Category Archives: Jozi

My dream living room is a quirky one

I never thought of myself as quirky, but as I have grown as a Designer, I find myself more and more drawn to the unusual.

General Geography Lamp

One of my designs – a desk lamp made out of a used book-end (Lilly Loompa)

So much so, that I am trying to break away from the traditional in so many areas of my life. Some may think I am a rebel, but maybe I just don’t like the conventional. Conventional is boring!

My most recent stint to fuel my hunger for the off-beat, is my home. My family and I live in a shipping container, called “House Madeline“.

It is far from complete, but it is a labour of love. We have been living in this home for close to 2 years and have recently shipped it to our home province, the Western Cape, where we live in it now.

As mentioned, it is far from complete. We have big plans to make it a comfortable, yet stylish home with personality! (maybe my personality…don’t tell my husband!)

Another design inspired by the environment I find myself in…Jozi Art (Lilly Loompa)

I want our house to reflect our true style and personality. I want it to be filled with items that make me happy and pieces that tell a story…just like my furniture pieces. So I have some ideas of what our living room should look like:

Crushing on Marissa Tomei’s apartment

I love Marissa Tomei’s style (not to mention that she is my hubby’s TV crush!). I really like the animal-skin tripod chair and the lamp, they add a uniqueness to her apartment.

I love retro furniture, especially this couch!

Again, above the natural elements speak to me! The nguni skin rug and the leather couch make the space feel warm and inviting.

The artwork is unique but unified by framing it all in black

Light and airy spaces are essential for me.

Patterns, texture and plants are also non-negotiable!

I have recently seen a beautiful couch on Arhaus. I have decided to build a mood board around it:

Neutral colours for the base furnishings

 

Continuation with neutral colours and pops of turquiose

Colourful accents

Obviously these are ideas of what I would want to see in our living room. As a Eco-Designer, I have to stay true to my values and principles by re-using and buying green products. But I will use this as my guide for inspiration.

Have you designed your dream space? Are you living in it right now? Would love to hear from you! 🙂

Sources: Lilly Loompa, Arhaus, Nkuli Mlangeni, Marisa Tomei 

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The perfect holiday

Holidays could possibly be the best thing ever. Perfect vacations are meant to be care-free and unworried. It could be sunny days spent in some exotic place…far away from the norm of life, or even cold, snowy days warming up by the fireplace.

Some people live for the December or Christmas holidays. They are typically very special times spent with family and friends. Some of us go home (if we live in another city or country), or some of us choose to travel to a holiday destination preferably close to a body of water.

We just had a perfect holiday. When we left Jozi for Nelspruit, our faded skins were craving the cool splash of chlorine or salt water. We fought the scorching hot days by lazing in the pool and allowed the sun to kiss our skin. We slept in most mornings and had late nights eating good food with good friends, laughing and sometimes debating current issues. I started reading several books but haven’t finished any. I ate whatever I wanted to, whenever I wanted. I hardly checked my phone or replied to messages…not to mention social media. Some days I brushed my hair, other days I didn’t. In fact, how silly of me to pack my hairdryer and straightening iron to a hot, humid province like Mpumalanga. I am not ashamed to say, I went curly the whole holidays. Isn’t that the point of a holiday…breaking away from the norm?  Travelling is meant to broaden your mind…and also giving it a rest.

Although I am sad that I didn’t spent the holidays with my family (who I will see in a few weeks time), it still was perfect. I am grateful for our hospitable friends who have now become family, and so graciously opened their beautiful home to us Jozi-slickers. 🙂

Holiday snapshot

Holiday snapshot

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The daily storm

Storm ~ {A violent weather condition with winds 64-72 knots (11 on the Beaufort scale) and precipitation and thunder and lightning}

The storm brings mixed emotions to my door. Customary to the Joburg summer weather, the morning fetches sunshine and within hours the sky turns black. The darkness sometimes brings feelings of sadness and maybe a hint of depression. If I had any doubt in my mind, the thunder and lightning reminds me that there is a God…a powerful being behind all of creation, the ultimate reason why I exist.

