My recent tour of Ponte City, hosted by Mainstreetwalks and Dlala Nje, included a Saturday-afternoon stroll in Hillbrow. I go to Hillbrow at least a couple of times a week for boxing training but I don’t walk around the neighborhood with my camera very often, especially not on weekends when the streets are most busy. So I was excited for this opportunity. Art deco apartment block in Hillbrow.
Ponte City is a mythical place. Ponte City, the tallest residential building in Africa. Ponte City is the most visually striking structure in Johannesburg, and its history is as fascinating as its appearance. Ponte has 54 floors and hundreds of flats. A few decades ago it was a trendy middle-class apartment building. Later it became the city’s largest brothel and dope den, ruled by gangs, thugs, pimps, and dealers.
I published my first blog post on 26 June 2010, six weeks before I moved to Joburg. I didn’t have a plan for 2Summers back then. Almost no one read my blog. I didn’t publicize it or put photos in it. I didn’t read other blogs so I had nothing to model mine after. I didn’t even know what my blog would be about. I did know, however, that I was embarking on an extraordinary journey. I figured I should write about it. And here I am, 28 months, 300 posts, and a few lifetimes later. I could be profound and write […]
On Sunday afternoon, Anita and I went to the Ansteys Building — a crumbling art deco high-rise in the Joburg central business district (CBD) — for an event called Claim Your City. Instagram of the Ansteys Building. I went to Ansteys once before; you can learn about it in my old post. (Side note: This photo was selected to be in an exhibition associated with I ART JOBURG, opening Thursday. Here are the details if you want to come.)
After my last post, the Joburg Expat informed me that Heritage Day in South Africa is also “National Braai Day”. I can’t believe I didn’t make this connection sooner, as this is my third Heritage Day in South Africa. Anyway, I like this concept; it reminds me of Memorial Day back home. (Dear Americans: Braai means barbeque in South Africa.) I (unknowingly) celebrated Braai Day on a walkabout through the historic neighborhood of Kensington with the Joburg Photowalkers. I’ve done many photowalks over the last couple of years (browse my photowalk posts here), but haven’t participated in one for a […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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.