Belated Goodbye to Smokey, The Melville Cat

Belated Goodbye to Smokey, The Melville Cat

Smokey, a.k.a. The Melville Cat, died more than three months ago on October 7th. Smokey himself delivered the news of his passing in a blog post the next day, and I intended to write my own tribute to him soon afterward. But for some reason I kept putting it off. One...

Blogging Through the Second Wave

Blogging Through the Second Wave

It's Monday, January 11th, 2021. It's dark and rainy in Joburg and the holidays are officially over. South Africa is suffering through a second wave of covid-19 -- worse than the first wave, as many experts predicted, and likely to worsen further as millions of South...

Sunrise Over 2021

Sunrise Over 2021

NOTE: I originally wrote this post before January 6th, when pro-Trump insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol and mounted the biggest threat to American democracy since the Civil War. I'm having a hard time feeling quite so positive today, on January 7th, but this...

Wonderboom, 2.0!

Wonderboom, 2.0!

Happy Boxing Day, everyone. It's the height of summer in South Africa and Christmas trees (at least real ones) aren't really a thing here. But in recognition of the holiday spirit I am writing a post about a different kind of tree, which is festive in its own way: The...

Visiting the Voortrekker Monument on the Day of Reconciliation

Visiting the Voortrekker Monument on the Day of Reconciliation

Two days ago, on December 16th, I went with Thorsten of Dagwood sandwich fame to visit the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria. The Voortrekker Monument. I've been thinking hard over the past 48 hours about how to frame this post. The Voortrekker Monument is...

Quickie Restaurant Review: Anong Thai in Cyrildene

Quickie Restaurant Review: Anong Thai in Cyrildene

I've hardly blogged about restaurants this year. I don't eat out much these days, and when I do I usually go to places that feel safe and familiar. But a couple of weeks ago I went for lunch at Anong Thai in Cyrildene with my friends Yoko and Ang. I had never been to...

A December Quarantine Story

A December Quarantine Story

This week -- the second week of December -- is the busiest week of the year on the South African social calendar. It's normally the week when people in Joburg wrap up everything at work or school, celebrate at year-end parties and braais (barbecues), then pack their...

A Green and Blue Wonderland at Walkersons

A Green and Blue Wonderland at Walkersons

After many months in isolation, I've noticed my five senses have heightened significantly. The world is louder and brighter than it was before the pandemic. Flowers smell sweeter and food tastes better, especially when I'm out of the city (or even just out of my own...

Walking Downtown Joburg With Gerald

Walking Downtown Joburg With Gerald

I recently spent a Friday walking around downtown Joburg with Gerald Garner. Gerald needed a few photos taken for his new book, Johannesburg 2020 and Ahead. So we walked the city from end to end -- nearly nine kilometers total, with a couple of Uber rides mixed in --...

A Post About Dagwoods

A Post About Dagwoods

A few weeks ago, I met a guy named Thorsten and he asked me, kind of out of the blue, if I'd ever blogged about Dagwoods. "No I haven't," I said. "But I definitely should." This conversation set into motion a sequence of events, which ultimately led me on a Dagwood...

Wandering Lenasia with the Purple Pimpernel

Wandering Lenasia with the Purple Pimpernel

Last Wednesday I headed down the M1 highway with my pink-haired friend Gail Wilson and my purple-clad friend Faarooq Gardee-Minty Mangera, a.k.a. the Purple Pimpernel. Our destination was Lenasia, a historically Indian township 30 minutes south of central Joburg....

An Organic, Vegan Exploration of Joburg

An Organic, Vegan Exploration of Joburg

Last weekend I was invited to attend Honest Travel's inaugural "Organic Vegan Experience" tour in downtown Joburg. We met in the afternoon at the Windybrow Theatre in Hillbrow and meandered around town until nightfall, visiting various urban gardens and greenhouses....

A Corner Shop Exhibition in Brixton

A Corner Shop Exhibition in Brixton

For more than half a century, the Hong family ran a corner shop at 166 Caroline Street in Brixton, one of Joburg's oldest residential suburbs. Immigrant-owned corner shops, much like spaza shops, are an iconic part of South African history and culture. 166 Caroline...

Heather Mason

I’m an American writer/blogger/photographer living a quirky life in Johannesburg. Follow along as I explore Johannesburg, South Africa, and the rest of the world.

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