Joburg taxi drivers have nothing on the city's commuters

#111. Come to the realisation that Joburg’s minibus taxi drivers — reviled by many; the stuff of radio talkshows, and endless letters to newspapers; and the bane of government transport agencies and of drivers who believe those white lines on the road and the yellow ones are more than just a work of art — are not always to blame for their actions.  Continue reading

I can hear those vuvuzelas now

#79. Count down to the Soccer World Cup in 2010. With only 498 days left until the Fifa Soccer World Cup, I am  noticing signs of soccer life stirring. Months ago Fifa President Sepp Blatter visited and brought to everyone’s attention that there was little to suggest this country was close to putting on the greatest show on earth (or is that the Olympics?). I too was concerned but decided not to go to the press with it.

Germany apparently promoted their World Cup for a full three years which led me to wonder whether we are a nation with a short attention span or one that just likes to leave things to the last minute?

Mostly the signs of life are coming from sponsors and their ad agencies who are starting to promote what many hope will be South Africa’s greatest moment on the world stage since Nelson Mandela had his debut. Until now it’s been background stuff — just the occasional shudder in Rosebank as the Gautrain builders blast their way to Pretoria, Continue reading

Nicole Richie turns up at the Zoo Lake

#67. Follow in the footsteps of Lionel Richie by taking a walk around the Zoo Lake. Five new trees near the boathouse, some hastily planted patches of green grass,  and a chiseled plaque mounted in concrete were all that he left behind as he rounded off his recent tour of SA. That and lots of people unashamedly humming “Penny Lover” and “Hello,

Is it me you’re looking for?” Continue reading

The Joburg book

#65. Get The Joburg Book – a guide to this city of “thieves and dreamers”. The Joburg Book, edited by Nechama Brodie of The Hunter Gatherer fame is more than a history book and more than a guide. Just released it’s a collection of writings about how this city came about ( a giant meteorite figures in the story), the nature of its contemporary life, its people and its food (it even contains a Biryani recipe for feeding 800 people) and its constant need for its own reinvention. And through it all runs a seam of gold that has shaped this place into what it is today — a magnet for fortune-seekers and adventurers, at times a refuge and at others a city under seige.

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It’s still the same city that Herman Charles Bosman wrote about, saying: “They are trying to make Johannesburg respectable. They are trying to make snobs out of us, making us forget who our ancestors were. They are trying to make us lose our sense of pride in the fact that our forebears were a lot of roughnecks who knew nothing about culture and who came here to look for gold”.

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Saturday in Soweto

#10: Ditch the northern suburbs for a morning at Maponya Mall. The family headed for Soweto, and while a trip to the more historic parts of the township (so large it should be renamed a cityship, only if we stick with old naming conventions) like Vilikazi Street and Kliptown is still on my list, it was the Mall that drew us first in search of Saturday breakfast.

We drove there via Nasrec, curious to see the progress of the R1.5-billion revamp of the FNB stadium or “soccer city”, which will host the opening ceremony of 2010’s Soccer World Cup. Continue reading