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melville

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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A Must-Have Item for Every Garden in Johannesburg

Do you live in Johannesburg? Do you have a garden, or know someone who does? Do you have R400 to spend? If so, then you need this: Hadeda tire planter from Yada Yada in Melville. If you don’t live in Joburg and don’t know what a hadeda is, read here. But these hadedas are not easily transportable, so unless you already live in Joburg (or at least in South Africa) then you probably can’t have one. If you do live in Joburg, then make your way to Melville’s 7th Street and buy a hadeda. They’re made of recycled materials, they have a built-in irrigation system, and they can double as large hand-bags. Ray photobombs Hadeda. Ray carried Hadeda as a handbag for a while after we bought her. Hadeda in another position at Yada Yada. We did a whole photoshoot with her.  If you’re not into hadedas (some people aren’t, although I’ve never understood those people) then you can also buy an owl. Best of all, Hadeda looks fabulous in our garden (as I’m sure she would in every South African garden) and she makes me happy every time I look at her, which is at least 50 times a day. The red petunias match Hadeda’s beak.  […]

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Smokey Melville Cat

Recent Events in the Life of the Melville Cat

From the Melville Cat: Dear Readers, Heather often says that you are eager for news about me and wish that I would post more often. I must apologize but, to tell the truth, my life is not terribly eventful. I eat, sleep, and walk laps around the swimming pool. (Cats do not swim.) I am not as young as I once was, and don’t get up to as many adventures as I did in my youth. I have little appetite for murdering birds these days, and prefer to sit quietly in the sun. I no longer fight with the other cats in the neighborhood, as I’ve realized it’s much easier to ignore them. No fighting means no injuries, which means no imprisonment inside the blasted Cone of Shame. This is good, both for me and my humans. My fighting days are in the past. I prefer not to risk my extraordinary good looks. I also learned a valuable lesson last year when I briefly absconded — Heather insists I “ran away” although I maintain that I was just on holiday — from my Melville domain. The holiday didn’t work out as I planned, and it was far more trouble than it was worth. It was nice to see […]

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My Favorite Corner in Melville

A few months ago, the corner of 7th Street and 3rd Avenue in Melville was a depressing place. One side housed a tired-looking sushi restaurant that no one seemed to go to and the other side housed the boarded-up remains of a bar called the Dollar Table. Looking south on 7th Street from the corner of 3rd Avenue. I would often walk past that corner and bemoan the state of things, especially the abandoned Dollar Table. (If you live in Melville then you probably know the recent history of the Dollar Table. If not, believe me when I say that the Dollar Table was a horrible place and everyone in Melville was happy when it shut down. But the boarded up remains were a depressing reminder of what used to be.) Such a prominent space on 7th Street, totally wasted. But I’m pleased to report that the corner of 7th and 3rd has received a makeover and is now my favorite place to go in Melville. Turkish Shawarma & Grill, the newest addition to Melville’s 7th Street. Turkish Shawarma & Grill, which is now in the space where the sad sushi restaurant used to be, is owned by the same people […]

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