I don’t go to Joburg’s northern suburbs often. To be honest, the northern suburbs — Sandton, Bryanston, Morningside, Fourways, etc. — remind me too much of the bland American suburbs that I fled to Africa to escape. (No offense to those who live there. That life just isn’t for me anymore.) But for some time I’ve wanted to visit the Bryanston Organic & Natural Market, billed as “Joburg’s original outdoor market”. I love farmers markets, and have yet to find one in Joburg that meets the high standards I developed while living in Washington D.C. I finally went to the […]
My friend Michelle was in town today on a nine-hour layover, and I took her on a whirlwind sight-seeing tour of Joburg. On our way to the Neighbourgoods Market in Braamfontein we came across a Volkswagen Beetle parked on Juta Street. The car was covered in vintage clothes. Lungi’s mobile vintage shop. The car belongs to a young woman named Lungi, and her husband, Allah. Lungi (who seems to be the main spokesperson for the business) said they wanted to open a stall inside the market but the costs are too high. So they decided to set up shop on the […]
Welcome to 2Summers blog post #200! Thanks for reading. ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ New books are expensive in South Africa. Walk into an average retail bookstore and an average paperback will set you back R150-R200 ($20-$26). Hardbacks and new releases cost much more. So when I heard that Friends of Johannesburg Public Libraries was putting on a huge sale of used books at the Mark’s Park Sports Club, just around the corner from Melville, I decided to check it out. The book sale began this morning at 9:00 […]
Last weekend I went to Montecasino. I went there to see a play: Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, which I enjoyed. I also went because I wanted to experience Montecasino, described on its website as follows: “Known for being Gauteng’s number one entertainment destination, having being (sic) voted Best Casino, Best Entertainment Complex, Best Cinema Complex and Best place to take out-of-towners.” (Note to the Montecasino marketing team: You should work on your website. It sucks.) Having lived in Joburg for a year and a half, I feel remiss in not visiting or writing about Montecasino until now. For better or worse, it’s a […]
This post is co-authored by the Melville Cat and 2Summers. Hi everyone, it’s Smokey here. I’ve been meaning to introduce you to a special person in my life: Ms. M. The lovely and mysterious Ms. M. Ms. M used to be my human, before I decided to move into the Lucky 5 Star with Heather. Ms. M is a very special lady. I visit her often, as she lives around the corner from Heather. And who knows…If I tire of living with Heather, I might make Ms. M my human again someday. I am His Lordship, the Melville Cat, and […]
I’ve never been a big shopper, and my inclination to shop has dropped even lower since I left the United States. But I do enjoy one type of shopping in Africa: craft-shopping. Especially craft-shopping in Swaziland. Beautifully back-lit penguin and owl candles, for sale at Swazi Candles. Swaziland is a really great place to shop for crafts. Don’t get me wrong — you can get amazing crafts all over this continent. (Check out my posts on the weaving women in Lesotho and the bead guys in Joburg.) But Swaziland is special. There are several unique craft centres there, selling locally […]
Johannesburg is filled with contrasts, contradictions, and colliding worlds. East and west. Rags and riches. Black and white. Life and death. The area around Diagonal Street, a busy commercial district in the Joburg city centre, is a good illustration of worlds colliding. Stand in the middle of Diagonal Street and look up, and you’ll see this: The famous “diamond building” at 11 Diagonal Street. Look down, or rather straight ahead, and you’ll see this: In fancy Joburg neighborhoods, you often see signs that say “No Hawkers”. On Diagonal Street, hawkers get a discount.
I know I said I was going to look forward, not back, from now on. But I lied. There is one more day in 2011 that I want to write about. Two and a half weeks ago I spent an afternoon in Chinatown with the blog girls — Martina, Karen, and Namrata. It was my first visit to Joburg’s ‘new’ Chinatown, which is in a suburb called Cyrildene. (‘New’ Chinatown in Cyrildene is not to be confused with ‘old’ Chinatown in the Joburg city centre. You may remember that I visited the old Chinatown a few months ago.) My friends took […]
Before launching into a post about celebrity-watching, I want to say that my heart goes out to those affected by the unthinkable violence in Norway yesterday, as well as the ongoing famine in East Africa. ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ I’m not very interested in celebrities or celebrity gossip. I don’t read People or watch E! Entertainment Television. I don’t browse Perez Hilton. I wouldn’t recognize a Kardashian if I passed one on the street. And yet yesterday afternoon, I found myself in a swank department store in Melrose Arch, elbowing photographers and trying to get a decent […]
Note: The title of this post refers to an American advertising campaign for beef. I’m no fan of the American beef industry but the slogan fits the post. I recently had coffee in Rosebank (a shopping district just north of Melville) with my blogger friend Jane. After coffee we popped into The Grillhouse — one of the most popular steakhouses in Joburg — to say hello to Jane’s friend David, the Grillhouse’s operations manager. David asked me if I’d ever dined at the Grillhouse. “I’m too poor to eat steak,” I told him. “The closest I’ve come since I moved to Joburg is a hamburger […]
Yeoville, much like Hillbrow and other inner-city suburbs in Jozi, has transformed over the last three decades. Once an artsy, mixed-race (but primarily white) neighborhood, similar to Melville, Yeoville is now a chaotic, pan-African cocktail-shaker. (I almost said “melting pot” but that’s too cliché for words.) Most of Yeoville‘s residential buildings are crumbling and occupied by squatters. The main drag, Raleigh St., is crammed with pedestrians, loiterers, tiny shops, and hole-in-the-wall restaurants serving home-cooked dishes from across the continent. Yeoville is noisy, dirty, colorful, and a little dangerous. In other words, my kind of place.
I still remember my first taste of Indian food — chicken tikka masala from the Bombay Peacock Grill in Columbia, Maryland, sometime in the late 1990s. It was love at first bite. Years later, my passion for Indian cuisine soared when I spent two weeks volunteering in Chennai, India. I got terribly sick halfway through the trip, but an upset stomach couldn’t dampen my enthusiasm for eating curry, briyani, and chapati at every opportunity. I hit the jackpot when I moved to South Africa. There are well over a million ethnic Indians here; Indian food, clothing, and culture pervade society. […]