Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Long Live The Dead Queen and Yoga in the City

I am about to leave for my Xmas holidays so this has to be quite a rushed blog. I thought I would rather post some images of two events that i have attended recently than write a huge amount!

I was lucky enough to attend the Joburg Art City Mary Sibande Open top bus tour through town last Sunday. It was in a word "AMAZING". Seeing the public art around town from and open top bus was awesome. Mary then also gave us commentary on each of the images as we drove around which was super interesting. It was absolutely fantastic to meet someone whose art I see and talk about nearly every day-bit of a dream come true. I cant wait for the next event! Joburg really is the largest art gallery in the world! Just another reason to love the CBD!

I also attended the first "Yoga in the City" event on Sunday which my company Past Experiences is organising in conjunction with Monsoon Yoga. The first class took place at the beautiful Ansteys building on the 3rd floor. It was supposed to happen on the roof but it was wet so we did it next to the creche inside. It was such a stunning class and a great group of people. It was also lovely as all the kids in the creche joined in with the yoga which was really cute! I can not wait for the next class!

Thats about it for now..I cant believe I wont be spending time in the city for a few weeks...what will i do? I am definitely going to get withdrawal symptoms! Ill write again in the new year. Have a great Christmas and New Year!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Inner City Adventures

I have had an absolutely insane couple of weeks- hence I haven't blogged in a while.

To make up for this I am going to try mention everything we have been doing lately even if it means just doing a couple of lines on each! hopefully this will give people some ideas on fun things things to do in the city!

Public Art Tour

We did a great public art tour a few weeks ago. I was a little worried as it was on the same day as the 94.7 Cycle Challenge which means that their were streets closed and I thought people might not be able to get to the event. I was totally wrong..we had over thirty people and it was a fantastic tour. We also had the SABC News Crew come along on the tour. One of the most awesome sights of the day actually had nothing to with art. The Cycle challenge was routed through the city which i think is a great indicator of how the city is on the up and up! The tour stood on the side of the road at Gandhi Square and cheered people on.

Radio Today

I had an absolutely awesome experience the other day. I was lucky enough to be on Gillian Godsell's radio program Jozi Today for an hour. The show focused on Women Entrepreneurs. I was slightly nervous but ended up absolutely loving it...maybe I have a future in Radio! It is a great show and focuses on people and events in JHB. The show is then followed by another program called Heritage Today. They are really interesting and can be found on AM 1485 or DSTV 169.

Book Launch at the Lister Building.

I went to a book launch at the Lister Building in the City. The book looks awesome and i cant wait to get a copy. Its called Positions and looks at Contemporary art is SA. It was a lovely little get together with wine and a stunning view.

Cartoons in Context- Museum Africa

Museum Africa has the most amazing exhibition on at the moment. Its all about political cartoons. Its really fantastic and explains what each cartoon is about so you understand what the context is. They have some really old ones to newish ones that have featured in the Soweton. I can recommend it enough and its free.

Past Experiences Gift Vouchers and Boxes

Why not give someone one of our experiences for Christmas. You can choose one of our budget tours which are presented on a lovely voucher (the date can be chosen by the person later) or our premier choice a beautiful gift box, chocolates, book and voucher for a private tour. Its a really unique and original gift they will never forget!

Imbali Visual literacy Project

When i was at museum Africa the other day I had a look in their shop. They have the most beautiful and unique products. Really stunning printed skirts with a map of Joburg, place mats, embroidered Joburg bags, lights and so much more. They are all part of the Imbali Visual Literacy Project which you can check out at They are based in Newtown and have some studios at the Bus Factory.

Ernest Oppenheimer Park

I cant tell you in words how stunning this park is looking. The art, garden and public spaces are so colourful, stylish and bright! The JDA and City Parks have done an absolutely fantastic job on this rejuvenation project.

