Tag Archives: joburg

J Is For Johannesburg

Having lived and worked in Joburg for about 38 years I know a thing or two about the city. It was the place of my first date, my first kiss and my first job.

Also known as Joburg or Jozi, as locals like calling it, it’s the second largest city in Africa, and the world’s largest ‘dry port’ – Joburg is the largest city in the world not built on a coastline or waterway. It is the economic hub of the country, the most affluent area, and is still the ‘el dorado’ of South Africa.

It boasts the biggest man-made forest in the world with over 10 million trees. This has many functions, not least of which is that it makes for a beautiful city, combats greenhouse gasses, and helps reduce noise in this ‘urban jungle’. This still amazes me, and I love nothing better than to look out over this ‘jungle’ in the spring and see all the splashes of purple of the jacarandas in bloom.

Joburgers tend to be rather possessive about their city. We’re teased by Durbanites and Cape Tonians as “vaalies*” who invade their cities at holiday time, but there is no better time to be in Joburg than in December when families make their annual pilgrimage to the coast. This makes the roads clear of pesky traffic, there is Christmas music in the air and people are more relaxed. Just stay away from the malls where those who have opted to stay in town congregate for movies, eating and shopping, making them busier places than at any other time of the year.

It is not an easy place to live in and needs real staying power. Personal safety is an issue. Irrespective of affluence, people surround their properties with high walls, barbed wire and electric fences. Those who can afford it pay for alarms and private armed response. Many people own guns.

And yet it has the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets. The best I’ve seen. The weather is idyllic with sunlight at least 300 days of the year. Access to the country is a mere 20-minute drive along great roads.

Some people stay because it is where the best paying jobs are. Others come and stay for family. Others stay because they’ve decided to adopt Joburg with all of its issues, quirkiness and diversity. And the born and bred Joburgers stay because it is home.

I’ve followed Heather at 2Summers for a while and is the source of all great info about Joburg. Her pics are amazing and she goes to places where I haven’t been to yet. If Joburg piques your interest, go on by and see Joburg through the eyes of “an American living in quirky Johannesburg”.


*vaalies – South African slang name given to Johannesburgers (and other inland residents) by residents of Durban and Cape Town (and other seaside towns). The word is derived from the name of the river that separates Gauteng province, the Vaal River, which is the border with the Free State. Before the new provincial structure, Johannesburg was in the old province of Transvaal (across the Vaal). Once you cross the Vaal River, you know you’re on holiday 😉

 

It Was Rosebank Today

I needed a working space to collaborate with M, my colleague and Rosebank was the first choice. For many reasons:

  • Sandton is just gridlocked
  • Rosebank is closer to me
  • There’s great coffee in Rosebank at Motherland Coffee – with great chill vibes playing in the background – my ideal workspace
  • It’s trendy and cosmopolitan
  • There are amazing clothes shops which are a treat to windowshop
  • It’s across the road from the Gautrain station, convenient for M who came from Cape Town to support me at an important client meeting

I found a water feature – it was new to me – and it’s probably been there for ages. I only noticed it today. In any event, below are some of the pics I took (notice the mandatory coffee and muffin pic…?)

 

A-Z Challenge: B Is For Buildings

A late afternoon drive down Harrison Street in the Johannesburg inner city helped me appreciate the beauty of the buildings that have been there since the 19th century.

©2016 Regina Martins
©2016 Regina Martins

Some buildings may look bedraggled and rundown but their beauty is still evident.

I don’t know which building is captured in the photos below, I searched the web and came up with nothing. I’m not sure if it’s Victorian or Edwardian architecture. It appears to be undergoing renovation. Che seems to this that it’s the City Hall but that is on Rissik Street.

Victory House (below) on the corner of Harrison and Fox Streets is a building “of great historical and architectural significance and is famous for having Johannesburg’s first ever lift…which had crowds gaping for weeks” and has stood since 1897.

“The lift was a technological marvel, complete with a safety apparatus; it also boasted a polished oak cage and an upholstered seat. The lift was supplied by R Waygood of England. An early letter to the lift firm references the employment of a caretaker and the purchase of a bag of coal to operate the boiler which worked the hydraulic lift. The total cost of the original lift, boiler and engine was 1020 pounds. The staircase was made of cast iron, also made in England it was the first fireproof staircase in Johannesburg” (Wikipedia).

©2016 Regina Martins
The Classical Colonial architectural style, designed and built by WH Stucke ©2016 Regina Martins

88 Fox Street – I searched for information on this building and found a reference to it being the Equity Building but I’m not able to verify this right now. All I know is that it is in very good condition and the men’s outfitters, Lightbody’s, still occupies the ground floor. Che used to buy his pipe band gear there when he was in high school. This goes back a while, so Lightbody’s has been there, at least, since the 1980s if not longer.

©2016 Regina Martins
©2016 Regina Martins
©2016 Regina Martins
©2016 Regina Martins

Johannesburg is the largest city in South Africa and is the economic hub of the country. It was established in 1886 when gold was discovered on the farm. It’s also affectionally known as Jozi, Jo’burg, Egoli, and Joeys to us locals.

This is the city I grew up in, live in and at different times, worked in, so I have a soft spot for it. When I was at university I used to get off the bus at the start of the inner city and walk all the way to the bus terminus square where I caught another bus home, just so that I could absorb the city’s energy.

The population of Joburg is currently over 4 million people and growing each year.

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Legacy Of Old Joburg

How apt that I took this photo yesterday and it fits today’s one-word prompt so well – Legacy.

It was taken from the 4th floor of the building I was in downtown Joburg. I found the preserved facade of the old building that used to stand there quite beautiful, contrasting with the glass and steel of the modern building which took its place.

Continue reading Legacy Of Old Joburg

Strange City

This article on Women24 caught my eye. It’s humorous at the same time as being realistic. I find myself not wanting to go out for similar reasons.

It’s entitled “Why Joburg is the strangest city”. She starts off by saying:

In most big cities, one drives to the dry cleaners, parks, runs in, picks up the clothes, and runs out again. In Jozi - not so much.

The writer tells of wanting to pick up a dress at the dry cleaners, and on the way, of having to deal with vendors at traffic lights wanting to wash her car’s windows, sell counterfeit DVDs and homeless magazines.

At the end of it all she got home with a whole lot of goods she didn’t need, a bunch of homeless magazines and no dress from the dry cleaners.

I don’t want anyone washing my car windows at traffic lights so I normally give the window washer an apple or a sandwich from my lunch. I don’t buy goods simply because my purse is in the boot of the car – on account of all the smash and grabs that can happen, nothing is visible in the car.

It is for the same reason that I dont buy homeless magazines, even though I would be helping a homeless person.

Living in this city is amazing and it is also amazingly complex.

Read the whole article here.

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