Tag Archives: Joburg

Commissioner Street: An experience of interwoven lives

It’s hard to describe some cities. Perhaps we try to give it an identity based on how it is commonly experienced. But Joburg is a very, very fragmented place – its parts just do not seem to sum up into any kind of cohesive whole. Most cities at least have a river that helps to…

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Lindfield House – the place to pause

The beauty of some of the genuine treasures of life, is that they are hidden. They have managed to live out their entire existence quietly, unself-consciously and often quite obscurely, away from the bright lights and polished packaging of the modern media. So rare are they, that we tend to assume they aren’t there. But…

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Ms Joburg 2013’s most ardent wish

I claim I love Johannesburg more than anyone else on the planet. I was born here. I eat these streets. I declare myself Ms Joburg 2013 — for today (you can have it tomorrow) — and here, for my inaugural address, is my ardent wish for our town: On orders from the executive mayor of…

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Chess the thing for Joburg inner city

Indifference is a powerful weapon, easily injected into entire atmospheres, hearts and minds. Since the beginning of The Troyeville Bedtime Story, a never-ending Joburg tale that began with a stinking pile of neglected rubble in 2011, my eyes and heart tend toward what appears to be impossible, dysfunctional, overwhelming. I am long suffering from a…

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Johannesburg: The city that once was

About a year ago at a party, I met a well-known South African artist (he shall remain nameless) who described the Johannesburg Art Gallery as “Miss Havisham in her wedding dress”. He wasn’t saying it spitefully, he seemed to really like JAG; it was just a very honest, pithy comment. I believe the metaphor can…

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Thoughts on the smell of burnt clutch

It’s traumatic. It really is. After a year and 10 months of driving the sponsored luxury British SUV and its successor, I’ve had to temporarily return to slumming it in a sensible Korean hatchback. A taxi drove into my parked car while I was in Chinatown on August 7. I’d driven to lunch in a…

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Things I am curious about in this city

Joburg skyline in lipstick Sacks that look like dead animals lying in the road until you get closer. Why diners in restaurants and coffee shops started asking waiters for “the machine”. Whether, if I take Jan Smuts Avenue to get to my appointment, I would have got there faster than if I’d used the highway….

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