Waking up in Braamfontein – Hotel Lamunu and the NeighbourGoods Market

I’m calling it. All that energy and moolah invested in Braamfontein got a little closer to paying off this morning with the opening of Cape Town’s favourite Neighbourgoods Market in Braamfontein. But before I talk about that let’s rewind… The week stared with an invitation from Southpoint Hospitality for an overnight stay at its Hotel Lamunu in Braamfontein. The plan was to spend the night at the hotel, with drinks at the bar, dinner at Ramen, breakfast at the hotel followed by coffee at Velo in The Grove Square (on Melle Street) opposite the hotel and finally… a visit to opening day of the Neighbourgoods market (one of my favourite Cape Town haunts).


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Winnie Mandela and Pretoria’s other opera secret

Pretoria. Just 35 minutes away, and yet the capital might as well be on a different planet for the number of times I venture there. A few weekends ago it was for an audience with South Africa’s struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and some fine Italian food. Continue reading

Cappuccinos I have known and loved

Left one rainy city for another for an Easter break near that imposing mountain. Cape Town has toyed with us. One sunny day, one rainy day, one sunny day, one cold day, and so on. Saturday morning led us to Long Street in a city that really seems to work for itself. Long Street ties it all together with its appeal to the cosmo-hippie-boho-bergie-Euro set. The antiques arcade – a real find – and Clarke’s awesome bookstore with its incredible selection of local literature sit side by side with a bar carrying huge signs advertising R10 a shooter (visions are conjured, and they are nor pretty), surf shops, a German barber and my latest find, Yours Truly, home of the artistic cappuccino. Or at least home to Sakky, the guy behind the counter that ended my search for cappuccino art. Definitively.
For the past few months I have taken to photographing my daily cup. Continue reading

Sizwe Banzi, alive + kicking, at Johannesburg’s Market Theatre

Get to the Market Theatre in Newtown really fast for “Sizwe Banzi is Dead” [Last show is on Sunday]. Last night we saw an exhilirating performance of this South African classic first performed in 1972. I saw it first about 20 years ago when this country was a very different place and the tragedy of it all resonated so deeply [I was a total drama school groupie then and let me ‘fess up here to always¬† having had a penchant for the dramatic]. It’s an outstanding piece about identity, about what it means to be a man, about dignity, and about what’s in a name. Then it was also more a piece about the bleakness of being a black man under Apartheid, of having every aspect of your life circumscribed by cruel and petty laws and even more cruel and petty enforcers. Interestingly the play has not dated at all and yet the response to it now is so different. Last night in a packed Laager Theatre you could have been mistaken for thinking the piece was written as comedy – the audience laughed and laughed, Continue reading

U2 in Joburg – a sneak preview

Or just a sneaky preview before U2 plays at FNB Stadium, in Soweto, this weekend. This after catching U2 360 in Moscow a few months ago. Not sure if Bono feels the same way but it seems as if our eventual meeting is meant to be. So far paths have been crossed and all manner of coincidences have revealed themselves. It started on day one in Moscow. Fresh from the airport we left our hotel for a walk up one of Moscow’s busiest thoroughfares, Tverskaya Boulevard, on which our hotel was located next door to the Ritz Carlton. There we encountered a crowd waiting patiently on the forecourt. Curious, we asked some questions and soon had word from a wild-eyed Irishman that U2 had arrived in Moscow for a concert that week (he had been following them for months). We hung around for a bit joining the papparazzos and felt the excitement ripple through the crowd as a car pulled up. The crowd lurched forward, necks craning, cameras ready. The Irishman was unimpressed. Looking above the crowd at what was causing such a stir he snorted: “It’s only Adam”. Continue reading

Blow it out your vuvuzela

#208 Join in the fray about vuvuzelas that has become more deafening than the trumpet itself this week. Score one to South Africa for getting the word into international headlines, another for causing Twitter to shudder with #vuvuzela overload, a third for making Ronaldo weigh in on this weighty matter (instead of on fast cars and faster women) and give that guy at the rugby match in Wales that was brave enough to blow one a round of applause. It’s something I have written about before, the fact that I like the vuvuzela and its angry-wasp-like sound (cue the insults from the vuvuzela-haters).
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Exclusive! Bill Gates and Steve Jobs talk

104 Share a conversation between Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Apple’s Steve Jobs – two of the wealthiest men in the world and arguably two of its most powerful men.
The themes range from poverty to wealth, and then to wealth again.
It’s priceless really
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See SA’s newest fossil find at the Origins Centre

#198 Sign up for FiftyTwo: Weekly things to do and see in Joburg ¬©, an email newsletter – by a fellow Joburg enthusiast – that is fast becoming one of my favourite pieces of weekly correspondence. So much so that I am sharing this week’s missive from Adrian at Fifty Two. (To get yours mail him on adrian@fiftytwo.co.za) I am also sharing it because Origins Centre is one of my favourite spots in the city – the home of the largest collection of Rock Art in the world and a museum that showcases the origins of humankind in a way that is accessible, enagaging and highly interactive. Definitely a must-visit Joburg destination. Continue reading

Boksburg rocks for the best Portuguese food in town

#196. Ditch the city for the East Rand on a lazy hazy Sunday that definitely beats the grey rainy days we have been having. We drove out of Joburg – a city that is alive to the World Cup, now almost a month away. The city’s commuters show their enthusiasm by hanging the nation’s flags off their cars. The flags are also flying proudly from the gate posts of some houses and wherever you go there is talk of what’s ahead. Yesterday I overhead three men in the main street of Parkview arguing over whether England would win. “Of course we support Bafana Bafana” is the standard refrain before you launch into who you think will be able to actually score some goals.

Verde Minho restaurant in Boksburg

We headed for Boksburg about 25kms away to an old favourite, a Portuguese restaurant called Verde Minho. We have eaten meals there for about 15 years and I have to say it – in 15 years we have never been disappointed. The newest owner, Ricardo, is Argentinian – Buenos Aires-born – and over the seven years that he has presided over the place it has developed a more global feel. There’s a Mexican banjo-player on one wall Continue reading