In full Joburg City Festival mode we took to the streets of Braamfontein on Friday night, a pack of travel and food bloggers – among us @mzansigirl, @2summers2010, @hasmita, @wisaal, @hitekani_m, @SarahDuff and others – in search of a night out. Around 5.30 pm you could find us at The Grove, the piazza in front of Braamfontein’s Easy Hotel, formerly Hotel Lamunu, sampling craft beer. Truly. beer is not something I usually consider a beverage although I would be lying if I said I have never cast an envious look at people who drink the stuff on a hot day. But the taste usually never lives up to the image. My brew of choice was the Dragon Fiery Ginger Beer, from the Dragon Brewing Co one of many new craft beer companies that have popped up from Joburg to Cape Town. I think I might be a convert. Continue reading
It’s been a while in the making, and now it’s just a few days until the Joburg City Festival (an initiative of the Joburg City Tourism Association) kicks off. See my earlier posts Joburg gets an inner city festival and Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra outside the Rand Club. On the programme is music, art, walking tours, a film festival, sundowners with sumptuous views of the city, food, ballet performances, a food and craft beer pairing at Restaurant Lamunu in The Grove, Braamfontein plus the incredibly successful Critical Mass cycle through the city (it happens on the last Friday of each month and attracts thousands of people). And added to that is the Mail & Guardian’s Literary Festival from August 30 to September 1, featuring a star-cast of Nobel prize-winner Nadine Gordimer, award-winning novelists Niq Mhlongo, Imraan Coovadia plus Booker short-listed author NoViolet Bulawayo. The full lineup of the Mail & Guardian Literary Festival.
This was really an unforgettable performance. As part of the #JoburgCity media weekend the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra popped up outside the Rand Club and then in front of the Gold Mine Cafe at The Reef Hotel (Anderson Street, Marshalltown). Love this video posted by @Darlinglama
If you missed it you can read more about the weekend at Joburg gets an inner city festival
To launch Joburg’s inner-city festival coming up in August, the Joburg City Tourism Association threw a three-day party for 60 journalists. I was lucky enough to be on that list and to spend the weekend hanging out at some of the coolest places…. Friday night in Joburg city centre and what could have been a regular few blocks walk between Market and Loveday Streets on a chill Autumn night turned into something extraordinary. On the pavement outside the impressive Edwardian-style entrance to the Rand Club, the city’s grandest landmark, thirty four members of the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra were arrayed, flash-mob style – playing classical and popular pieces. Continue reading
“If cities had profiles on a dating website, Joburg would be the one with the really great personality,” says Josef Talotta. “That’s opposed to Cape Town – the gorgeous blonde wearing a bikini”.
Talotta is the head of precinct development for South Point Properties in Braamfontein, one of the city’s thriving neighbourhoods. The company’s portfolio includes Hotel Lamunu, 5000 student accommodation units and Randlords, a spectacular party venue perched atop a 22-storey office block. It was Randlords that the Joburg City Tourism Association, an alliance of hotel owners, property developers and other key people who make the city’s social and cultural heart beat, chose for their recent launch, where plans were announced for creating a united front to market the inner city as a tourist destination.
Democracy was unkind to the inner city. Continue reading
Sophia Loren is looking at me. And she is entrancing. An extremely realistic portrait of her by Brazilian artist Vik Muniz – created by the arrangement of around 3000 thousand glittering loose diamonds photographed on a page – hangs in De Beers Headquarters on London’s Charterhouse Street.
Part of Muniz’s “Diamond Divas” series of glamorous Hollywood legends – the artwork sums up only a facet of what diamonds have come to represent.
The building’s very corporate facade had given no hint of its business, that it houses the world’s leading diamond supplier. Although I am not sure what I was expecting. A giant shiny rock to light my way through the rain-soaked streets? This is on my mind because exiting the tube station that morning I stopped a man in a suit to ask if he knew where “De Beers” was and he directed me to a pub. Continue reading
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).
To the Troyeville Hotel book club on a rainy and then crisp Autumn night. And set against the twinkling lights of Ponte and the Hillbrow Tower through the window darkly, Justin Cartwright was being interviewed by Murray Michell, the head of South Africa’s Financial Intelligence Centre. The “banker” and the author had been brought together for an event billed as “The banking crisis comes to Troyeville” in a move intended to cajole those who think that fiction may not be serious enough stuff to leave home in the northern suburbs for. To be truthful the crowd at Troyeville are more attuned to hearing about civil wars, death cults and bloodthirsty Liberian warlords, dark subjects that unsettle, non-fiction that makes claims to be truthful, Continue reading
#148. Head to Joburg’s chic-est new 5-star hotel for the announcement of the winners of the Sanlam Fashion Journalism Awards. Last week I had a chance to pop into the very exclusive-looking The Monarch Hotel on Oxford Road, a rumoured R64-million refurbishment of the old post office building. (I have an appointment to go back and get the inside story).
I was there to attend the awards — of which I was a judge, together with City Press Editor-in-Chief Ferial Haffajee, Radio 702 talkshow host Jenny Cryws-Williams and Kassie Naidoo, creative director at King James. Fashion commentator and trends analyst Dion Chang was the convenor. And the winners were…. in the fashion editing category Business Day Wanted’s Jenny Andrew for a feature called “Paper Dolls” — an exquisite spread created together with paper sculptor Hazel Buchan, an interpretation of fashion as art to mark the Joburg Art Fair — and for fashion writing, Millisuthando Bongela’s Street Smarties which was published in Elle magazine. They had some tough competition from the likes of Sharon Becker, Mary Corrigall and Leigh Robertson.
Reading Millisuthando Bongela’s piece about the “street smarties” — brown on the inside and all colours on the outside — was like unwrapping a shiny little treat. It’s a piece about a youth subculture who define themselves by the colourful gear they wear.
Their muse is vibrancy, their chronicler is photographer Lolo Veleko (who no suprises here is big in Japan and New York where they have a depth of appreciation for sartorial flourishes).
Bongela was the first to put her finger on that pulse in the popular press and to document what is a very interesting street-fashion movement not confined only to Soweto.
“In South Africa 15 years ago, a black person was identified by his language, the music he listened to or his level of political consciousness — or lack thereof. It would be wrong to say all black people dressed the same, but perhaps safe to say that if you were black, you mostly didn’t have time to worry about how you looked.”
“We have the freedom to look like this beacuse our parents struggled for us to be whoever we want to be,” Bongela quotes 22-year-old Kepi Mngomezulu.
“Dion Chang calls them ‘Joburg’s cool young things’.”
“These are people in charge of at least their sartorial destinies,” said the Village Voice. They called Veleko’s photographs of the fashion set “an antidote to the prevailing view of the ‘dark continent’ as a place of entropy and despair” ( Luckily it takes more than a Village to reflect the world we live in). Continue reading
#131. Head downtown for a taste of North African food. More than 25 years ago I watched the Johannesburg Sun being built from the window of my orthodontist’s office in Lister Building, then the home of some of Joburg’s top medical specialists. There must be hundreds of now-adults who share this memory, straight teeth, and the image of Dr Chertkow and Lazerson’s shared consulting rooms with those purple and orange vinyl chairs. Continue reading