Yesterday I held my first #2SummersBlogClass, with nine fabulous bloggers/aspiring bloggers, at Bridge Books in downtown Joburg. It was one of the best Saturdays I’ve had in a while.

Yes, I gave my blog class a hashtag. I’ve become one of those people.

Blog class and meMy blog class and me, in front of the beautiful Faith47 graffiti mural just off Gandhi Square.

The First #2SummersBlogClass

We spent the day in the Bridge Books meeting room at 87 Commissioner Street, talking about why to start a blog, tips on creating a strong, readable blog, how to promote a blog on social media, and how to shoot great photos for a blog. We took a photowalk around the CBD, visiting one of downtown Joburg’s best rooftop apartments, meeting people in shops and on the street, and exploring historic landmarks.

Merishia on Apprentice Penthouse balconyMerishia shoots the city from the Apprentice Penthouse balcony, owned by Urban Ocean, on Albertina Sisulu Street.

View through the window in the Apprentice Penthouse bathroomView of downtown Joburg through the porthole-shaped window in the Apprentice Penthouse bathroom.

Nombini Christine Fashion Design shopWe wandered into a shop called Nombini Christine Fashion Design at the corner of Harrison Street and Albertina Sisulu. We had to do some negotiation to gain permission to take photographs, which was good practice for my class. I can’t believe I’ve never noticed this shop before — the clothes are spectacular. Ms. Nombini was there, holding court in the middle of the shop and consulting with a number of eager clients. These ladies were trying on their bridesmaids dresses for an upcoming wedding — note the little girl peaking out from underneath the dress hems.

Taxi driver portraitA friendly taxi driver who asked to be photographed while sitting at a traffic light.

Gandhi SquareThe statue of Gandhi in Gandhi Square — one of my favorite statues in Joburg.

We strolled over to One Eloff Street, a short walk from Bridge Books, and had lunch at Joziburg Lane. Joziburg Lane was holding a weekend festival, providing the perfect excuse for a tasty off-site lunch. We took photos of our food and discussed the important of hashtags. We also enjoyed exploring the One Eloff development and discovered some hidden spots.

Drinks at Joziburg LaneDelicious cordials, which we used to wash down deli sandwiches and cheese platters from the Joziburg Lane deli. The deli is now open permanently, Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00-5:00, so give it a try if you find yourself in town for lunch. (Disclaimer: Our lunch at Joziburg Lane was complimentary. Negotiating complimentary lunches is another important blogger skill.)

Awkward selfie at One EloffWe walked up to the top floor of One Eloff and found this secret little area next to the parking garage. We decided it was a good spot for an awkward group selfie.

We then returned to Bridge Books for some one-on-one time and further discussion of what makes a good blog. The day ended with a fantastic poetry reading, wine, and book-shopping.

Thandokuhle Mngqibisa poet and physicianPoet and physician Thandokuhle Mngqibisa (what a surname — four consonants in a row!) reads some of her stunning and bad-ass poetry. Thando brought tears to my eyes, and I wasn’t the only one.

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I couldn’t leave without a new book and neither could Ntokozo. As I’ve said before, the books at Bridge are really affordable. If you haven’t gone to check it out yet, please do. 

I was really nervous about yesterday’s class. I’ve never taught a blogging class — or any class, for that matter — and I was terrified about everything that could go wrong. But the class went better than I could have imagined. I really think everyone (including me) learned a lot and had a lot of fun.

Above all else, I discovered yesterday that I love teaching people about blogging. Starting a blog was a transformative experience for me, and I see blogging as an immensely powerful communication medium and an art form. I want to help other people discover the power of this medium and use it to change their lives.

Blog class jumstagramThanks to my wonderful first group of students: Tamara, Kim, Roslyn, Kate, Merishia, Ntokozo, Josef, and Lesley. You guys are the best.

If you were interested in yesterday’s #2SummersBlogClass but couldn’t make it, don’t worry. There will be more. If you haven’t subscribed to my blog already, please do (there’s a link in top-right corner of this page) so that you don’t miss any updates.

Thanks again to Bridge Books, Urban Ocean, and Joziburg Lane for making yesterday awesome.

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