Main Street Christmas Decorations

A couple of weeks ago when we were walking down Main Street we were joking around and said that they should put a sleigh behind the Jumping Impala's and put a red nose on one of them. Well they have done something similar- all the Impala and the Leopard Public Art have beautiful bells around their neck and the trees have been wrapped in Shweshwe material.

Ansteys Building

I have written about this building quite a few times but I was able to go the roof of the building (19th floor) the other day and stand next to the spire (not sure if that's the right word). It was the most awesome experience. We are actually doing yoga their on the 12th December as part of our new "Yoga in the City" and "Fit in the City" initiative. It will take place on the 4th floor which has the most amazing view of the building. We are very excited!

Food Wine Design Fair

We went to the opening of the "Food Wine Design Fair" at Hyde Park. It was fun and had some nice stalls but the parking at Hyde Park was a complete mess. We didn't eat much of the food but had an awesome Beer Steph amazing and some fantastic jewelry from Geraldine Fenn who owns Tinsel in beautiful! Their was some great decor items and art. We saw William Kentridge..which was great..I am a big fan particularly his public art- Firewalker.

Mounted Policeman in the City

I was starting my "I Love Joburg Tour" last weekend and we suddenly saw some horses and mounted policeman coming down Market Street. It was lovely to see and later on when we went to the Joburg Art Gallery they were in their horse box as that's where the metro cops are stationed.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Chinatown, New Public Art and Fit in the city

Just thought i would share a couple of things with you very briefly that i have seen in the city recently. The rejuvenation of the Joburg inner city is really happening in a big way at the moment and i am loving the amazing Public art being installed and events going on. My advice to anyone living in JHB who hasn't experienced the city recently is to come on one of our tours and/or just explore your will love it!

Chinatown Dragons
These stunning dragons have recently been put into the old Chinatown in the Inner city. they are really stunning and add to the feel of this historic area! We are going to see them in my Public Art Tour this Sunday if anyone is interested. I love old Chinatown-my favourite part is the Chinese has the most amazing tea caddies, tea pots, tea's and so much more!

The coolest graffiti ...ever
While exploring with one of my fav people Tania- we found this amazing Graffiti! It is totally District 9 themed and even features a prawn or in the words of Wikus van der Merwe "a fokking prawn". So AWESOME! I wonder what genius did it!

Miss Diagonal
Tania and I have started a small business called Miss Diagonal in our spare time. We are selling some great unique and super funky accessories, off the hook 1980's earrings and the occasional item of clothing..and all at a great price! We are selling our items via Facebook, private little get togethers and our new blog ( ). Its not totally up and running but it will be within the next few days.

Oppenheimer Park
I have written about it before but since a whole lot of new art has been added i thought i would mention it again. Harry Oppenheimer Park behind the old post office has had a total makeover in the last few months and it is so fantastic. In the last couple of weeks the JDA has put in a whole lot of new art including a wooden post office, some springboks (a tribute to the Impala statue that was once in the park but now in Main street) and a whole lot more. Check it out ASAP! We are also going to try and take a look at it this weekend in my public art tour if time allows!

Fit in the City
Yesterday was the first in I hope many of our "Fit in the City" events. We started with a 5km walk around the city. We had 16 people which was great. Our youngest members were a 10 week old miniature pug and a toddler in a pushchair. We are hoping to do a jog in the near future as well as Yoga in the City over December. We will also be doing another walk on Sunday 28th! The aim of this is to use the city in a different way..not just for tours..but make it an integral part of all our lives.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Another week in the Joburg Inner City!!!!

I have had another busy week in the inner city.

It all started last week Friday when we went to the Alex Nash exhibition at the Grayscale gallery in Braamfontein.

Alex Nash exhibition/ Grayscale Gallery- Braamfontein/The Guildhall

Alex Nash's customised sneakers are awesome and he has been part of a really interesting heritage project where he designed a shoe for every cultural group in South Africa. The Ndebele shoe was my favourite. The event was also really fun as it was sponsored by Vitamin Water and Millers. We met some randoms at the party and had quite a few drinks. It was really fun. Afterwards we were really hungry and in need of a few more drinks so we went to one of my fav bars- The Guildhall. Always fun and the owner always gives us something on the house- he is an awesome host.

