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melville

Chapel at Jesuit Institute South Africa

#Gauteng52, Week 45: The Jesuits of Auckland Park

Welcome to Week 45 of my #Gauteng52 challenge, for which I visit and blog about a new place in Gauteng Province every week for 52 straight weeks. This week I visit the Jesuit Institute in Auckland Park. Sitting atop a ridge in Auckland Park is a stately, century-old house occupied by a group of Jesuits. Who knew? I certainly didn’t, but Marie-Lais did. In fact, as #Gauteng52 draws to a close (only seven weeks left!) I need to give Marie-Lais Emond a shout-out. Her encyclopedic knowledge of secret Jozi places has made this series much more interesting than it would have been without her. If you’re not reading Marie-Lais’ weekly “Other Side of the City” column in the Saturday Citizen newspaper, which features my photos, now is a good time to start. (The column doesn’t appear online, unfortunately, so to see it you have to buy the actual paper or follow Marie-Lais on Facebook.) Anyway, Marie-Lais knew about the Jesuit Institute South Africa and the two of us went there to meet Father Russell Pollitt. One of several buildings that comprise the Jesuit Institute South Africa. The institute’s gardens are really spectacular. The Jesuit Institute residence, built as a private home by […]

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Smokey kissing beaded Smokey

From the Melville Cat: I’m a Work of Art

From the Melville Cat: Heather enjoys animal-inspired art. She has a beaded giraffe, for example, as well as a clay porcupine. But until recently she did not have any art inspired by the most important animal in her life: me. I’ve been dropping hints about this omission for years — by sleeping on Heather’s art books and refusing to admire the beaded giraffe despite multiple prompts. Apparently my hints finally worked. Last week Heather came home with this: My beaded likeness. I’ve named him Melville Cat Deux. I didn’t think much of my beaded likeness at first. After all these years of waiting, I suppose I’d lost interest in the idea. Also his front legs are a bit short. Ho hum. But then I took a closer look at Melville Cat Deux and realized his resemblance to me is quite remarkable. We have a similar posture. A man named Shepherd made Melville Cat Deux. Shepherd makes a living creating beaded animals on Melville’s 7th Street. He has sold Heather several beaded animals in the past. Shepherd with Melville Cat Deux. Shepherd has been making beaded animals in Melville for many years — longer than Heather can remember — but he […]

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Pink house in Melville

#Gauteng52, Week 34: The Pink Church With a Blue Door

Welcome to Week 34 of my #Gauteng52 challenge, for which I visit and blog about a new place in Gauteng Province every week for 52 straight weeks. This week I visit the Blue Door Print Studio, inside Melville’s mysterious Pink Church. On the southeastern edge of Melville — technically it’s in Richmond but I consider it Melville — is a mysterious Pink Church with white trim. For a long time it was abandoned, then it briefly became an antique shop although the shop rarely looked open. Some people say the Pink Church is haunted. I’ve driven past the Pink Church about 500 times and was always curious. I never went in. The Pink Church at 24 Chatou Road, Richmond. (But really it’s Melville.) Last month I saw an article in the Northcliff Melville Times titled “Building Transformed into Print Haven”. The article said the Pink Church has become the Blue Door Print Studio. I learned that the building was built in 1904, and it was indeed a Methodist church back in the day. Later on it was a synagogue, which somehow makes the Pink Church even more fascinating. Two days later, I finally went to the Pink Church. The front of the Pink […]

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Abby the Hillbrow Cat in Melville

A Hillbrow Cat Becomes a Melville Cat

Before reading on, I suggest reading Part 1 of Abby the Tiger’s story. Humans call me Abby. But they used to call me Tiger. Abby, formerly Tiger, a well-traveled cat. Some of you may remember me — I’ve told my story here before. I was born in Hillbrow and I used to live in a boxing gym there. Back then, when I was still a young cat, Heather (the human who owns this blog) asked me to write a guest post for her. She thought my life was very interesting, and I suppose she was right. This is me, more than two years ago, when I was a young cat in Hillbrow. The man in the photo is George, my original human. My story has become even more interesting since then. I recently bumped into Heather and she asked me to write an update. I will pick up where I left off. Two years ago (that’s about 10 cat years ago), I was a happy cat in Hillbrow. I slept at the gym and roamed the streets, wherever and whenever I pleased. I was small and fast and vicious and I knew how to take care of myself. I was Tiger, the […]

