If you’re new to this blog series and don’t know what’s happening with South Africa’s 21-day (now 35-day) lockdown, my first post has all the details. Or read all my lockdown posts. It’s Day 25 of lockdown. I bring you yet another garden flower. “Monday” is a very uncreative post name but it’s all I can come up with. I feel more down than usual, because it’s Monday but also because I’m finding it hard not to dwell on the fact that there is no end in sight to this situation. I won’t bore you with the intricacies of my anxiety and fear — I’m sure it’s much the same as yours. But it’s fucking difficult. I made brownies today, which was fun, but they didn’t turn out right because there was something wrong with the butter I bought. This makes me very annoyed. I usually never do this but I’m going to take the second butter block I bought (which also smells weird) back to the shop tomorrow and complain. Wasting (expensive) butter is just too sad right now. In other news, I came across this old picture of of myself while working on my never-ending photo archiving project. Jon shot […]
Yesterday morning I watched the Bank of Lisbon Building, a 31-storey tower in downtown Joburg, fold inward on itself and collapse to the ground in a cloud of dust. I photographed the implosion from just under three blocks away, on the eighth floor of Corner House — one of Joburg’s oldest and most iconic buildings — while peering through the porthole-shaped window of a turret with a giant jacuzzi tub in it. Before I get to the exciting demolition pictures, let me back up a bit. The Sad Story of the Bank of Lisbon Building The Bank of Lisbon was built in 1967 in a Late Modernist/Brutalist style of architecture. Based on the name, I assume the building once housed the offices of a bank from Lisbon. Most recently it was home to three Gauteng provincial government offices. In September 2018, amidst tenant complaints about potential safety issues in the building, the Bank of Lisbon caught fire on the 23rd floor. The blaze burned for three days before the fire department managed to extinguish it (water supply issues reportedly hindered efforts to put out the fire), and three Joburg firefighters lost their lives. The building’s shell remained standing after the […]
Nothing beats watching the sunset from a Joburg rooftop. Looking down at the crazy evening traffic from the roof of 120 End Street. On Sunday evening, Mark Straw from the Joburg Photowalkers organized a rooftop mission for all of the photographers who contributed their pictures to the recent #JoziWalks weekend. We drove together to 120 End Street, a 26-story residential building in the middle of the CBD, and spent the evening taking pictures there. 120 End Street (center) shot a few months ago from the roof of August House. I’ve always been curious about the view from the top of this building. On the roof at 120 End. Another Take on the Joburg Skyline I’ve said this a million times before, but Joburg’s skyline is its best asset and I never get sick of looking at it from various angles and heights. Every rooftop provides its own unique interpretation of the city. 120 End Street has a particularly interesting view of Hillbrow and the most chaotic section of the city centre, between Ellis Park and the Noord Street taxi rank. Someone on Instagram asked me which street is in the middle of this frame. I’m pretty sure it’s De Villiers […]
In February 2012 I went on a tour of Art Deco architecture in the East Rand, organized by the Joburg Photowalkers. I have fond memories of that tour — I loved getting to know this far-flung part of Joburg that I had never visited before. The East Rand was quirky and weird and I liked it. (Read my post about the 2012 tour.) When I saw the Joburg Photowalkers were doing another East Rand Art Deco tour last weekend, I signed up immediately. I brought my friend Ruth, a relative newcomer to Joburg who hadn’t been to the East Rand before. The East Rand, now officially called Ekurhuleni, is the municipality east of the City of Joburg. There are several small towns on the East Rand — Benoni and Springs are the most prominent — which were prosperous gold-mining towns in the early- and mid-20th century. During the 1920s and 30s, these towns produced an inordinate number of Art-Deco-style buildings. Like many small towns around the world, the East Rand’s towns have declined over the last several decades. Most of the beautiful Art Deco buildings are still there, and many of them are nicely preserved. But many of the buildings have decayed significantly. In some […]
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.
I’ve been in Jozi for nearly two years, during which time I’ve photographed the city skyline from countless different perspectives. (See some examples here, here, and here.) I’m afraid the 2Summers audience may start to tire of my Jozi skyline posts. I’ll hope you’ll hang in there for one more though. This weekend I was lucky enough to take photos from another spectacular vantage point. The 24th floor of the Parktonian Hotel, on the border of Braamfontein and Parktown.
Part 1 of a 2-part (or maybe 3-part) series on why I love boxing. Read Part 2. Also, watch a short video about George’s gym. I’ve been meaning to write about boxing since I started this blog. Boxing has played a huge role in my life over the past two years and I’ve been waiting for just the right time to talk about it. Now, I’ve left it too long. I have too much to say about boxing to fit into a single post. I’ll start at the beginning.
I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record. But this city has an unbelievable number of striking vantage points. Yesterday I visited another one and I think it was the best view I’ve seen yet. I was on a drive around town with a few members of the Joburg Photowalkers. This wasn’t a photowalk; it was a scouting expedition for a photowalk planned for later this week. I’ll explain about that in a future post. But for the purposes of this post, all you need to know is that we drove to the top of a big hill in Yeoville yesterday and parked on Highlands St., across from an apartment block called Westminister Mansions. We got out of the car and saw this:
Yesterday I joined the Joburg Photowalkers on an architectural tour of two towns on the outskirts of Johannesburg: Benoni and Springs. Benoni and Springs — east of Joburg in an area called ‘the East Rand’ — are to Joburg what Frederick and Manassas are to Washington D.C., or what Hackensack is to New York City. They are small towns outside of big towns — places where people tend to live out of necessity, convenience, or habit, rather than for the culture or nightlife. In America we call these towns the outer suburbs, or more simply, the ‘burbs. Due to the influx of gold-mining money in the East Rand during the 1930s, Benoni and Springs boast an unusually large number of art-deco-style buildings. Art deco was the main focus of this tour, and the buildings we visited were beautiful and interesting. But I was just as interested in the glimpses I got of what life is like in small-town South Africa.
I’ve been blogging for quite a while now. I admit it gets tiresome at times. A year ago, I would rush home after doing pretty much anything and blog about it immediately. But 170 posts later, that blogging thrill doesn’t come as easily as it used to. It takes something special to get me excited to blog. Something like Wednesday night. Nelson Mandela Bridge at night, shot from the Queen Elizabeth Bridge.
This post was supposed to be about a photowalk. Most of you know that I’m part of the Joburg Photowalkers; last Saturday we did a walk around St. John’s College, the oldest prep school in Jozi. It’s a beautiful campus — very Dead Poets Society. It was a lovely place to explore and I enjoyed it. The courtyard at St. John’s. It was a Saturday, unfortunately, so there were no cute high school boys walking around in jackets and ties. As I edited through my pictures of St. John’s, I realized this post should be about something else. Or rather someone else. This post is about Joe.