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 while. It was great to hang out with the old gang, meet some new photowalkers, and cruise the streets of a lovely Jozi neighborhood.
Photowalkers tour the grounds of Jeppe Boys High School in Kensington.
We spent much of the morning touring Jeppe High School for Boys, the oldest public high school in Joburg. I was feeling a bit “schooled out”, having visited two other historic boys’ schools — King Edward VI School (KES) and St. John’s — on my garden tour of Houghton the day before. But I enjoyed the Jeppe Boys tour nonetheless, mainly for the company. I got a few nice photos, too.
It’s a really old school, especially by Jozi standards.
Photographing the Jeppe Boys shield in the doorway. It’s a tradition that Jeppe students do not step on the shield — they all walk around it.
Quick aside about South African schools: I learned on my school tour marathon that the term “public school” has a different meaning in South Africa than it does in the United States. Technically Jeppe Boys is a public school because it receives funding from the South African government. But that government funding covers only a small fraction of the school’s operating budget. So even though the school is public and has to deal with all the government bureaucracy attached to being public, the students pay tuition and the atmosphere is decidedly private. KES, one of Jeppe’s main rivals, is the same. I find it confusing.
Like every old boys’ school, Jeppe Boys has lots of portraits of old men.
The Jeppe war memorial. All the old boys schools in Joburg have big WWI/WWII memorials because so many of the schools’ students and teachers died in those wars. This memorial is particularly lovely.
A pile of cricket equipment abandoned in the war memorial.
Stained glass inside a historic house that is now a Jeppe Boys’ dormitory.
The Templeton Family bench. Proud Jeppe Boys since 1939.
After the tour, we set out to climb a big hill near the school that has a Scottish Horse Memorial at the top (whatever that means) and a great view of the city. But a bunch of us wandered off in the wrong direction and never made it to the memorial. Instead, we wandered down a shady residential street and ran into a friendly Kensington native with a cool antique car.
A 1958 Nash Metropolitan. Taken on my iPad with Instagram — the Instagram shot turned out better than the DSLR shot.
There is a mysterious stone castle in Kensington, built in 1911, which no one seemed to know much about. We decided we wanted to see it. We walked uphill for a kilometer or two and found the castle, which looked tantalizingly fascinating from outside the high stone wall. It was locked. No one answered when we knocked. It was very frustrating. We all stood outside and tried various tactics to see inside and get a photo of the castle. No one succeeded. We trudged back down the hill and back to our cars.
Sneaky, Mark Straw. Sneaky.
So the end of the walk was a bit of a bust. But you know, life is like a photowalk. You never know what you’re going to get.
We ended the outing with a braai hosted by Photowalker Richard, who lives in Kensington. I didn’t know at the time that it was National Braai Day. If I had known, I would have taken a photo of the braai. Oh well.
Thanks to the photowalkers for a fun Braai Day experience.