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the storm is coming…(taken in Kuilsriver in 2008)

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Get ready

The trees sway in the wind as the rain pours down…it sometimes gets violent.  Hurriedly I close the windows…and immediately my late Grandma Ryce’s words come to mind: “The Lord speaks to us through the storm. Sit still and listen.” She was wise. She understood authority and surrendered her life to Him long ago. Her life speaks of honor and the fact that she passed at the ripe age of 101 this year, is a testimony to His Word. What is He trying to say to me through this storm? The daily storm is a reminder of His greatness. It is also a reminder of His daily grace. Just as the rain brings life to the parched ground, His grace is to me. As I turned a year older this week, I believe I have become wiser and as I sit still and listen, joy overtakes me and I am grateful all over again.

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Letter to an unsuspecting thief

Thief/skelm/trouble-maker/ bandit/crook/outlaw _{A criminal who takes property belonging to someone else with the intention of keeping it or selling it.}

Dear thief

Thanks to you, we now have electric fencing.  My fellow Joburgers cynically frown and me when they hear we have been living without all this time.

 

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Ironically the ticking of the energizer box is lulling me to sleep.  The very same thing I have been fighting is now a source of comfort.  Who would have thought that we would go to measures this extreme?  After all, I am just a girl from the Winelands.  Where I am from, people don’t even have security bars on their windows. People literally don’t lock their doors at night.  And why should that be unusual?  The thieves I encountered back there were literally small town fry.  They would steal my broom or a few logs of wood from my pile in the back yard to make a fire for the night.  Sounds harmless yes, but it still doesn’t make it right.

What would bring you to the place that makes you think it is ok to steal, or to commit a crime? What happened in your life that would incite you to break and enter a stranger’s property and invade their privacy? You convince yourself that I am better off than you, and at the time of going through my personal belongings, you do it because you feel a sense of entitlement…you feel it is ok to take from me?

Have you ever considered that I am just also the average South African? Trying to live an honest and respectable life? I am also just trying to give my children the best life I can. And yes, I realise you will try and defend your actions and justify it by saying I am more privileged than you.  What does that mean? How do you define privileged? Yes I was privileged to have parents that cared for me. My parents have always lived a modest life.  They have always tried their best to give us a good life.  They reared us to be honest and hardworking.  We never lived lavishly and my father still makes an honest living as a builder.  He believes in using his skill and trade to put food on the table.  And if you knew his background…he had all the reason in the world to become a criminal.  But he chose not to.  Let me focus on the words chose, or choose, or choices.

You see, life consists of making decisions and choices every day.  It is a part of life.  Some are so trivial and insignificant, we don’t even think about making them.  Others are life-changing; choosing your life partner, where to live and what job to take.  And yes, maybe you haven’t been offered a job.  But maybe you haven’t really tried to work your God-given gift? I am sure you are nifty with your hands.  After all, you managed to swiftly break my security gate’s lock? You have a very clever and crafty mind.  So crafty, you manage to escape our wonderful enforcers of the law time and time again.

You chose to steal from me on three occasions this year alone.  And every time you caught me off-guard…totally unsuspecting (and maybe naive).

You think to yourself: “Aaah man, they have insurance…they are sorted!” It is not that simple.  Have you considered how your acts of violation have affected me and my family? Did you stop to consider how your actions would affect the mental well-being of my daughter when she found out you took her school shoes that her aunty bought for her so lovingly? And the stupid act of taking her well-deserved Certificate of Achievement she received earlier this year for academic progress? Have you considered that her name is on the piece of paper and that unlike the TV you took, you cannot sell it?  It is of absolute no value to you!

As a 1st grader, she took part in the athletics for the first time in her life.  And you had the audacity to steal her bronze medal she received for 3rd place.

Have you considered that she is just a child?  How long do you think you can keep up this dishonest lifestyle? Do you ever stop to consider that the choices you make have repercussions? And yes, you haven’t been caught.  Unfortunately you will get caught one day.  Have you thought about how that would influence the family you support by living your dishonest lifestyle?

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Think about how your children will grow up without their daddy because he is in prison. They could end up resenting you for putting them under the same curse and cycle. Children need their fathers to affirm them and their self-worth.  Without your verbal affirmation, they might become a statistic just like you…a person with no positive social impact…an outcast.