Saturday in the City

Constitution Hill/Windybrow Theatre/ Jag/ Fordsburg/ Braamfontein Cemetery

On Saturday I had an awesome day exploring the city with my boyfriend Monkey/Justin and my friend Tania. They have a company called Shutterproof Photography that specialises in Joburg Inner City and event photography. They wanted to take some pics and so of course I had to tag along. We first went to Constitution Hill and took pics from the top of the old fort-great view of the city. We also had a look at one of my favourite public artworks- The Angel of the North. We then went for a drive around Hillbrow and ended up at the Windybrow Theatre (once the home of mining engineer Theodore Reunert and now a theatre) which is currently being renovated. Its a really unique old building with a great history. I also like how it is still used and serves an important role for the surrounding community. I have wanted to check out the new Ernest Cole Exhibition at the Jag for a couple of weeks and so we stopped their next. If I had to describe it in one word i would definitely say...WOW. It is so fantastic and a very thought provoking look at what it meant to be black under Apartheid. By this time we were really hungry and tired so we decided to go to Fordsburg for lunch. I had an amazing bunnychow (curry in a loaf of bread for the non South Africans) and then we went and got some traditional Indian cakes for later in the day. We had decided to go home but as we drove past Braamfontein Cemetery we decided to go and have a look around as it is Joburg's oldest cemetery. It was a really great look at our history with many well know figures graves as well as many men killed in WW2 and the Boer War. As you can imagine after such a busy day I went home and passed out...walking around with crutches and a moonboot is so tiring.

A Crazy Tuesday afternoon in the Inner City

Barbican, Ansteys, His Majestys Building and the Reef Hotel

On Tuesday my sister Sarah who is a journalist invited me along to a meeting with an architect in the inner city. The architect Brian Mckechnie is really passionate about the inner city and has had a lot of involvement in many heritage and inner city projects. His main inner city "baby" is the Anstays Building which i have written about before. He offered to take us on a visit to his building and on the way we were walking past the Barbican when the builder who knows Brian Offered to take us in. Anybody who really knows me or has been on a tour knows that this is my absolute favourite city building and so this is probably the most awesome thing ever! It is absolutely amazing inside and the builders attention to detail is great. We then went on a tour of the Ansteys building and got to go into the original Anstey familys apartment...very awesome. It really is an amazing building. My second favourite building in the city is His Majestys Building. I have wanted to go and explore it for ages as i heard that the old theatre was still inside. We decided to go and explore and so we phoned the lady in charge of the building who might actually be insane. When we got into her office I felt like I was in trouble at school. The building looks really awful inside as it is filled with horrible 1970's prefab..yuck. But all is not lost as the 13th floor is still looking amazing. Lots of wood paneling. Afterwards all this inner city fun we went for a drink at the Guildhall and then stopped in at the new Reef Hotel. Its stunning and the bar is great. They make a great whisky shooter. They also have plans to put a bar in on the roof...I cant wait as the view is awesome.

Every time I am in the city I realise how much I love it. I find myself getting more and more passionate about the history, buildings, people and future rejuvenation of the Joburg Inner City. Ill write again soon...

Images by Shutterproof Photography

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Art, Buildings, Soccer, Zingara and a Moonboot- Two weeks in Jozi!

I have had some awesome fun in the "City of Gold" in the last couple of usual. So please check out whats been happening in my life and in Johannesburg!

