Walking tour through 125 years of Joburg’s history

Saturday morning we joined a walking tour of Joburg’s inner city. “Through the lens: 125 years of Johannesburg photography” was a fascinating trip through the city’s history using collected photographs as a guide. A city walk takes on new meaning when you take its history along with you, making comparisons between its past and present on every block. It’s an interesting way to track a city’s progress or the lack of it, to get back to what the planners intended or how they got it all so wrong.

Using historical photos as a guide also creates anticipation – Was that beautiful building replaced by a parking lot or now a derelict burnt-out shell or will it have been appreciated and better yet, restored? Joburg is not fond of history. And for much of this mining camp’s life it has spent more time taking things down than shoring them up. It’s a place often lacking in nostalgia.

Market Square in 1895. farmers from as far away as Potchedsroom and Middelburg brought their crops to sell. From Johannesburg One Hundred.


Continue reading

Best kebab in Johannesburg, dinner on a Mayfair pavement

Friday night and unusually free of family commitments we headed for Mayfair. In some ways my grandmother’s Mayfair is unchanged – it’s still the home of many immigrants, and where once they were Jewish families from Eastern Europe now they are families from North Africa, the Middle East and Turkey. Friday evening in that part of town has its own brand of magic. In the dusky light people swell the streets, the stores are open for the night and a thriving street market takes over Fordsburg.

We were on a quest – to find Burhan’s Butchery (halal), a specialist Turkish butchery Continue reading