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2summers

Sunset in Alexandra Township

A Walk Through Alexandra Township

A couple of weeks ago I took a walk through Alexandra Township, aka Alex, as part of an event sponsored by an Alex-based tourism company called The Hub Presents and a travel networking organization called Travel Massive. I’ve been to Alex many times but I never turn down an opportunity to go back, as I believe Alex deserves more love as a tourist destination. A child runs next to the bank of the Jukskei River, a trickling waterway that runs through Alex. I don’t want to say too much about this walk because I’m definitely going to do a full-length tour with […]

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Cosmopolitan outside in 2014

Joburg’s Cosmopolitan Hotel: Then and Now

The Cosmopolitan Hotel, at the corner of Commissioner and Albrecht Streets, is one of Joburg’s most legendary buildings. Built at the turn of the 20th century, the Cosmopolitan is big and Victorian, its columned, curly-cued cupola looming high above the street. The crumbling facade is strangely magical, like something from a Tim Burton film. The Cosmopolitan, once a prominent gentleman’s club, was in a state of disrepair for decades, its lower-level windows bricked up to prevent trespassing. (Read more about the Cosmopolitan’s history here.) But there have been rumblings of change for a few years, especially since the Maboneng Precinct started sprouting […]

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Victorian wedding dress at Lindfield House

Return to Lindfield, Joburg’s Quirkiest Historic House

I first visited Lindfield House in early 2011, a few months after I moved to Joburg. I blogged about it then, but after visiting for a second time two weeks ago I now realize that my original post was inadequate. I can’t say enough about how amazing this place is, and the Jozi blogosphere needs a reminder. Lindfield House, at 72 Richmond Avenue in Auckland Park. The house was built around 1910, when Auckland Park was still a distant suburb of Johannesburg. Lindfield House is part museum, part tea room, part events venue, part educational facility. It’s also a private home where […]

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Inside Ethiopian church

#TheGodProject: Holy Trinity Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church

For the last year or so, my friend Ang at JOZI.REDISCOVERED and I have been working on a blog collaboration called #TheGodProject. We visit different places of worship around Johannesburg. Ang interviews a spiritual leader (or leaders) at the place of worship, and I take photos. Then we both publish posts on our blog. In this installment of the series, we visited the Holy Trinity Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in Berea, just up the road from Ponte City. I’m not going to say much about the church itself or the history of Orthodox Christianity. Ang will have all that covered […]

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Blog class jumpstagram

#2SummersBlogClass: A Really Good Saturday

Yesterday I held my first #2SummersBlogClass, with nine fabulous bloggers/aspiring bloggers, at Bridge Books in downtown Joburg. It was one of the best Saturdays I’ve had in a while. Yes, I gave my blog class a hashtag. I’ve become one of those people. My blog class and me, in front of the beautiful Faith47 graffiti mural just off Gandhi Square. The First #2SummersBlogClass We spent the day in the Bridge Books meeting room at 87 Commissioner Street, talking about why to start a blog, tips on creating a strong, readable blog, how to promote a blog on social media, and how […]

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Plastic bottles in the iThemba Tower

iThemba Tower: A Recycled Tower of Art in Troyeville

I spent Saturday afternoon on a Jozi art binge, driving from Braamfontein to Maboneng to Troyeville looking at lots and lots of art. I saw tons of amazing stuff. (Side note: Don’t miss the Walter Battiss exhibition at Wits Art Museum — it’s spectacular.) But one particular art installation stood out — quite literally — from the rest: The iThemba Tower at Spaza Gallery in Troyeville. A wide-angle view of the iThemba Tower in the garden of the Spaza Gallery. I’m pretty sure it’s the tallest work of art in Joburg.  A close-up view of the tower, which is made […]

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Nizamiye Mosque minarets

Touring Joburg’s Mosques and Minarets

Joburg’s religious diversity is one of my favorite things about the city. There are so many beautiful churches and mosques and temples, representing every faith imaginable, and while I’m not a religious person I love visiting places of worship. (See the “God Project” series that I’m doing with Jozi Rediscovered. By the way, you can expect a new God Project post very soon.) So when I saw that the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation was offering a “Mosques and Minarets” bus tour, visiting three mosques in different parts of town, I signed up. I usually avoid bus tours, but Joburg is vast and […]

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Heather in tub at Brahman Hills

48 Hours in the Midlands

I recently received an invitation to spend a weekend at Brahman Hills in the Midlands. For those not from South Africa, the Midlands is a region in KwaZulu Natal Province between Durban and the Drakensberg Mountains. The Midlands used to be mostly farmland but has now become a popular tourist destination. I accepted the invitation because: 1) I’d seen photos of the self-catering cottages at Brahman Hills and I knew that each one has its own hot tub; and 2) My birthday was coming up and this was a good excuse for a birthday weekend away. The hot tub at Brahman Hills […]

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"Hands up, don't shoot"

How My 72-Year-Old Dad Got Arrested at a Protest Against Police Brutality

On Saturday evening my father, Tenney Mason, was in downtown Baltimore (my home city in the U.S.) attending ArtScape, a local arts festival. A group of #Afromation and #BlackLivesMatter demonstrators walked past, and Dad decided to check it out. He had his camera with him and although he’s mostly retired, Dad spent many decades as a photojournalist and newspaper editor. When he sees a news story, he follows it. This is one of the photos Dad took of the demonstration. It was shot in front of Penn Station, Baltimore’s train station,  which is also right where Artscape was happening. (Photo: […]

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Sultan the Terbodore Great Dane

Pop-Up Travel: Terbodore Coffee Roasters

Last weekend Ray and I took a road trip to the Midlands — a scenic region in South Africa’s KwaZulu Natal Province, between Durban and the Drakensberg Mountains — and stayed at a lovely resort called Brahman Hills near the town of Curry’s Post. I’ll write a full review of the weekend in a future post, but in the meantime I’m doing a quick pop-up travel story about Terbodore Coffee. Ray’s cappuccino from Terbodore in the Midlands — possibly the creamiest and tastiest cappuccino ever. I first discovered Terbodore last year during a brief visit to Franschhoek, where Terbodore has a satellite coffee roastery/coffee […]

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Heather blogging course Facebook

Wanna Be a Blogger? Come to My Course at Bridge Books

I’m not usually one to toot my own horn. But I’m a good blogger. (I’m not usually one to start my blog posts with clichés like “toot my own horn”, either. But I’m trying to be outrageous here.) I’ve got 99 problems. But blogging ain’t one. Anyway. There are many things I don’t know how to do. I can’t bake a soufflé, for instance, and I can’t change the oil in my car. I can’t knit or do back handsprings. But damn, can I blog. Give me a camera, a laptop, and some interesting subject matter and I will blog until the […]

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Fair lawns high tea plate

Quirky High Tea at Fairlawns Boutique Hotel

It is a well known fact that I love high tea, as does the rest of Joburg. I’ve written about it a couple of times before (see here and here), and perhaps it will soon be time for a “Top Five High Teas in Joburg” post. But for now I just want to provide a quick update about an excellent high tea that I enjoyed this week at the Fairlawns Boutique Hotel and Spa. My Fairlawns high tea plate, ready to be devoured. (There were several more plates to follow.) Traditional High Tea at Fairlawns As I’ve said before, I […]

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