I recently decided to get out of town for a few days to work on a writing project. I wanted to stay somewhere inexpensive, relatively close to Joburg, and conducive to thinking and writing. I pulled up Tripadvisor and and started browsing B&Bs around Magaliesburg. One click led to another and I found myself on the listing for Willinga Lodge, a small B&B in Kosmos on Hartbeespoort Dam. Willinga’s website didn’t blow me away but there were some nice Tripadvisor reviews and something prompted me to call. After 90 seconds on the phone with Ingrid, Willinga’s owner, I knew I’d be staying there. Willinga’s full name is “Bali at Willinga Lodge”. Ingrid and Will, who are from the Netherlands but have lived in South Africa for decades, visited Bali several years ago and loved it so much that they decided to redecorate their lodge in a Balinese style. A Balinese B&B, run by a Dutch couple, on Hartbeespoort Dam in South Africa…Sounds weird, right? Just trust me though. It works. A Buddha outside the main house at Willinga Lodge. View of Hartbeespoort Dam from my breakfast table at Willinga. Willinga Lodge’s incredible Balinese roof, which was designed and built in Bali and then shipped to South […]
Downtown Joburg enthusiasts are buzzing about the Sheds @1Fox. This is one of those quintessentially Jozi projects that make me love living in this city. In short: There is a complex of cavernous, historic warehouses where Fox Street dead-ends on the western edge of the city. These warehouses were formerly part of Anglo American and are now owned by the Johannesburg Land Company. Until recently, the buildings were slated to be torn down to make way for an office building. But a group of Jozi-lovers, including Gerald Garner of JoburgPlaces and Jan and Jay Roode of Happy.Me, are now working with the Johannesburg Land Company to develop the warehouses into an innovative “food, wine and lifestyle emporium”. The Sheds @1Fox are scheduled to open during the Joburg City Festival in October 2014. The buildings are currently empty except for some piles of rubbish, crude graffiti, and lots (and lots) of pigeon poop. Construction will start any day now. This week I got a behind-the-scenes look at what will soon become the Sheds @1Fox. I took about 1,000 pictures, knowing this was my last chance to photograph the place before everything changes. I suspect that the before-and-after comparison will be dramatic. In the meantime, here is the “before”: Gerald outside one of the warehouses. […]
The Hillbrow Tower was neutered last month. The giant sphere that floated atop the Hillbrow Tower (aka Telkom Tower) for the last four years — painted first like a soccer ball (for the 2010 World Cup) and later like a hot pink dot (an ad for Telkom’s 8•ta mobile phone service) — came down in September. A before-and-after Hillbrow Tower Instagram. Telkom is phasing out 8•ta as a brand, replacing it with Telkom Mobile. This is at least one of the reasons why Telkom removed the ball.
So here I am, back in America. I landed at Dulles Airport yesterday morning. I’m really happy to be back in Washington D.C. — much happier than I expected to be. I’d forgotten how much I like it here. I’m staying with my friends Bob and Tim in their lovely apartment in Shaw. I didn’t know much about Shaw, which is in the Northwest quadrant of D.C. near Howard University, before this trip. It’s a beautiful part of town with an interesting history. Hopefully I’ll tell you more about it in a future post but at the moment I’m too tired. Last night we had dinner at a Mexican restaurant nearby. (Again, I’ll definitely have more to say about that in a future post.) I snapped a few pictures of the neighborhood during our walk back home.
Tall buildings dominate the Joburg skyline. I visit and write about the city’s tallest buildings all the time — the Carlton Center, Ponte City, and the Hillbrow Tower are some of my favorites. I love looking at the city from the tops of tall buildings. This Instagram was taken from the roof of the Lister Building, near Joubert Park. However, Joburg has some lovely little buildings too. The Turret, on the corner of Marshall and Loveday Streets, is my favorite little building in town.
My recent tour of Ponte City, hosted by Mainstreetwalks and Dlala Nje, included a Saturday-afternoon stroll in Hillbrow. I go to Hillbrow at least a couple of times a week for boxing training but I don’t walk around the neighborhood with my camera very often, especially not on weekends when the streets are most busy. So I was excited for this opportunity. Art deco apartment block in Hillbrow.
Ponte City is a mythical place. Ponte City, the tallest residential building in Africa. Ponte City is the most visually striking structure in Johannesburg, and its history is as fascinating as its appearance. Ponte has 54 floors and hundreds of flats. A few decades ago it was a trendy middle-class apartment building. Later it became the city’s largest brothel and dope den, ruled by gangs, thugs, pimps, and dealers.
I published my first blog post on 26 June 2010, six weeks before I moved to Joburg. I didn’t have a plan for 2Summers back then. Almost no one read my blog. I didn’t publicize it or put photos in it. I didn’t read other blogs so I had nothing to model mine after. I didn’t even know what my blog would be about. I did know, however, that I was embarking on an extraordinary journey. I figured I should write about it. And here I am, 28 months, 300 posts, and a few lifetimes later. I could be profound and write deep, meaningful reflections and ruminations on this milestone. But that would be sort of lame. Instead I will show you a series of photos of my two favorite Johannesburg landmarks: Hillbrow Tower (also known as the Telkom Tower) and Ponte City.
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.)
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.