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jozi top fives

My 500th Blog Post: 5 Things I Love and Hate about Joburg

1) What I love about Joburg: The people This is a cliché and it flies in the face of Condé Nast‘s ludicrous pronouncement (ludicrous, I tell you!) that Johannesburg is the world’s unfriendliest city. But as a whole, people in Joburg are nicer, funnier, more creative, more genuine, and more interesting than people in any other place. Raymond, a street vendor in Newtown. 1) What I hate about Joburg: The traffic Traffic in Joburg sucks. And it’s dangerous. In fact Joburg’s traffic is far more life-threatening than its crime. Overlooking the traffic on William Nicol Drive in Fourways. If you’ve been there, then you know. 2) What I love about Joburg: The skyline I’ve written about the skyline many times. (See here and here and here.) The Joburg skyline is spectacular. It’s Joburg’s brand, and I love it. A view of the Joburg skyline from a rooftop on Rissik Street. 2) What I hate about Joburg: The poverty Obviously poverty exists all over the world. But in Joburg it’s not unusual to encounter a barefoot street child in rags, kneeling in the center of a busy intersection at 11 o’clock at night. Joburg’s poverty is terrible and it’s not okay. An informal settlement in Alexandra […]

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Jozi Top Fives: Museums and Galleries Edition

This is my 499th blog post, and the third of my celebratory Jozi top five series. Upon arrival in Johannesburg, nearly every first-time visitor (myself included) goes to the Apartheid Museum. Don’t get me wrong — the Apartheid Museum is fantastic and everyone should go. But there are so many other great museums and galleries in Joburg, many of which are unknown even to locals. Here are my five favorites. 1) Wits Art Museum (WAM) Bertha Street and Jorissen Street, Braamfontein The beautiful exterior of the Wits Art Museum (WAM). I wanted to take photos inside but failed to do so because I went on a Tuesday. Oops. WAM is closed on Tuesdays. The Wits Art Museum (WAM), part of Witwatersand University, is 100% focused on African art. I love the clean, modern design of the museum (it’s almost brand-new) and the open layout that allows you to survey everything in a short period of time. I also love the fact that the museum is free, and that it’s close to all the action in Braamfontein and therefore easy to combine with other activities. The exhibitions rotate frequently and are informative without being overwhelming. The current exhibition on the art of African hair is particularly fascinating. It’s […]

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Jozi Top Fives: The Best Parks in Town

In the second installment of my “top five” series, I present my five favorite parks in Joburg. An editor once asked me to review a description of Joburg for an expat website. The description said something like, “It’s difficult to spend time outdoors in Johannesburg because there are no safe parks in the city.” I nearly laughed aloud when I read this, as it’s such complete nonsense. There are so many lovely parks in Joburg that I struggled to narrow my choices to five. All of the parks listed here are safe in my opinion, as long as you don’t go alone or at night. 1) Sandton Field and Study Centre Corner of Louise Ave. and 14th Street, Parkmore A swimming dog at the Sandton Field and Study Centre. I don’t think the trees are indigenous but I love them anyway. I first visited the Sandton Field and Study Centre while researching for the SandtonPlaces book. Sorry for the cliché but the Field and Study Centre is Sandton’s best-kept secret. It’s just minutes from downtown Sandton and yet it feels so relaxing and rural. The Braamfontein Spruit runs right through the park, its grassy banks lined with huge trees. The Field […]

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Jozi Top Fives: Cheap Eats Edition

I’m about to hit a big blogging milestone: 500 posts in less than five years. 2Summers is also approaching 500,000 lifetime hits. To celebrate these occasions, I’m planning a series of “top five” posts about my favorite things in Joburg. Hence, herewith are my top five cheap eats restaurants in Joburg. Some of these are places I’ve written about before and others are new to the blog. You can comfortably eat lunch or dinner at all of these restaurants for less than R65 ($6.00), including a drink. Disclaimer: These are my five favorites but there are many other fantastic cheap restaurants in Joburg. If there are other places you’d like to suggest, feel free to add them in the comments section below or tag me on Twitter or Instagram. 1) Shayona 74 Church Street, Mayfair -Open for lunch and dinner  Shayona samoosas. Shayona is an Indian vegetarian restaurant run by the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), an organisation that is part of the Swaminarayan sect of Hinduism. There is no meat served at Shayona, nor is there any onion or garlic; eating onion and garlic goes against the Swaminarayans’ spiritual practice. Shocking as this may sound, Shayona’s meat-free/garlic-free/onion-free curry is some […]

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