Fashion is not really my thing. I don’t buy many clothes and don’t keep track of what is and isn’t fashionable. Fashion is not something I ever gave much thought to at all. Until I moved to Joburg, that is. Joburg has a wacky, unpretentious, Africanized, anything-goes kind of fashion culture that I love. Park yourself on any downtown Joburg street, on any given Saturday afternoon, and within a few minutes you’ll see a man wearing a bright red suit, giant plastic glasses, and white patent-leather shoes (or some combination thereof). You won’t blink an eye because the man will […]
From the Melville Cat: I really like living on the Lucky 5 Star Commune. There are nice people around here who pet me and tell me I am a beautiful cat. (Of course I know this already but it’s nice to hear it repeated.) I get lots of good cat food and milk, and there is plenty of game-hunting on the property. My most recent hunting success. It’s either a large mouse or a small rat.
I’ve written several times about Joburg’s Oriental Plaza — a giant Indian shopping mall in Fordsburg. “The Plaza”, as locals call it, is one of my favorite spots in town. So when my friend Anita called me up on her birthday and invited me to go to The Plaza to pick up a rabbit fur coat, I dropped everything and complied. I know what you’re thinking: Anita’s birthday, The Plaza, a rabbit fur coat? WTF? Anita, Johnson, and me at The Plaza.
UPDATE: The Cargo Kilts shop in Melville closed in 2013. Sniff. You might remember my post from a couple of weeks ago about the the Fête de la Musique. It featured Cargo Kilts, the new Scottish kilt shop in Melville. In that post I wrote: I know these kilts are made for men but I kind of want one for myself. A few days later I received a message from Sean, the manager of Cargo Kilts: Very kind comments made by you about our new store, but I need to correct you. Kilts are Unisex, AND, we have been known to […]
I’m busy this week and don’t have much time to blog. So I’ll quickly share some quirky photos and omit my usual lengthy commentary. Today’s shots are from Long Street, in the Jozi suburb of Albertville. Long Street is one of the best places in town to shop for furniture — antique, new, and just plain old. Long Street is also great for a dose of Jozi quirkiness. A quirky antique sign outside a quirky antique shop. Note the bullet hole.
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.