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Kids playing at Joziburg Lane

Happy Kids and Paper Flowers at Joziburg Lane

A few weeks ago, I found myself in the middle of a grade R (the South African version of kindergarten) classroom in downtown Joburg, watching kids have fun with paper, glue, paint, and glitter. The kids were assembling and decorating big paper flowers for the nearby Joziburg Lane market at One Eloff Street. The flowers would be used to decorate Joziburg Lane for its opening festival during the last week of May. Cute kids, ready to paint. Birds-eye view of the painting underway. A happy girl with her completed flower. Pauline, a teacher who I believe is also the founder of the Grow Up and Learn School, with her flower. After the madness of the all the flower creation was dying down, I took two Instax pictures of each kid with his/her flower. One picture went home with the child and the other one went to One Eloff. A couple of weeks later, just before the Joziburg Lane Festival, I met the kids at One Eloff to photograph them decorating the Lane. There is nothing cuter than a nearly straight line of tiny children. The little girl on the left is not a student at the Grow Up and Learn School. Her parents were […]

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A Quick Jaunt to Abu Dhabi

In my last post I told you about my whirlwind trip to the United Arab Emirates. I stayed in Dubai for four nights, courtesy of Qualcomm, and spent a few days exploring the area without a smartphone to support the #WorldWithoutSnapdragon/#WorldWithoutSmartphones campaign. (Read more about the campaign here.) We spent half a day in Abu Dhabi, which is the capital of the United Arab Emirates. We mainly went to Abu Dhabi to see the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the largest mosque in the UAE, but we had a couple of other adventures along the way. Our voyage to Abu Dhabi, which is roughly similar to a voyage between Johannesburg and Pretoria, posed the greatest challenge in our WorldWithoutSmartphones. We had initially planned to take the metro to Dubai’s bus station, catch a bus from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, then catch a local taxi to the mosque. But we weren’t able to check the train and bus schedules (no Google, obvi) and we wound up missing the bus to Abu Dhabi while we waited in line to buy our tickets. We were short on time so rather than waiting for the next bus, we hired a cab straight to the mosque and kept the same […]

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Discovering Hidden Dubai, Without a Smartphone

I’ve just returned from a five-day trip to the United Arab Emirates. That sentence has a nice ring to it, don’t you think? Look, it’s Heather on a train in Dubai. I’m not sure how to begin to explain this trip. Let me start from the top. I was invited to the UAE by a company called Qualcomm, to participate in a blogger/Instagrammer campaign promoting Qualcomm’s products. Before this invitation, I knew Qualcomm only as the title sponsor of Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. But it turns out that in addition to sponsoring a football stadium, Qualcomm is one of the oldest and most innovative wireless technology companies in the world. Among many other things, Qualcomm developed the first GPS for mobile phones, it invented airplane mode (for some reason this really impresses me), and it was the first company to develop apps for use in smartphones. For the purposes of this campaign, the most important fact is that Qualcomm produces chipsets: the tiny machines inside smartphones that make smartphones smart. (I dare you to say that five-times-fast.) Qualcomm’s “Snapdragon” chipsets are inside many of the world’s most popular smartphones. If you’re a techie person then you probably understand what I’m talking about. If you’re an […]

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Instax Fun in Jozi

I got a FujiFilm Instax Wide camera recently, as part of a campaign I’m doing with Venus Snap. Using technology made famous by Polaroid way back in the 20th century, Instax cameras shoot pictures that pop right out of the camera and emerge from the photo paper in 90 seconds. The Instax wide camera is particularly cool because it prints pictures twice as wide as the original Instax. The Instax Wide also offers a little more control over its exposure settings. When I ordered the Instax Wide, I had visions of traipsing around town taking fantastic instant photos and portraits of people. Those visions were a bit optimistic, as it turns out; the Instax Wide is finicky and I find it difficult to capture sharp, well framed shots. And at R18 (more than $1) per print, my failed attempts are pricey. Nonetheless, I’m having a lot of fun experimenting with the Instax Wide. I especially enjoy taking Instax pictures of my friends, giving them the pictures, and then taking a picture of them holding their picture, in various configurations. Here are some examples. This is Fiver, holding her Instax portrait along with her newly published book, Looking for Africa. We had so much fun setting […]

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Nine Random Fun Things in Joburg (Featuring Venus)

November is the best month of the year in Joburg. It’s summer and it’s right before Christmas, so the city is buzzing and tons of cool things are happening before everyone clears out in December. After weeks of exhausting travel, I’m back just in time. As I wrote in a previous post, I’m participating in a campaign with Venus that involves shopping and leg-shaving and doing fun things around the city. I’m always up for fun in Joburg, but this assignment is a great motivation for me to recover from my jet-lag and really get out there. Over the last ten days I’ve been all over town, going to fun events and exploring new (and old) places. No, I did not shave my legs in the Oriental Plaza. But the Venus Snap looks nice there. (Photo: Fiver Löcker) Here is my second Venus campaign installment: Nine random fun things I’ve done in Joburg over the last two weeks. I included several Fuji Instax Wide instant photos in my narration — an Instax Wide camera was one of the things I bought on my Venus shopping spree. 1) Night of 1000 Drawings I attended the Night of 1000 Drawings, a charity event in which hundreds of people gather and buy drawings scribbled on small pieces […]

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