School Tour of FNB Stadium with 124 kids
I was contacted a few months ago by a small rural school in Hobhouse in the Freestate. They were interested in a tour of some of Johannesburg's stadium's. We put a few packages together which they could choose from but they could only take the most simple package (tour of FNB Stadium) we offered due to a serious lack of funds. My company Past Experiences then decided to sponsor the kids worksheets, pens and party packs. We were lucky enough to get additional funding by our bookkeeper which meant that we could give them really awesome party packs. A few days before the school visit we went on a tour at the stadium ourselves. Its really fun as you get to go behind the scenes and see the change rooms, VIP areas and so much more. The kids then went on a similar tour a couple of days later but were lucky enough to have it done in Zulu as English isn't their home language. The kids and teachers had an absolutely awesome time at the stadium and were so appreciative of their worksheets and packs. I would love to organise more tours like this particularly for underprivileged schools. If anyone is interested in funding an outing we would be happy to organise the schools and events!

Fashion Kapitol Update
I did an inner city shopping tour a couple of weeks ago and was so excited to see that the new "Fashion Kapitol" development in the city is starting to open and has some exciting tenants. My favourite so far is the "Fashion Shack" which has the most stunning shweshwe clutch purses! I bought one for a friends birthday and now i want one as well.

Beautiful Building in Fox Street
I was in the CBD doing research the other day and stumbled into the most stunning building! I wish i could live in it...the green tiles and roof are just stunning.

Creative Jozi- A Public Art Tour of the Inner City
I will be doing a public art tour of the city this Sunday the 3rd of October. I will write more about it afterwards but just thought I would give it a quick mention as Joburg has such a stunning array of art dotted around the city and I am just so proud of it!

Madame Zingara
I was lucky enough to go to the opening night of Madame Zingara last weekend. It is absolutely amazing! It takes place in an old circus tent (apparently one of the last remaining mirror tents in the world) and basically you are treated to the most amazing circus/ performance. It is so stylish and reminds me of an old carnival or the circus in "Big Fish". The service is fantastic and the food is Delicious-mezze platter, ravioli, Thai green curry (or for the meat eaters chocolate chili steak) and an array of little puddings! I have heard that it can be quite pricey but i cant recommend it enough! Madame Zingara simply rocks. It will be in Joburg until February so go and check it out!

My Moonboot!
And finally (but maybe most importantly as it effects every single thing I do for the next 6 weeks) I am now wearing one of those moonboot/cast things! Last week Tuesday i basically fell over myself at my parents house and I have fractured two bones in my big really badly (basically crushed it) and the other just a normal fracture. It was so painful and now i have to wear this moonboot for 6 weeks but i have blinged it up with some stickers to cheer me up. Also my job is all about walking around the inner city and my bar job is also about moving! So basically I am screwed but thats life and I am just going to have to make a plan.

So from a hobbling Joburg Tour Guide..write soon!

(Please note- some of the pictures (the better ones basically) were taken by Justin Du Piesanie of Shutterproof Photography)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Jozi's Spring Awesomeness!!

I Love Hot Weather! Everything is so much better when the weather is fantastically warm. Joburg has seen the change in seasons in the last couple of weeks and I'm sure most people are LOVING it! With the World Cup over, Past Experiences has been really quite so after doing some marketing I am now working on new products and doing research. I have been super busy as usual in and around Joburg with some great events and visits so please check it out:

Braamfontein Rejuvination
I dont know if anyone has been to Braamfontein recently but it is looking fantastic. Their are some great regeneration projects going all over the area. I went on a walk about with South Point the other day and saw some of the work in the area. i don't want to forget the smaller independent projects going on but because the walk around was with South Point that's what I am going to focus on. The have done some amazing projects in the area and have loads of things planned. They have new bars, a gym, student accommodation and loads more. What i like about what they are doing is that it isn't aimed at wealthy people who want to live in expensive inner city loft apartments and go to fancy restaurants and art gallery's. Their apartments etc are aimed at University students and the prices are budget but everything is really young and stylish. My favourite South Point project is definitely Hotel lamunu. Its awesome. Every floor is dedicated to a famous Wits Graduate. The rooms are small but lovely and the restaurant is really cute. They have the best bran muffins I have ever tasted! Yum...cant wait to go back. Don't forget we do an awesome tour of the area called "Bustling Braamfontein" which looks at the history and future of Braamfontein.

