A night out in Hillbrow and Yeoville

Hillbrow iconography

Hillbrow iconography

We are on Yeoville’s Raleigh Street at Kin Malebo Village. The doorman greets us in French. The rhythms of Congolese singer Fally Ipupa’s “Bicarbonate” escape the bar into the crisp winter night, as the door swings open. Inside it’s warm and inviting. Continue reading

Joburg’s Kalahari book store for much-loved titles

The interior of Orange Grove's Kalahari Books

The interior of Orange Grove’s Kalahari Books

What starts off in fairly regular interview mode – me seated in a comfortable armchair facing Richard Welch, my notebook at the ready, soon shifts shape. It’s as if the four walls beneath the double-volume ceiling of Kalahari Books contain within them some mysterious force that makes a joke of time and exerts competing gravitational pull. Surrounded by thousands (around 70 000 in all, Welch estimates) of books spanning more than a century we flit from shelf to shelf like magpies. We move from titles by JG Ballard to George Bernard Shaw picking the books out, then discarding them for the next attraction. There is poetry and playwriting, Greek epics and tomes on trains, collectables and curiosities and fiction, heaps and heaps of fiction. Continue reading

Joburg gets an inner-city festival

Impressions of Joburg - The Mapungubwe Hotel Courtyard, Grafitti at Fashion Kapitol and view from The Parktonian Hotel in Braamfontein

Impressions of Joburg – The Mapungubwe Hotel Courtyard, Grafitti at Fashion Kapitol and view from The Parktonian Hotel in Braamfontein

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

Shopping in Joburg’s inner city

“What’s your top seller?” I ask Fatima Nanabhay of the African Music Store near Diagonal Street in Joburg’s city centre. “The goat bells,” she says. At R14 a piece they fly out the shop. Cow bells are also a big hit, she tells me. As I ask the question the only thing flying past us is the traffic along the city street and the guy wheeling a trolley with blankets piled high past the doorway. For the record there’s not a goat to be seen.


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Joburg’s best views

#213. Admire the view. Just saw this on Joburg Live. Ten detours worth making in what is becoming perpetual rush-hour traffic in this town. And they are not the only ones thinking about Joburg vistas. A few days ago Adrian at FiftyTwo (one of my favourite weekly mailers) sent his pick of where to spend sundown and sunrise in this crazy city.

From Observatory to Parkview, Westcliff to Houghton they’ve got it covered. And with the jacarandas in bloom and it being the only time of year that the ducks at Zoo Lake are truly cute, small and fluffy,  Rosebank and the Zoo Lake are also calling.

From JOburg Live: “Take the scenic route and get aquainted with Joburg’s exhilarating views, and lovely roads. Here’s our top 10 scenic routes in and around Jozi suburbia. Ask any South African what the defining feature of the Jo’burger is and they’ll tell you; we’re busy… Continue reading

Christopher Hope frames Joburg

#172. Return to my poor neglected blog after an extended digital fast. It’s January in the city, the skies are grey, and two nights ago I was admiring the moonlit lake at Parkview Golf Course only to be told it was the 8th hole in flood after one of those incredible “will it ever stop” rain storms.

I have just been reading about the launch of the updated edition of From Joburg to Jozi: Stories about Africa’s infamous city Continue reading