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Daouda Fashions shop in China City, downtown Joburg, visited during the JoburgPlaces "Of Origins and Migration" tour

Musings on Migration in Joburg

JoburgPlaces, a downtown tour company that I’ve written about many times, recently introduced a couple of different city experiences that center around the concept of migration. The JoburgPlaces Migrant Cuisines Storytelling Dinner is an epic evening at the Thunderwalker (formerly Somerset House) on Gandhi Square, in which JoburgPlaces guide Charlie Moyo explains the history of Johannesburg in terms of the multiple and overlapping waves of migration that have been happening since the city was founded 133 years ago. The historical overview is accompanied by a series of migrant-inspired food dishes cooked up by in-house chef Princess Bulelwa Mbonambi. The Of Origins and and Migration Tour is a walking tour mainly around Troyeville, Ellis Park, and Doornfontein, exploring some migrant communities in that part of Joburg as Charlie explains the city’s history. The tour begins and ends at Thunderwalker. Thoughts on Migration Charlie taught me a lot of interesting facts about the migrant history of Joburg. For example, I never knew “New Canada”, just north of Soweto, was so named because that’s where all the Canadians settled during the Joburg gold rush. I never knew Chinese and Indians — not blacks — were the first people required to carry passbooks. (Passbooks […]

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Lucky Masuka

My Favorite Joburg People: Lucky Masuka

I recently announced a storytelling project 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 presented the stories and portraits at an event called Translating Joburg – Storytellers, and also publishing them on my blog. This is the last of the four stories. These stories are longer than my normal blog posts. Lucky Masuka in front of a beautiful fern tree in the garden at his home in Melville, May 2016. Lucky was second person I met after moving to Johannesburg. We lived on the same property and the door to his one-room apartment was five feet from my kitchen. Lucky worked for Horst, my landlord, which meant that he also indirectly worked for my boyfriend Jon and me. Lucky tended our garden, cleaned our house, did our dishes, ironed our clothes. He fixed our ancient oven each time it broke – dismantling it, spreading out the metal parts on the kitchen counter, and putting it back together again. The first time I watched Lucky fix that oven, I thought, “He should have been an engineer.” Lucky has a great sense of humor. He has a huge […]

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