Sci-Bono Murder Mystery Evening
We went to such an unique evening at the Science museum in Newtown a couple of weeks ago. They had a Murder Mystery evening.I should say that I am the hugest Agatha Christie fan and i love mystery novels so i loved it. Me and Tania (one of my favourite friends) got so into solving the murder. We got to look at the murder scene and then question the "staff" who were around on the night. We didn't win but it was loads of fun.

The Sketchbook Project 2011
I have been teaching myself to draw/ paint/ sketch recently. I did art for matric but we had a really substandard teacher and when you have to do art according to a deadline and for marks...its not so fun! I haven't really done any art for about 8 years and so I am definitely out of practise. Its been loads of fun just painting whatever I like. The reason i am "finding my inner artist" at the moment is because I am taking part in the Sketchbook Project. This is a project where you get sent a sketchbook from America, you choose a theme and then can basically do whatever you like to fill it up. You then send it back to them and it goes on a touring exhibition through America. The sketchbooks will end up in the Brooklyn Art Library. My theme is "'d be home by now" and I am so excited!

Northcliff Hill
I know that I have written about Northcliff hill before but it has such a stunning view. We (me, My boyfriend Justin and best friend Kezhia) drove up to the top of the hill to look at the view on Saturday. Its stunning! Their is also a security guard their on a Saturday so its a safe and cheap way to spend an afternoon.

Breakfast with Alex in her stunning garden
We went for breakfast at my friend Alex's house on Sunday. Alex is a chef and cooks the most awesome food. We had flapjacks and they were too Delicious for words!Alex's mom Sally has the most stunning garden and the flowers and trees in the garden at the moment are so beautiful! We are actually going back this afternoon to take photos. Joburg is springtime is just the best!

Joburg Theatre Complex
I went on a great walk around of the Joburg Theatre Complex (old Civic Theatre)yesterday. We went backstage and onto the stage which was really interesting and fun. The props for the pantomime are already their..the giant sparkly clams and pirate boat are so fun. At the moment a musical version of Jock of the Bushveld is on and the stage (set designed by Stan Knight) looks really great. I loved the tulle trees that looked so real from far away! Past Experiences is definitely going to do a tour here soon.

Liliesleaf Farm
If you know me at all, you know how passionate I am about South Africa, Joburg and its past. One of the many parts of our history I am fascinated by is the Rivonia Treason Trial and Liliesleaf Farm. I watched a 3 part series on the events and now I'm hooked! I think Nelson Mandela's words at the trial are probably some of the most important and inspirational ever said in our history:

"During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to the struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die." Nelson Mandela (Rivonia Treason Trial)

Liliesleaf Farm is where many of those sentenced at the Rivonia Treason Trial were caught and is such a fantastic place to visit. I loved all of it but my favourite part was the vehicle that was used by Umkhonto We Sizwe (ANC armed wing)to bring weapons into the country in the 1980's. Its cover was a Safari Vehicle and all the tourists on board had no idea they were sitting on limpet Mines and AK47's. Its pretty crazy but really fascinating. We will also be doing a tour of this site soon!

Ill write again soon...The Joburg Tour Guide

Friday, August 20, 2010

Jozi- Two Weeks of Fun

I have been so busy the last couple of weeks I haven't had any time to write. Just thought i would take some time out to blog about the fun events I have been lucky enough to be part of recently...maybe it will inspire someone to venture out into the city and try some of them.

Westcliff Heritage walk- Citadels of Commerce
Two Saturdays ago I joined Westcliff Heritage on a fun walk through the city. It focused on old department store type shops that used to be in the inner city. I was pretty tired as I had worked at my "other job" bar tending at Tokyo Star Greenside the night before and only got home at 4h00. I then got up at 7h00 to do one of my shopping tours in the inner city which was really fun but I was starting to feel the ZZZZ coming on by the time the Westcliff Tour started. It was really interesting though, very different to what i do as the tour focused mainly on architecture which i do to a lesser extent. I like the past, present and future of the city with a focus on city rejuvenation. I also like the exciting juicy gossipy accounts of history...always very interesting. An awesome part of the experience was that their were a lot of older Joburgers on the tour, some of whom even remembered some of the shops and old hotels. I love people's first hand accounts of history. I would also just like to mention that Westcliff Heritage does some awesome work in the city. They really try and look after some beautiful and important parts of our history when no one else does. I am in awes of the heritage work they do!

