One of the cool things about living in Joburg is that people are always passing through. It’s difficult to travel from one place to another in Southern Africa without stopping here along the way.

This week, Joe and I were lucky enough to host not one, but two special pass-throughs.

This rainbow passed through Melville just our first pass-through arrived.

Our first visitor was Joe’s brother, who I’m going to call Jim. (Note: Jim is not his real name. Jim didn’t ask for a pseudonym, but since Joe goes by a fake name I think it’s only natural that Jim should too.) Jim was on his way from his home in Gaborone, Botswana, to KwaZulu-Natal Province. His son goes to boarding school in KwaZulu-Natal and Jim is taking him back home for the Christmas holidays.

I was excited for Jim’s visit because I had never met any of Joe’s relatives before. Jim was only with us for about 12 hours but we made the most of it. Jim brought me flowers (nice move, Jim), and Joe and I gave Jim an FBI beer koozie from DC. By the way, I was surprised to learn that beer koozies do not exist in Africa. Jim had never seen one before. If you aren’t American and don’t know what a beer koozie is, learn more here.

Joe and Jim. Can you see the resemblance?

We had a nice dinner with Jim and saw him off very early the next morning. (The early morning departure was a bit painful after our late dinner the night before. Jim, I’m sorry we made you late.) It was great to spend some time with Joe’s brother and learn a little more about their family. And now I’m excited to visit Botswana, as Jim has promised to give me a special #1 Ladies Detective Agency tour of Gaborone.

A couple of hours later, our next pass-through arrived.

My good friend Bob, former DC colleague and cubicle neighbor, was flying home from a trip to Lesotho and Swaziland and decided to spend 36 hours in Melville on his way. He stayed up the street at Die Agterplaas Bed & Breakfast, where my friend Evan stayed when he came to town a couple of months ago.

Breakfast at Die Agterplaas (which means The Backyard in Afrikaans). I love this place and it has become my go-to recommendation for Melville visitors. Eating breakfast there is like eating breakfast at my grandmother’s house, just way cooler.

Joe and I took Bob to all of our favorite places. We had dinner at the Lucky Bean, walked on the Melville Koppies, and bought souvenirs for Bob’s nieces and nephews from Silas the bead guy.

Bob, King of the World, on the koppies.

I’m really not sure what we were doing here. (Photo courtesy of Joe.)

Bob visits Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton. This was not one of the highlights of his visit — Bob described Nelson Mandela Square as “Shirlington, with a statue of Nelson Mandela” (private joke for those of you in DC). I think it’s a funny picture. (Photo courtesy of Joe.)

Ostrich bobotie springrolls from the Lucky Bean. Joe and I named this photo “A Taste of Africa” because of the shape. (Photo courtesy of Joe.)

We also made a new discovery on 7th Street – a coffee house/restaurant/book store called the Love Revolution. It has a very cool anti-establishment vibe, as well as excellent coffee (a rarity in Joburg), free Wi-Fi, and a make-your-own sandwich menu. Bob was in heaven and Joe and I will definitely become regulars here.

Love the Love Revolution.

Bob’s visit, although far too brief, was a nice awakening for me. For the first time since moving to Joburg I felt like a tour guide rather than a tourist.

The true test of my tour-guide prowess will come next month, when my Mom is coming for 10 days. That visit should provide lots of quality blogging material. Don’t miss it!

Note: Love & Revolution has closed since the writing of this post.


  1. Tilly Bud

    I was surprised to read that there are no beer koozies in Africa! When I lived in SA in the Eighties and Nineties, we definitely had them. I wonder where they all went?

    I’m enjoying your blog. I am a Brit who lived there during and after Apartheid so your perspective on how it is now is fascinating.

    • 2summers

      Hmm. Maybe I need to do more research on the beer koozie thing. Joe and Jim had never heard of them so I just assumed they don’t exist here (as Joe and Jim have drunk a lot of beer in their lives). I’ll investigate. Thanks for reading!

  2. Stephanie

    Heather, your arm looks freakishly big in that photo with Bob. I just had to say that!

    • 2summers

      Hahahaha. Glad I still got it 🙂

    • 2summers

      No, but I’ve driven past the House of Fire many times and need to go one of these days. I think Joe has been.

      I’ve also driven past the Odd Cafe many times and been curious about it. Will go soon!


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