Jozi CBD: Above and Below

On Sunday afternoon, Anita and I went to the Ansteys Building — an 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.) 

Same shot, different camera.

The Claim Your City event wasn’t what I expected. I had envisioned a big market on the Ansteys rooftop, with lots of food, local crafts, and a sweeping view of the city at sunset.

Instead we found a small gathering of beer-sipping hipsters and gaggle of children on the 4th-floor terrace of Ansteys, with two small craft tables and music that was too loud to scream over.

Trendy and aesthetically pleasing. But slightly boring.

At least the kids were having fun.

We were a little disappointed in Claim Your City at first. But once we settled in and adjusted our expectations, it became a great outing. The fourth floor of Ansteys is a good place to take in the Sunday afternoon/evening vibes of the CBD.

As we gazed out at the city, Anita observed that the CBD at street level is strikingly different from the CBD a few floors up. Standing on the corner of Jeppe and Joubert Streets on our way to Ansteys, we experienced dirt, honking horns, hordes of people, and a mildly unpleasant pee smell. We didn’t think to look up because we had to keep our wits about us. But once we got to the Ansteys 4th floor, the view was actually quite clean and orderly. Almost tranquil.

Joubert Street above: Two men smoking quietly on the balcony of what looks to be a nicely renovated building.

Joubert Street below: Crazy taxi fight. Fortunately no one was hurt, although things got very dicey for a few minutes.

Photography was a bit more challenging from the 4th floor than it would have been from up on the roof. But in the end, I walked away with an interesting set of photos.

Hipsters chilling. Pigeons flying.

Observer.

Long shadows.

Glimpse of the Parktonian Hotel in Braamfontein, another great place for sunset photography.

Sunset.

Instagram sunset.

In addition to the great photo ops, Anita and I made some fun new friends. All in all, a fantastic evening.

Brilliant full moon over the city.

Some people say that Jozi isn’t pretty. I say that’s crazy talk. This city is beautiful. You just have to look at it from every angle.

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4 Comments

  • Reply miadidthis October 30, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    Yay! Beautiful Jozi. Sometimes even ugly-beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply 2summers October 30, 2012 at 3:37 pm

      My pleasure. Thanks for reading.

  • Reply Derek Smith October 30, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    Ansteys have a loooong way to go – I was there last year when Umuzi Photoclub had an exhibition there. Parking is a major problem – the surrounds are dicey and I haven’t been back since. I believe there are some beautiful restored apartments in this old dame but somehow I can’t imagine living there. As much as I love exploring the inner city and it’s rejuvenation I’ll leave Ansteys for the hipsters as a hang out.

    • Reply 2summers October 30, 2012 at 3:54 pm

      I went to a party there last year and saw a couple of the renovated places — they are beautiful. But you’re right, it’s a bit dicey down below. Living there would be a challenge. I’d like to go back and explore more of the building though. There is a lot of interesting stuff on the lower floors — a gym, a spa, several creches, a circumcision clinic…You can do everything there 🙂

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