Party, Party, Party!!
After the Westcliff walk, I went to my best friend Kezhia's house for her sister Perdi's birthday party. Everyone had to bring a different bottle of booze for cocktails. Cocktails are always really dangerous as they taste so sweet that I never think their is an alcohol in them and so drink way to much. I also kept adding vodka to every drink I had! It was really fun but definitely got a little ridiculous! What I also really like about going to Kezhia's house is that their is such a mixed race group of people...its great! Although the next day was pretty bad...I have definitely felt better.

My first Gautrain Experience
Finally went on the was awesome. My boyfriend Justin's parents live in Kempton so we took the Gautrain to Rhodesfield station. They picked us up and we had a braai with them. We then got dropped off at the station and went back to Sandton. It looks fantastic...its like being in London on the Underground. It was also surprising, that their were so many locals using it to get from Kempton to Sandton for a day of shopping.

Bafana Bafana VS Ghana at Soccer City
What a fantastic Experience! We went to the match for my uncle's birthday and it was so much fun. We parked at Park Station and then got the Metro train to the stadium. Their is a prophetic car guard at the station who told us Bafana would win 1-0. And he was totally right. Park station is looking fantastic and we even had dinner their. The train ride to the match was full of "gees" and it was so much easier than going in the car. The match was fantastic- loads of Vuvuzelas and flags. I finally supported a team that won which was a first.

MTV Squared
I have recently found an awesome bar in Dobsonville Soweto. Its a family run bar and just has such an awesome feel. It is in a converted garage in true Soweto Style. Its called MTV Squared and is just off Elias Motsoaledi Road. The drinks are cheap, the food good and the surrounding community is so welcoming...cant wait to go back!

Vilakazi Street Public Art
I am a huge fan of public art and Vilakazi street in Soweto has some fairly new art that is just really stunning. Great for all those photographers out their. My favourite one is of the sign language hands spelling out the name of the street. For any foreigners reading this blog Vilakazi Street is the only street in the world that has been home to two Nobel Peace Prize winners- Nelson Mandela and Bishop Tutu.

Regina Mundi Church
I have been spending quite a lot of time in Soweto recently, so just thought I would mention my favourite place to visit in Soweto- Regina Mundi. This church isn't just a tourist attraction but rather it is also a working church that plays a huge role in the surrounding community. Regina Mundi (which means Mother of the World in Latin) played a huge role in the 1976 student uprising and the anti-apartheid struggle in general. Danny the caretaker/guide at the church is my favourite site guide and is totally legendary.

Lekgotla- Africa's Dining Room
An archaeologist friend from Canada (Jane) stayed with us a couple of nights this last week and wanted to take us out for dinner. We wanted to try something different and we never go to Sandton so we decided to try out Lekgotla (Tswana for meeting place) on Sandton Square which i have been dying to go to. It was so stunning- lovely decoration, ambiance and the food was totally out of this world. I had a meze type platter with Ethiopian flat bread, hummus, marmalade, roast veg and babaganoush..yum! Thanks Jane...cant wait to go back!

Write again soon...The Joburg Tour Guide

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Inner City Fashion District and so much more!

Well the World Cup is over which is sad as my company Past Experiences was really really busy and I met some fantastic visitors on our inner city, Soweto and archaeological tours! I think Joburg did an awesome job in hosting so many people...and I think it highlighted that Gauteng can be a world class tourist destination...and not just a stop over!

I have had a busy couple of weeks since then so read on and maybe it will give you some ideas about what Joburg (and South I have mentioned Mapungubwe this week) has to offer!

