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2summers

Story portrait - James

My Favorite Joburg People: James Ike

I recently announced a storytelling project I’m working on called My Favorite Joburg People. I chose four people in Joburg, each of whom has an amazing story to tell, and interviewed them and shot their portraits. I’ll be presenting the stories and portraits at an upcoming event called Translating Joburg – Storytellers, and also publishing them on my blog. This is the second of the four stories. These stories are longer than my normal blog posts. James Ike James on the street near his home in Yeoville, May 2016. I’ve played a lot of sports and I’ve had a lot of coaches. I know what […]

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Michelle De Villiers

My Favorite Joburg People: Michelle de Villiers

I recently announced a storytelling project I’m working on called My Favorite Joburg People. I chose four people in Joburg, each of whom has an amazing story to tell, and interviewed them and shot their portraits. I’ll be presenting the stories and portraits at an upcoming event called Translating Joburg – Storytellers, and also publishing them on my blog. This is the first of the four stories. These stories are longer than my normal blog posts. Michelle de Villiers Michelle at Junkie Charity Shop, May 2016. I met Michelle through a cat. When I first moved to Joburg in 2010, a gray cat […]

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Kids playing at Joziburg Lane

Happy Kids and Paper Flowers at Joziburg Lane

A few weeks ago, I found myself in the middle of a grade R (the South African version of kindergarten) classroom in downtown Joburg, watching kids have fun with paper, glue, paint, and glitter. The kids were assembling and decorating big paper flowers for the nearby Joziburg Lane market at One Eloff Street. The flowers would be used to decorate Joziburg Lane for its opening festival during the last week of May. Cute kids, ready to paint. Birds-eye view of the painting underway. A happy girl with her completed flower. Pauline, a teacher who I believe is also the founder of the Grow Up […]

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Bridge Books from across

Bridge Books: A New Bookshop in Downtown Johannesburg

Remember Griffin, my fellow American Joburger who cruises the streets selling books from a suitcase? Well, he’s not just selling from a suitcase anymore. Griffin now has his own bookshop, Bridge Books, right in the middle of downtown Joburg. I visited the shop last weekend and it’s awesome. Bridge Books on its opening weekend. I love this guy’s shoes. I am so excited about this shop. It’s on one of downtown Joburg’s most iconic streets, Commissioner Street, just around the corner from the Johannesburg Public Library. The shop is located in a beautiful building, 85 Commissioner Street, which used to be the […]

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Imbali outside

Mini Ponte: My New Favorite Joburg Building

Earlier today I found myself standing on Houghton Drive beneath a cylindrical apartment building in Berea, on the outskirts of the Joburg CBD. The Imbali Building, also known as “Mini Ponte” or “Little Ponte”. I took this photo from the side of Houghton Drive, just below Louis Botha Drive, where Mini Ponte is located at the corner of Tudhope Avenue. I’d driven past this building dozens of times, and I knew it was nicknamed “Mini Ponte” for its resemblance to the much larger Ponte City apartment building just to the south. But this was the first time I’d looked at Mini Ponte up close. “I’ve […]

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Florence Ngobeni-Allen

My Favorite Joburg People: A Storytelling Project

I was recently invited to participate in an event called Translating Joburg – Storytellers. Translating Joburg is an ongoing series of networking events focused on navigating and enjoying this city, and each event has a different theme. The theme for this month’s event, happening on 20 June, is storytelling. I’m excited to be part of this because I’ve had some storytelling ideas knocking around in my head for a while. My blog is based around storytelling, but the stories usually just scratch the surface of a particular subject or place. Also, the stories tend to revolve around me and my experiences. I […]

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Makuleke community drama song

Pafuri: A Beautiful Place With an Ugly History, Turned Beautiful Again

Once upon a time, the Makuleke people lived on a triangle-shaped piece of land, bordered by two rivers, at the intersection of three countries. The land was beautiful and fertile, with a huge diversity of animals and the mightiest trees in the world. This triangle was called Pafuri. In 1969, at the height of South Africa’s apartheid, the Makuleke were “removed” from the Pafuri Triangle so the area could be incorporated into the Kruger National Park. Men with guns drove trucks into the Makuleke villages, rounded up the people, and drove them to a barren piece of land a couple of […]

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Elephants in the fever tree forest

The Land of Elephants and Baobabs

The Pafuri Triangle — a piece of wilderness in the very northern corner of South Africa’s Kruger National Park — is a land of giants. The trees are huge. The animals are huge. The beauty of the landscape is beyond comprehension. This elephant looks small in the photo (which, incidentally, was shot from the doorway of my tent at Return Africa’s Pafuri Camp). Trust me though — he’s huge. I spent three days at the Pafuri Camp, run by Return Africa, in the Makuleke Contractual Park. This section of the Kruger has a fascinating history, which I’ll describe in a […]

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Wendy and David sitting on the Melville Koppies

Quick Photoshoot on the Melville Koppies

Last week Wendy Carstens, the chairperson of the Friends of the Melville Koppies, asked me to take a portrait of her and her husband, David, at the top of the Koppies. The portrait is a gift for their daughter’s birthday. I have huge respect for Wendy and the work she does maintaining and promoting the Melville Koppies Nature Reserve, with a small amount of money and a massive amount of determination. So I was honored when she asked me to take the portrait, but also nervous. I don’t do many assignments like this and I was scared of messing it up — that Wendy […]

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View of the Joburg skyline from the roof of Bjala Square in Jeppestown.

A Rainy Instameet in Jeppestown

On Saturday I helped organize an Instameet at a building called Bjala Square in Jeppestown, one of the most historic sections of downtown Johannesburg. It was cold and pouring rain — a rare occurrence in early winter — and I wondered if we should even go through with the Instameet. I’m glad we did. I’d been wanting to do a photo walk through Jeppestown for a while because I think it’s one of the most interesting parts of town. The neighborhood is 120 years old (ancient by Joburg standards) and has lots of historic buildings, but in recent decades Jeppestown has suffered severe neglect […]

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Hells Kitchen lamb burger

Quickie Restaurant Reviews: Hell’s Kitchen and Pablo Eggs-Go-Bar

Up until 18 months ago, the east side of the southernmost block on Melville’s 7th Street (between 1st Avenue and 2nd Avenue) was a merry-go-round of opening and closing restaurants and shops. During the six years that I’ve lived in Melville I remember (just off the top of my head) a combination-cupcake-flower shop, a Scottish kilt shop, a bead shop (which moved around the corner), a pizza place, a bland café, an antique shop, a print supply shop, and a bridal shop (where I never spotted a single bride, or even a customer, in the two-plus years it was there), […]

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Mandela Capture Site-2489

Pop-Up Travel: The Nelson Mandela Capture Site

Earlier this week, I saw a photo of the Nelson Mandela Capture Site on my friend Meruschka’s Instagram feed. Meruschka’s post reminded me that I visited the Nelson Mandela Capture Site nearly a year ago and had yet to blog about it. Hence, my newest Pop-Up Travel post. The Nelson Mandela Capture Site commemorates the time and place in which Nelson Mandela — on the run from the apartheid government — was captured and arrested in 1962. After his arrest in the small town of Howick, in what was then South Africa’s Natal Province, Mandela was convicted of treason and […]

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