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The Melville Cat in the lounge

The Melville Cat: I’m a Columnist

The Melville Cat is a published columnist. Please read his column below. I was invited to write an opinion piece for the Melville Residents Association newsletter. This comes as no surprise. I have resided in Melville for a decade and I am the most famous and well-respected feline in the suburb. I am also an experienced blogger. I’ve lived in three Melville residences during my life. In 2011 I resided in two homes at once, unbeknownst to the humans involved. I convinced the humans of each home that I lived in their home only, thus procuring double the food (including chicken treats) and double the stroking of a normal cat. The humans eventually discovered my ruse but it was lovely while it lasted. Since 2012 I have resided exclusively with a human called Heather (2Summers), and later with her human partner Ray. Life in the 2Summers household has been pleasant; I still receive a larger than average amount of stroking and chicken treats. I experienced a hiccup in 2015 when the household moved from one side of Melville to the other, and the humans deceived me into coming along. I was displeased with the move at first, as this new Melville […]

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Table of food at Glory

#Gauteng52, Week 14: Glory in Melville

Welcome to Week 14 of my #Gauteng52 challenge, for which I will visit and blog about a new place in Gauteng Province every week for 52 straight weeks. This week I visit Glory, a quirky new chicken restaurant in Melville. Glory is a restaurant I must write about. First, Glory is in Melville, my home suburb and the best place to live in Johannesburg. I haven’t included a Melville place in my #Gauteng52 series yet, which is a travesty. Second, Glory is super quirky and quirkiness is my thing. Third, Glory is new and everyone loves a new restaurant review. Fourth, Glory’s food is delicious. I’ve been hesitant to write this post because I’m not sure how to describe Glory. This restaurant is, for lack of a better description, kinda strange. It’s not like other restaurants, in ways that are good and bad and neither good nor bad. But mostly good. Glory, just off 7th Street on 3rd Avenue in Melville. It’s a little tricky to find, around the back side of the big white building on that corner. I went to Glory twice — once for lunch on a Sunday afternoon and once for dinner on a Friday night. Food at […]

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Chicken wings starter from Mamasan

Quickie Restaurant Review: Mamasan in Melville

Last week I had lunch at Mamasan, a brand-new restaurant on 7th Street in Melville. (Mamasan is so brand-new that it doesn’t have a website or even a review on Zomato yet. But here is its Zomato page as a placeholder.) It was delicious and I have very high hopes for this joint. My lunch at Mamasan: pan-fried masala hake with cos lettuce, grape, cucumber, gherkin, green bean, apple, cashew nut salsa, and dhania vinaigrette. Such a delightful combination of flavors, all for R90 ($6.39). Mamasan is at the top of 7th Street, near the intersection of 1st Avenue, next to the ancient Golf Tea Room convenience store. Here are the reasons I’m excited about Mamasan:  1) Mamasan serves Cape-Malay-inspired cuisine. (You can read more about Cape Malay cuisine in this post.) I love Cape Malay food and there is very little of it to be found in Joburg. Mamasan’s meat is free-range and the menu is pork-free, for the kosher and halaal diners among you. My friend Sandy ordered the “sticky suur vy chicken wings” appetizer, which she really enjoyed. 2) Mamasan has beautiful, well executed decor and a professional, thoughtful menu. This is not one of those fly-by-night Melville dives that gets […]

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Shepherd and his beaded hoopoe in Melville, the best antidote to the Trumpacolypse

Melville: The Trumpocalypse Antidote

Perhaps it’s the combination of jet lag and grief, but I am not recovering well from Trumpocalypse. I tried to put on a brave face with my gratitude list, but the truth is I’m horrified and I’ve lost a piece of my identity. I often remark upon the fact that when living in South Africa, the first thing everyone notices about me is my American-ness. This has never really bothered me. I’ve always been more or less proud of my country. I’ve been happy to be known as an American in Quirky Johannesburg. But now, suddenly, my relationship with America feels like a relationship with a spouse who I just discovered has been cheating. Who is this country I thought I knew so well? How could you humiliate me like this, America? What did I do wrong? How did I miss the signs that we were growing apart? How could you leave me, and how will I cope without you? Worst of all, what will happen to the millions of other betrayed spouses who are still living with you? What will happen to the entire world? We trusted you, America, and you’ve let us down. Fortunately, I live in Melville. A sign outside Junkie Charity Store, one of my favorite hangouts in […]