The Fashion District
I spent a couple of hours in one of the most stunning parts of inner city Joburg yesterday- The Fashion District. Historically this area was home to the fashion industry, textile factories, tailors and seamstresses but when the inner city went into a downturn in the 1980's and 1990's many of these business moved out of the city and this area was a bit of a no go area for many. But things are really looking up for the Fasion District. Their are numerous rejuvenation schemes going on- renovated buildings,a hotel, a sewing school and of course Fashion Kapitol. This is an awesome new redevelopment dedicated to fashion that even has an outdoor fashion catwalk! Cant wait for it to open!

The fashion District is also home to some beautiful buildings- many of them Art absolute favourite period. One of the most stunning is the Gallo Building which was built in the 1920's to house Eric Gallo's record shop. In the 1930's a recording studio was added and in the 1940's renovations took place that changed the buildings outer facade to an Art Deco Revival Style (info from Westcliff Heritage Plaque).

Their are some great shops in the area- many of which we visit on our inner city shopping tour (I Love Shopping). Their is a fantastic bag shop, haberdashery that sells the most extensive collection of shweshwe I have ever seen, sewing machine shops, a fantastic little shop that sells only pashmina's. I even bought a shweshwe hat for R10 from a lady selling hats on the side of the road. Their is also a great new little cafe called SunMoon on Troy Street that sells the most delicious curry's and roti and its very very budget friendly!

Hats and Overalls!
I also recently discovered two great new shops next door to each other in the inner city. They for me represent why the Joburg CBD is so important and special. D&H Milner is a small shop not to far from the Carlton Centre that specialises in ladies overalls and uniforms. They have been around for over 4 decades and basically sell the Rolls Royce of ladies uniforms. They are all designed and made on site. Next door is the absolutely charming Gauteng Hats which is about 30 years old. This little shop is like walking back in time and you can buy beautiful gloves and hats..they even have the original shop counters! I have officially fallen in love!

Rissik Street Post Office
Many of our inner city tours start in Rissik Street which is home to some beautiful buildings. Probably most famous is the Rissik Street Post Office which was badly damaged by a fire last year. It has been sitting ever since in an awful state and we owe this important part of our history so much more! Flo Bird and Westcliff Heritage are really trying to do their part in getting the building fixed. They need as much support as possible.

Ernest Oppenheimer Park
But its not all doom and gloom in the Rissik Street area. City Parks has recently done the most beautiful renovation and restorations of a park directly behind the post office. Ernest Oppenheimer Park is looking fantastic. The gardens are stunning, their is a new basketball court and they have put in some fantastic new public art which is all about Jozi and Egoli....go and check it out ASAP!

Stargazing at Forum Homini
I was lucky enough to go to a Standard Bank Private Banking function with my dad this last week at Forum Homini in the Cradle of Humankind. It was a stargazing event and was really fun. We had great food and drinks- potato and apple soup, risotto, sorbet and an awesome whisky and rooibos drink. We then got to look at Saturn, the moon and even saw the space shuttle go over! I would love to see and know more about the planets and stars.

Save Mapungubwe
I know that my blog is about Joburg but this week I am also adding a little bit about my second favourite place in the world (other than Jozi) and that is the Limpopo province, in particular the Mapungubwe National Park (near to the Zim border). I went their for a long weekend recently after the World Cup. We stayed on the SAN Parks accommodation and it was fantastic! This park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as it is home to the first known Southern African complex civilisation...first sacred leadership, first palace...and the list of firsts go on. This area is an integral part of South Africa's history and everyone should have to go and see it! Why I am also writing about it this week is because the park's nature and culture is being severely threatened by an Australian company "COAL of Africa" which is starting a mine in the area that is going to endanger the park! Something has to be please check out this link and sign the petition... It is saddening when all people care about is saving money and not at all about culture and our past!

I have a busy couple of weeks coming up as usual so expect another jam packed blog soon!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Great happenings around Jozi!

