On our way to the Bushfire Festival last month, my friends and I spent the night on South Africa’s Wild Frontier. This is the name given by the South African tourist industry to the corner of Mpumalanga province that borders Swaziland, Mozambique, and Kruger National Park. The landscape does indeed have a wildness about it.
The scenic Wild Frontier.
I’ve been in Jozi for nearly two years, during which time I’ve photographed the city skyline from countless different perspectives. (See some examples here, here, and here.) I’m afraid the 2Summers audience may start to tire of my Jozi skyline posts.
I’ll hope you’ll hang in there for one more though. This weekend I was lucky enough to take photos from another spectacular vantage point.
The 24th floor of the Parktonian Hotel, on the border of Braamfontein and Parktown. Continue Reading
I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record. But this city has an unbelievable number of striking vantage points. Yesterday I visited another one and I think it was the best view I’ve seen yet.
I was on a drive around town with a few members of the Joburg Photowalkers. This wasn’t a photowalk; it was a scouting expedition for a photowalk planned for later this week. I’ll explain about that in a future post. But for the purposes of this post, all you need to know is that we drove to the top of a big hill in Yeoville yesterday and parked on Highlands St., across from an apartment block called Westminister Mansions. We got out of the car and saw this: Continue Reading
Yesterday I joined the Joburg Photowalkers on an architectural tour of two towns on the outskirts of Johannesburg: Benoni and Springs.
Benoni and Springs — east of Joburg in an area called ‘the East Rand’ — are to Joburg what Frederick and Manassas are to Washington D.C., or what Hackensack is to New York City. They are small towns outside of big towns — places where people tend to live out of necessity, convenience, or habit, rather than for the culture or nightlife. In America we call these towns the outer suburbs, or more simply, the ‘burbs.
Due to the influx of gold-mining money in the East Rand during the 1930s, Benoni and Springs boast an unusually large number of art-deco-style buildings. Art deco was the main focus of this tour, and the buildings we visited were beautiful and interesting. But I was just as interested in the glimpses I got of what life is like in small-town South Africa. Continue Reading
January 23 was the first day of the Chinese New Year. 2012 is the Year of the Dragon.
I had never celebrated the Chinese New Year before. But it seems to be a big deal in South Africa and I’m all about new beginnings these days. So I decided to attend my first-ever Chinese New Year celebration at the Nan Hua Buddhist Temple in Bronkhorstspriut, a small town about an hour northeast of Joburg.
The Nan Hua Buddhist Temple in Bronkhorstspruit. I dare you to say that three-times-fast.
I’ve been blogging for quite a while now. I admit it gets tiresome at times. A year ago, I would rush home after doing pretty much anything and blog about it immediately. But 170 posts later, that blogging thrill doesn’t come as easily as it used to. It takes something special to get me excited to blog.
Something like Wednesday night.
Nelson Mandela Bridge at night, shot from the Queen Elizabeth Bridge.
This post was supposed to be about a photowalk. Most of you know that I’m part of the Joburg Photowalkers; last Saturday we did a walk around St. John’s College, the oldest prep school in Jozi. It’s a beautiful campus — very Dead Poets Society. It was a lovely place to explore and I enjoyed it.
The courtyard at St. John’s. It was a Saturday, unfortunately, so there were no cute high school boys walking around in jackets and ties.
As I edited through my pictures of St. John’s, I realized this post should be about something else. Or rather someone else. This post is about Joe. Continue Reading
My apologies for the recent dearth of 2Summers reading material. I’ve neglected my online personality of late — real life has interfered. I’m trying to get back on the blogging wagon.
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I’ve been meaning to write a post about Sophiatown for months. It’s a Jozi suburb just a mile or two from Melville. Sophiatown appears mundane — like any other middle class neighborhood. But beneath the surface it’s an extraordinary place.
A typical Sophiatown house, although atypical in that it has no fence or wall around it. A fence-less, un-walled house is a highly unusual sight in Joburg.
Last weekend I took a stroll around Sophiatown courtesy of Past Experiences, a local company that specializes in Jozi walking tours, and the Sophiatown Cultural and Heritage Centre. Continue Reading
When I was eight years old, my dad took me to see the movie Gandhi. I suppose Dad thought it would be an educational experience. Unfortunately I don’t remember anything about the movie except that it was long (there was an intermission!), Gandhi always seemed to be dying, and the bloody riot scenes made me cry.
Before I moved to Joburg, I didn’t know that Gandhi once lived in South Africa. In fact, he lived here for 20 years. Gandhi’s passive resistance movement wasn’t born in India, but across the ocean in South Africa. Continue Reading
I’ve just returned from a glorious week of traveling around the Western Cape. I was completely off the grid for much of the trip, with no cell phone coverage or email access. I must say, it was rather enjoyable. But I’m happy to be back in sunny Jozi, just in time for peak jacaranda season.
I haven’t even unpacked or sorted through the dozens of unread messages in my inbox. So I’m not ready to delve into the real meat of my journey just yet. Before I do that, here are some shots of Cape Town’s beautiful Bo-Kaap neighborhood, where I stayed for a couple of days before venturing out into the wilderness.
A colorful street scene in Bo-Kaap.