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Melville Cat yawning

A Melville Cat Photoshoot

From the Melville Cat: This is a periodic update for my fans, to tell you that I am doing well. It is springtime in Johannesburg, the weather is fine, and I am spending lots of time outside, calling to my feline friends. I especially enjoy calling to my feline friends late at night, just outside the bedroom, with long, dramatic, mournful meows. I think Heather and Ray enjoy my calls as well. Heather conducted a photoshoot with me last week, which I quite enjoyed. Here are my favorite photos from the shoot. That is all that I have to say. Heather asked me to tell you that she is going away for a week and may not have time to blog during her travels. She will update you on her experiences upon her return. In the meantime, I will be at home enjoying extra servings of roast chicken and catnip with Ray. Thank you and good day. Meeoow.

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Michelle De Villiers

My Favorite Joburg People: Michelle de Villiers

I recently announced a storytelling project I’m working on called My Favorite Joburg People. I chose four people in Joburg, each of whom has an amazing story to tell, and interviewed them and shot their portraits. I’ll be presenting the stories and portraits at an upcoming event called Translating Joburg – Storytellers, and also publishing them on my blog. This is the first of the four stories. These stories are longer than my normal blog posts. Michelle de Villiers Michelle at Junkie Charity Shop, May 2016. I met Michelle through a cat. When I first moved to Joburg in 2010, a gray cat started hanging around in my back garden. My neighbor’s cat chased the gray cat mercilessly and I chased him too, trying to rid our garden of the incessant feline fights. But the gray cat kept coming back. My boyfriend Jon and I finally started feeding the gray cat, who we called Squeak. Jon was not a huge cat fan but Squeak won him over. Squeak started sleeping in our house. We took Squeak to the vet and learned that Squeak was a he, not a she, as we originally thought. We began to think of Squeak as ours. One day […]

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Wendy and David sitting on the Melville Koppies

Quick Photoshoot on the Melville Koppies

Last week Wendy Carstens, the chairperson of the Friends of the Melville Koppies, asked me to take a portrait of her and her husband, David, at the top of the Koppies. The portrait is a gift for their daughter’s birthday. I have huge respect for Wendy and the work she does maintaining and promoting the Melville Koppies Nature Reserve, with a small amount of money and a massive amount of determination. So I was honored when she asked me to take the portrait, but also nervous. I don’t do many assignments like this and I was scared of messing it up — that Wendy and David wouldn’t like any of the pictures I took and I would feel like a miserable failure. Luckily that didn’t happen. Wendy and David at the top of Melville Koppies Central, with the northern suburbs and Sandton City behind them. This is the picture they chose. Another option, with Melville in the background. Wendy liked this one too. This one was my favorite but I don’t think they wanted such a close-up shot. Anyway, this is a super-short post. But I thought I’d show off some pictures I’m proud of and remind you that the Melville Koppies is (are? Subject-verb agreement […]

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Quickie Restaurant Reviews: Hell’s Kitchen and Pablo Eggs-Go-Bar

Up until 18 months ago, the east side of the southernmost block on Melville’s 7th Street (between 1st Avenue and 2nd Avenue) was a merry-go-round of opening and closing restaurants and shops. During the six years that I’ve lived in Melville I remember (just off the top of my head) a combination-cupcake-flower shop, a Scottish kilt shop, a bead shop (which moved around the corner), a pizza place, a bland café, an antique shop, a print supply shop, and a bridal shop (where I never spotted a single bride, or even a customer, in the two-plus years it was there), all open and close on that small stretch of street. This is generally the way things roll in Melville. But that half a block has recently become a hotbed of culinary, rock-and-roll trendiness and I have high hopes that the shops and restaurants there now will hang around for a while. I happened to eat at two of the restaurants on that block this week, and thought I’d do quickie reviews of them both. Hell’s Kitchen Hell’s Kitchen was the first new place to move into the merry-go-round block in late 2014, along with Freedom Hair, which I’ve reviewed before. Hell’s Kitchen […]

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