Just a quick post about some special people, places and programmes happening in Johannesburg. I have seen some great stuff on my travels about town recently and just thought I should share these with as many people as possible

Firstly just a big shout out to the Carlton Centre "Top of Africa" and their staff. The "Top of Africa" is the 50th floor viewing deck of the infamous Carlton Centre in downtown Johannesburg. The view is unbeatable and I can’t recommend it enough to anyone who lives in Jozi or is visiting our fair city. They also have such awesome and caring staff- the ticket sellers, security staff and cleaning ladies. Everyone is great and they have been so helpful over the World Cup period that I really can’t thank them enough.

The Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG) is, as always looking fantastic. This gallery is special for so many reasons. They play a large role in the surrounding community and the gallery is always full of local kids drawing and just generally having a great time. If only more museums and art gallery's could have an open door policy to their community. The gallery staff is also fantastic- they are sooo welcoming when you enter the gallery, they know a lot about what’s on show and are just generally great. And finally the JAG is fantastic because their exhibits are always changing. At the moment their is some unmissable stuff on show- William Kentridges "I am not me, the horse is not mine", "Borders-Bamako Photographic Biennale" and "Without masks- a collection of Afro-Cuban art". If you have some spare time over the weekend..go and check it out!

I took a tour at the Apartheid Museum last week and was luck enough to take a look at the Nelson Mandela Exhibit that is on at the moment. It really is absolutely fantastic. Its all about Mandela from his birth, growing up, his life in Joburg, his family and so much more. The video footage of him is also fantastic! I can’t wait to go back and take another look. The book shop and restaurant are also looking great and it would be great way to spend a weekend afternoon.

I also thought I would talk about a great initiative/ programme (brought to Joburg by Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela)that is taking place in the inner city called City Year. It is a great national youth service programme that engages youth in a year of voluntary service and leadership development. Basically school leavers, become involved for a year on a voluntary basis facilitating after school programmes. They wear a very specific uniform (khaki pants and red jacket) that makes their presence in the city felt. I see them nearly every time I am in the city. It is great for the youth involved but also for city rejuvenation. Well-done to the "City Year" participants and organisers.

This is a generalisation but generally people living in Joburg are really it the weather? Anyway often when I take international visitors around the city, we have a great random meeting with awesome and friendly locals. It always makes me proud to be from the city of gold. I met some great people in Newtown at the Brenda Fassie statue/ public art yesterday. They were posing with Brenda's statue and so we ended up taking pics of them and joining them in some photo's. I told them I would put them in the blog so a big shout out to BOOM2WIN and Sis FAITH!

So until next time...go explore and have fun in Joburg!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ivory Coast VS Brazil!

I went to my first and only World Cup match on Sunday. It was so awesome and now I wish that I was going to more matches!

The match was Ivory Coast VS Brazil. We obviously supported Ivory Coast as they are an African team and I am proudly African. It did make me a little sad to see so many South African people supporting Brazil and not an African country. That said the Brazil fans were great anyway and the spirit was fantastic!

We all got dressed up in the colours of the Ivory Coast Team and even had our faces looked great. We went to the match on one of the metro buses from Wits university. It was a totally stress free and I recommend it to anyone needing to get to a World Cup Match.

We got to the match early, got some beer (R30 for a Budweiser!), some dinner and then really got to be part of the spirit with the fans. We got involved with a Brazilian marching band, did some vuvezeling (me very badly), met fans from both sides and had our pictures taken by some international press!

The game then was awesome! We got to see Drogba score a goal and even though we lost, it was still great. I was also surprised how quickly it went. I think that I may now be a soccer fan! I definitely enjoy it more than rugby!

My best experience is when i met a "Brazilian guy" at the match. He thought I was from the Ivory Coast, I thought he was we took a picture together. Turns out his name is Llewellyn and he is from Montgomery Park...we live in neighbouring suburbs and we are both South African! It was really funny!

The World Cup is great and who knows...maybe I will make it to Brazil for the next one!