I know your life is a mess.  I know you think I have no clue what you have been through.  You think I have had it easy.  Boy, you have no idea! Life is challenging!  We all make our way on this highway of life, and we all get thrown curveballs, but we all choose how we want to live it.  Sometimes we make mistakes…but there is always grace to correct it.

In short…I get you.  I hear you.  I want you to hear me…I choose to forgive you.

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Wimbledon in Jozi (A world in Jozi)

@ I was driving around again.

Around Jozi you can experience all kinds of sights. As mentioned before…I am intrigued by  the different styles of architecture.  We as a city have been influenced by cultures all over the world.

I have heard someone mention once that Joburg is a melting pot of cultures.  I agree.

I saw this colonial-style house for the first time a few years ago as we renovated for a client just opposite the street.  It immediately transported me to Wimbledon 2005.  Hubby and I backpacked through Europe and found ourselves meandering through the leafy streets of the village of Wimbledon.  It was inspiring and surreal.

This home immediately transports me to that memory:

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I love the well-kept grounds and garden.

Wonder what treasure I will find next!

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A world in Jozi

It is wet in Jozi.

* I mean really wet!

It has been raining for days on end…and the roads are extremely congested and flooded.  This morning while on the road, I sat it out for nearly 2 hours waiting for the rush to slowly go by.

It is interesting to drive through the streets and observe the different styles of homes.  It is particularly interesting to see how some homes look like they do not really belong…but they conjure up imaginings of either previous era’s or distant places.

This one grabs me everyday:

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This villa is less than 2 kilometers from my home, but instantly transports me to Tuscany, Italy.  It is dilapidated and rugged…almost like the owners forgot about it.  Or maybe left it to decay on purpose.

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It is mysterious and illusive.  I always wonder what lie behind those blue-grey doors.  Maybe I will stop one day and find out.

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On top of Africa: Almost touching the sky

Skyscraper ~{A very tall building with many stories}

Last week for my hubby’s birthday, we decided to have breakfast in the city.  Although I have been in the Carlton Centre a few times, I have not taken any leisure time to really explore.

The Carlton Centre, with 50 stories, is the tallest building in Africa, and has been for the last 39 years. Yes, not much to brag about when you take into consideration that the tallest skyscraper in the world, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.  At over 828 metres (2,716.5 feet) and more than 160 stories, our little Carlton Centre seems minute.

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Burj Khalifa

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View of the city from my home

Anyhow…excitement ran high as we made our quick ascend to the 50th floor.  The views are spectacular!

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Western region of the city. Ghandi square is clearly visible.

Hubby visited Chicago a few weeks ago and this was the picture he took while on top of the Willis Tower.

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View from Willis Tower, Chicago.

I know, our buildings look like Mickey Mouse playhouses.  However, our city is also strong.  In the space of a century, the Johannesburg city has been rebuilt four times: first it was a tented camp, then a town of tin shanties, then of four-storey Edwardian brick buildings, then a city of modern skyscrapers. (http://www.jda.org.za/fast-facts)

A few surprising facts you didn’t know about Johannesburg:

