes so long for me to answer.

The second question is usually, “Where do you live in Joburg?” I like this question better because the answer is easy: Melville. When I tell people I live in Melville, I get many responses along these lines:

“Ahhh. Melville used to be nice. Like Greenside or Parkhurst. But it’s gone downhill.”

“Oh! Melville is kind of sketchy, isn’t it?”

I’ve been thinking that I need to address this issue. I won’t delve deeply right now because I don’t have time to write a long post. For now, I just want to say that Melville is awesome.

I’ve lived in Melville for less than two years. It is nearly impossible for me to walk up 7th Street — any time of day, any day of the week — and not run into at least three people I know. Not only people I know, but people I actually want to stop and chat with. Because generally, people in Melville are unpretentious and cool. I’ve never felt this way about any other place where I’ve lived.

Melville has an old lady who walks the streets selling corn from a shopping trolley. Melville has guys who go from house to house collecting garden refuse on the back of their horse-drawn cart. Melville has countless restaurants and coffee shops with free wireless internet, a priceless commodity in this city. (I’m sitting in one now.) Melville has a nature reserve with million-year-old rocks and one of the best views in town.

In Melville, every house is different from every other house. Every person is different from every other person. Melville has white and black people, rich and poor people, old and young people, gay and straight people. Melville has quirky hippy people, conservative business people, and stylish hipster people.

Guess what else? According to my own experience and estimation, Melville is safe.

Melville at sunset. This whole post is really just an excuse to use this photo.

More to come on Melville in the near future.

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  • Reply catherine April 4, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    absolutely beautiful sky, once again! enjoy the weekend and take care,
    PS how is the Melville cat these days?

    • Reply 2summers April 4, 2012 at 3:54 pm

      Thanks Catherine. The Melville Cat is good! He’s been laying low lately but I’m sure he’ll post again soon. Maybe he’ll give some of his own opinions on Melville.

  • Reply Sine April 4, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Great! Will use that in my “where to live in Joburg” post.

    • Reply 2summers April 4, 2012 at 3:53 pm

      Thanks Sine. Your email last week was one of the things that actually got Martina and I talking about this!

  • Reply Gail Scott McDonnell Wilson April 4, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Agree Melville is a wonderful place, don’t live there but frequent the chartity shops often and have the odd cup of coffee here and there.

    • Reply 2summers April 4, 2012 at 3:55 pm

      Thanks Gail! Hope to see you around someday.

  • Reply Sazi April 4, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    Great post Heather. Was there just the other day at Cafe Mexico having margiritas and tequila! Melville is so underrated!!

    • Reply 2summers April 4, 2012 at 3:51 pm

      Totally. I decided it was time to set the record straight.

  • Reply Derek Smith April 4, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    I raced home from the office on Monday to capture this sunset from the koppie on the Westdene side. Unfortunately THE MOMENT of the rays painting the sky through the clouds was gone by the time I got there. Still have some pix in my camera and will look tonight if there’s anything worth saving. You shot a great image!

    • Reply 2summers April 4, 2012 at 3:52 pm

      Thanks Derek. I got so lucky. I just happened to have my camera with me and happened to come outside and see it at exactly the right moment. It was gone 30 seconds later.

  • Reply Howlin' Mad Heather April 4, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Wow! That sunset is just so beautiful. Cool post as always and a nice slice of Jozi life.

    • Reply 2summers April 4, 2012 at 4:59 pm

      Thanks Heather, glad you liked it.

  • Reply Charles Visser (Chuckv) April 4, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Great pic again and a solid and much needed post.

    • Reply 2summers April 4, 2012 at 4:58 pm

      Thanks Chuck! I knew you would be pleased.

  • Reply Jaco Roets April 4, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    We loooove Melville! We realize more and more through our househunting expeditions that this might be the place for us.

    • Reply 2summers April 4, 2012 at 4:56 pm

      Yes! Move to Melville! We need more people like you here.

  • Reply Annelie April 4, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    I so agree on how awesome it is living in Melville. I have been here for 6 years. It is a caring community full of lots of very interesting people; people who love people!

    • Reply 2summers April 4, 2012 at 4:58 pm

      So true. Thanks for reading, Annelie.

  • Reply Spiral Dreamer (Francis) April 4, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    Like so many little towns do to people, Melville has grown on you and you in Melville. I make us love a place where others see only the wrong side of the fence. :)

    • Reply 2summers April 4, 2012 at 7:11 pm

      Indeed. That’s one of the great things about Melville. It’s like a small town, yet it’s inside a city!

      Thanks Francis, I hope you’re doing well :)

  • Reply haslacla April 4, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    Yes, it is a GREAT picture! Good decision. :)

  • Reply Kathryn McCullough April 5, 2012 at 2:24 am

    Melville sounds like my kind of place!

  • Reply sohan April 5, 2012 at 8:35 am

    Really awesome…want a really good post from u guyz regarding where to live in Joburg. I’m coming to Joburg with my wife. Following your blog and getting some good ideas about Joburg. Excellent writings…keep smiling.

    • Reply 2summers April 6, 2012 at 8:13 pm

      Thanks Sohan. Good luck with your move. Where to live all depends on where you’re going to work and your specific preferences and living situation. Send me a message if you’d like more info. Cheers!

  • Reply Eugenia A Parrish April 5, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    “Not only people I know, but people I actually want to stop and chat with.” Oh, that sounds like the best kind of place! So hard to find nowadays, even in “small town” America. Beautiful pic.

    • Reply 2summers April 6, 2012 at 8:14 pm

      Thanks! And so true. This is the first time I’ve ever found it.

  • Reply Rediscovering South Africa: Art on Main in Jozi « Travelling Tonito's Adventures November 27, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    […] from being brilliant hosts, took us around various areas of Johannesburg, from the CBD to Melville (2Summers, your posts made Raquel curious!), just so we had an idea of what this city had to […]

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