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 […]
One of the most rewarding things about being a blogger in Johannesburg is the feedback I get from Joburg expats and visitors. Over the years I’ve gotten many nice messages from people who used my blog to help orient themselves when visiting or moving to Joburg, and even from people who used my blog to help them decide to move here in the first place. Several of those people have become lifelong friends. Potential Joburg expats frequently ask me about the best ways to connect with new friends and find things to do here. When I moved to Joburg in 2010, I didn’t have access to many resources for meeting people and it took me a while to make friends. I had a South African boyfriend to show me around the city, but except for him I didn’t get to know many people right away. I wasn’t aware of it at the time, but looking back I realize that my first six to nine months in Jozi were pretty lonely. Unfortunately I didn’t know about Internations back then. Internations is a worldwide community for expats, with chapters in cities all over the world and dedicated online portals for each city where […]
From the Melville Cat: Well, this is awkward. It seems that I am missing. I, of course, know exactly where I am. But Heather and Ray do not. I realize this doesn’t make much sense. But there you have it. Have you seen me? I am my own cat. Heather does her best to control my movements but she has always known that her efforts are ultimately futile. I go where I want, when I want. This is, after all, how I came to live with Heather in the first place. At any rate, I cannot tell you where I am myself because that is how I roll. But Heather and Ray are worried about me — they haven’t seen me in more than a week. So if you’ve seen me or have some idea of where I am, maybe you could let Heather know by leaving a comment on this blog or messaging @2summers on Twitter or Instagram. Meow. PS: You can see more photos of me on my own Instagram account. ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ From Heather: Smokey is making light of the situation. […]
From the Melville Cat: Heather asked me to write a blog post this weekend. Apparently my fans have been asking her about my wellbeing. She says they want to hear the full story of our move from my perspective. My initial response was, “What move?” We moved? I had quite forgotten about that. Then I thought some more and yes, I vaguely recall this. I used to live somewhere else, perhaps a month or two ago. I remember now that I was very hesitant to leave that place. I’m not sure why. But I musn’t disappoint my loyal fans. I will recount the moving story to the best of my recollection. The story begins on a Saturday. Heather woke up early but she did not open the window for me to go outside, as she usually does. Instead she loaded me into my crate and carried me to to the doorway of the Lucky 5 Star. Before she carried me out the door, she put my crate down and walked to the other room. I think she was crying. When she returned to the doorway, Heather said, “Kitty, this is the last time we’ll be together in this house.” She seemed very sad. I […]
Dear fans of the Melville Cat, I know that you have been waiting to hear from me, eager to learn how I’m faring in the ordeal I explained to you in my previous post. I apologize for the silence but I’ve had many matters to attend to that are more important than blogging. I’m busy establishing my new domain. I will explain this photo in my next post. Until then, I’ll let you formulate your own theories. Also, I don’t have much time to write because Heather, my typing assistant, is leaving today for a place called Mauritius. How rude. Why she would want to leave my magical new domain so soon is beyond me. But all is not lost. I plan to take advantage of Heather’s absence, cementing my domain and training Ray, my second assistant, to properly meet my needs. He has much to learn. I will also engage in tree-climbing practice. My climbing prowess is strong but I need to hone my technique. Fear not, fans. All is well. Until next time.
