Tag Archives: Johannesburg

M2, Idai, Loadshedding, Fibre, Crochet Project

Ok, well I’m finding my way back into blogging. I confess to having missed it. I checked into my WordPress reader to keep up with other bloggers but I was patchy at best.

Today is a public holiday in South Africa. Things are interesting here at the moment. Loadshedding (rolling blackouts) are back because the situation with Eskom, our state owned energy provider is crumbling under the effects of long term corruption, bad decisions and lack of maintenance. Leadership has been changed in the last six months or so, especially after our previous president stepped down. The reality is that all of our state owned enterprises are bankrupt, from our national airline to the railways to the energy provider.

Couple that with the closure of the M2 bridges which are a main arterial to cross the Johannesburg city from North to South and from East to West, and it makes getting around Joburg an adventure. It turns out that the bridges in Johannesburg have not been maintained in decades and the M2 is showing signs of structural damage making it unsafe for cars to travel along it.

I’m sorry if this post is a bit bleak and I’m giving you my fed-up rant. It is biased I know.

South Africa is a beautiful country, the weather is some of the best in the world. And South Africans take everything in their stride. We survive and in some cases thrive. Life goes on and we must move forward. I still worry though…

That’s the bleak rant. Now for some positive news. We finally got fibre. After years of battling with sub-par ADSL our online experience just got better. It took us a while to get all the configs and set up done mainly because neither me nor Che were home long enough to see things through to the end with the service provider. We eventually did, and I’m smiling ūüôā

We’re having a wonderfully hot autumn – it’s 30 degrees today and has been the same since last week. Rainy season is over here in the highveld, unlike our northern neighbours of Mozambique (my homeland :-)), Zimbabwe and Malawi. Cyclone Idai made landfall in Beira a few days ago. Beira is already a city located below sea-level. With the winds and the rains, there is an inland sea stretching long distances. It’s a humanitarian crisis, with people dead, missing, or in vulnerable situations and in danger of starving before help reaches them. These are people who are still on the roofs of their homes, waiting to be rescued. Many resources have been mobilised here is South Africa to help. Have a look at this short drone footage of the damage close to the shore.

There is a huge inland lake created by the floods, ” European Space Agency images show a huge new inland ‚Äúlake‚ÄĚ measuring about 80 miles by 15 miles (125km by 25km)”

The disaster stretches to Zimbabwe and Malawi too, where people are going to be needing food aid for the next 3 months, according to the World Food Programme.

I did say I was going to write positive stuff and it quickly turned sad…

A positive note is that I’ve taken up my crochet project again – I’m crocheting (is this the right spelling?) a bed spread in bamboo yarn. It’s so soft and sustainable too. I get my yarns from Natural Yarns in Kommetjie, and use the Vinnis Colours from the Serina range. Natural Yarns in turn source their yarns from women from an economically depressed rural area of South Africa. The yarn is hand-dyed and balled, and the sale of this product has empowered and brought economic benefits to their community. The yarn is colour fast and the hand-dyed yarn gives my garment a marbled effect. I have 400 granny squares to make and I’ve completed 117! What do you think of the effect?

Well I started off this post with no specific plan…only to reconnect with you, my readers. It started off with complaining about loadshedding and the closure of the M2 in Joburg, raved about the new fibre connection we have, then took a bit of dip into the Cyclone Idai disaster and up again when I spoke about continuing with my crochet project. My crochet hook and yarn is calling me and I must end off here, this post that is longer than normal for me. If you’re reading this, thank you for making is this far. And leave me a comment ūüėČ

Regina

 

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Glass

I have a new client in the Joburg CBD and I confess that the CBD is not one of my favourite places merely from a traffic point of view. On Monday Che and I got caught up in the gridlock that ensued, presumably as a result of the temporary closure of the Kazerne Bridge for repairs.

This means that a major route out of town for people living on the East Rand is closed for about 16 months. Off course people will find new routes and traffic patterns will stabilise once again.

In order to prevent a repeat of Monday Che and I agreed that I would walk up town to the Standard Bank precinct, which is on the edge of town, and get picked up there. An 8 to 10 minute walk to prevent potentially getting caught up in 90 minutes of chaos. This also provides me with the opportunity to take photos of interesting buildings.

I love the Joburg CBD for it old buildings, many built in a Classical style, others in the Art Dec style, and yet others, more modern. I took this photo of a building with the reflection of another building in its glass windows.

Reflections in the glass
©2018 Regina Martins

This post was prepared in response to¬†Cee‚Äôs Black & White Photo Challenge:¬†Glass. Click on the link to see more entries in this week’s challenge.

 

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 ‚Äėurban jungle‚Äô. 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 ūüėČ

 

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: 2016 Week 45

Johannesburg experienced extreme thunderstorms this week. A flash flood ripped through the east of the city, flooding one of the major freeways during peak hour traffic.

Cars washed away, people drowned and ordinary South Africans came together to help each other out of dangerous situations. There was untold damage to buildings and factories along its path.

In another part of the city the ground washed away bringing down the boundary wall of the Johannesburg Zoo. All the animals were safe though. And none escape so the inhabitants of the area were safe too ūüôā

I took these photos from the 12th floor of the Radisson Blu hotel in Sandton where I was at the time on a training course. Taken from behind windows and through the glass of the lift-shaft.

It was a beautiful day…

Through the glass... ©2016 Regina Martins
Through the glass…
©2016 Regina Martins

Then the storm approached…

Impending storm ©2016 Regina Martins
Impending storm
©2016 Regina Martins

I saw that the storm was an ugly one, but didn’t know then how severe its impact was. With the difference in light you can see the reflection of the light fitting in the room.

Joburg storm ©2016 Regina Martins
Joburg storm
©2016 Regina Martins

Entered in Cee’s OddBall Photo challenge this week.

 

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.

Powell (2)