Exactly five years ago, on August 6, 2010, I landed in Joburg and moved into a house in Melville. Several weeks before that, when I was still living in Washington, Jon had emailed me some photos of a house for rent in Melville. From the few things I’d seen and read, I already knew that Melville was the Jozi suburb where I wanted to live. And the moment I saw these photos, I knew that this Melville house was the house I would move into. The deck of the house in Melville, on a winter day in June 2010. The garden, featuring what would later become my favorite aloe tree. Jon sent photos of every room in the house, as well as the garden and the house’s exterior. I loved them all. But the photo that really captured me, the one that made me feel certain I would live in that house, was the shot of the lounge (the Americans among you would call it the living room). The room was huge, with parquet floors, large windows, and heart-shaped burglar bars. A man stood in the middle of the floor. That man’s name was Lucky. Lucky in the lounge of the Melville house. Lucky was silhouetted and I couldn’t see […]
This is a quick speed-blog to let you all know that the Mzansi Gallery, a quirky art gallery on 7th Street in Melville, is getting ready to close for several weeks while it transitions to a new space. Before closing its doors on Friday, Mzansi is doing a two-day mini exhibition of two art works, one of which is mine. The main work on display is a wall-sized masterpiece called “No Land No Love” by Joburg artist and the founder of the Afrikan Freedom Station, Steve “Kwena” Mokwena. Can’t afford the wall-sized masterpiece? You can also buy a smaller print version. A glimpse of “No Land No Love”, both picture and print. That’s Kwena’s niece, Bontle, in the background. The second work is my limited-edition print, “Brixton on Fire”, which I blogged about a few weeks ago. Bontle hanging out in front of my print. Here’s a better look at the picture. I have seven prints left in the series and this is the only framed version. The Mzansi Gallery has several other works available and I think there are good deals to be had. If you feel like buying some art (especially mine), pop in before 12:00 p.m. on Friday. Visit the Mzansi Gallery Facebook […]
I recently got my hair cut at Freedom Hair, one of the newest quirky spots on 7th Street in Melville. My review appeared this week on JHBLive. For those of you who aren’t following JHBLive yet (if you live in Joburg you should be), I’ve reposted my review below. Enjoy. I’ve always had really long hair. I find long hair easier to deal with than short hair. Plus long hair suits me. But there is another reason why my hair is so long: I hate going to hair salons. I have no idea why but I put off getting my hair cut for months on end, in the same way that I put off going to the dentist. I just don’t like that hair salon vibe. By the time I pluck up the courage to step into a salon, my split ends are an inch long and my mane is tangled enough to be mistaken for dreads. A few weeks ago while wandering down 7th Street in Melville, I poked my head into Freedom Hair, at the back of a small courtyard beside the new Hell’s Kitchen whiskey bar. I was confused by what I saw. To the right was a […]
Third post in my Melville Snapshot series. Read posts 1 and 2. When I first started this blog in June 2010, hardly anyone read it. I blogged mostly for myself and my close friends and family who were curious about my new life in South Africa. A lot has changed in four years. While I try to approach blogging in more or less the same way that I did four years ago, I really don’t. I have more readers now and blogging has become part of my career. Thanks to my blog I’ve been able to experience lots of amazing, mind-blowing things (my recent helicopter ride over Joburg is a perfect example), and I feel like I have to uphold my reputation as a Joburg-based cultural adventure-seeker. Sometimes I feel like I can’t blog about “just anything” anymore.
I dropped the ball on my Melville Snapshot series. I wrote the first post in the series six weeks ago, promising to publish a new Melville Snapshot every week or so. I’m just now getting around to post #2. Oh well. Better late than never. Anyway, today’s Melville Snapshot is from Yada Yada, a clothing/gift shop on Melville’s 7th Street. The interior of Yada Yada Gifts and Clothing.
I’ve decided to intersperse my Sandton snapshots with Melville snapshots. I haven’t written about Melville — my home suburb — in a while. The newest 2Summers readers might not even realize that I live here, and I feel a moral responsibility to periodically remind the world that Melville is awesome. Also, a bunch of cool new restaurants and shops have opened in Melville lately. I’m going to try to feature one per week for the next few weeks. My first Melville snapshot comes from the Great Eastern Food Bar, which just opened last month in the Bamboo Shopping Centre.
I’ve had half a dozen bloggable experiences in the past 48 hours. Please bear with me while I catch up. I’ll start with the most recent: yesterday’s Fête de la Musique in Melville. Fête de la Musique is a free music festival sponsored by the Alliance Française. This is the second year in a row that the Fête has taken place in Melville, which is a great source of pride to those of us who live here and believe our suburb deserves more love. I blogged about the Fête last year, so yesterday I decided to enjoy the day like a regular person rather than a blogger. I brought my camera with me but didn’t really plan to take any photos. Then I found myself standing on a table in a new venue on 7th Street called the ‘Fro Music Lounge, watching a band called The Brother Moves On. I was so amazed by the scene that I had to pull my camera out.