  1. Even though Johannesburg is well over 120 years old (founded on 4 October 1886 during the gold rush), it is still one of the youngest major cities in the world.
  2. There is only one other city on the continent that is bigger than Joburg, and that is the bustling metropolis of Cairo in Egypt. Johannesburg is the second biggest city on Africa.
  3. The Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital is the largest acute hospital in the world, with 2 964 beds, is the only public hospital serving the 3.5 million people in Soweto, Johannesburg.
  4. Johannesburg is the world’s biggest man-made forest, with over 10 million trees. This number is set to grow, as City Parks launched the Greening Soweto project in 2006, with the goal of planting an extra 200 000 trees in the famous township. Not only do Joburg’s trees combat the greenhouse effect, they help reduce noise in this ‘urban jungle’.
  5. Johannesburg is the world’s largest city not built on a coastline, or on a lake or river. That’s why Joburg is also called the world’s biggest ‘dry port’. More than half of the cargo that arrives through the ports of Durban and Cape Town arrives at the container terminal at City Deep.
  6. With the rich archaeological site known as the Cradle of Humankind on the outskirts of the city, it’s not surprising that 40% of the planet’s human ancestor fossils have been discovered in the Jo’burg area.
  7.  At 269m high, the Hillbrow Tower is the tallest structure in Johannesburg. It used to have a revolving restaurant at the top, before it was closed down in 1981 for safety reasons. It is a prominent feature in the city’s beautiful skyline.
  8. The Johannesburg Zoo based in Parktown, is over 100 years old, and houses the only two polar bears in Africa – Geebee (who came from Canada) and Wang (who came from Japan).
  9. OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg – named after the famous former leader of the African National Congress – is the biggest and busiest airport on the continent of Africa. It is estimated that 28 million passengers pass through its terminals every year.
  10. While Johannesburg has a reputation as one of the most dangerous cities in the world, it takes an average of only 60 seconds for police to respond to a crime scene in the central business district (CBD). There is a CCTV system that covers every street corner and scanning vehicle licence plates.
  11. There is also a Johannesburg in California, although it only has a population of 176 people (2000 census). It was named by miners who had worked in the gold mines of Johannesburg, South Africa.
  12. It takes one-minute longer to boil an egg in Johannesburg than it does in the coastal cities of Cape Town and Durban. This is because Joburg is 2000m above sea level, and the air is not as dense.
  13. The Shaft of Terror, located at the popular amusement park of Gold Reef City, is a vertical-drop roller coaster that has the distinction of being the tallest and fastest roller coaster in Africa. It has a 47-metre drop, and a G force of over 6 Gs!
  14. Johannesburg is the home of Kwaito music, a catchy genre of African house music that was born in the 90s and has become a South African phenomenon. It is most famous for its catchy lyrics that embody post-apartheid township culture.
  15. While Johannesburg is also known as the City of Gold, or ‘eGoli’ because of its beginnings as a gold-mining town, it is known fondly to locals by the shortened ‘Joburg’, or now more popularly as ‘Jozi’.

There you go! More views of my beloved city…

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North-western view. Far at the back you can see Auckland Park and the Sentech Tower

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Antique telescope. It still has Afrikaans print on it and the old cents. It is still in working order but you do not have to pay to view…which is a bargain!

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Eastern view. In the distance you can see the area where I live.

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Rooftops

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The two most iconic buildings of the Jozi skyline. The Ponte Tower and the Telkom Tower

Besides the fact that the top floor needs an urgent revamp, this experience was so refreshing.  With that said…it was extremely clean…the decaying floors shone like diamonds.  The Carlton Centre is an understated gem.  It cost only R15,00 ($1.50).  Super cheap and unexpected.

The visiting hours are 07h00 to 19h00 everyday.

Next expedition is to go at night to get some nice pics of the skyline when the lights are on!

Go on and try it!

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Today was an exceptional day: I met my cyber-buddy face-to-face!

Since I started blogging a whole new world has opened for me.  I met some wonderful people on-line and today I met my first cyber-buddy face to face!

Namita Lad (whatlifesays.wordpress.com) and I met last year, on-line.  We immediately connected and had a lot of similiar interests and viewpoints.  We both were also relatively new to the blogging world.  She lives in India.  Imagine my surprise when she announced she is coming to Joburg, South Africa for a whole year on a work assignment!

We stayed connected and really tried to meet, but you know how it goes.  Time passed and life became busy.  But alas!  Today we met in person!  Whoop-whoop!

Namita and I

Namita and I

Now, obviously it is a bit nerve-wracking to meet new people, especially when you have created this on-line persona of yourself.  You wonder if this person would accept you and identify with the one she met on-line.  So I was a bit nervous!

Luckily, she was all that I expected and more.  She is warm and friendly and very open to living in SA (even if only for a while).

Ironically her office is situated in the city so we are literally a few kilometers away from each other. It was great!  We had lunch and chatted like old buddies!

Here’s to a many more Namita!  Let’s go to Parys soon ok?

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My weekend…

I had another eventful one…

It started early by Thursday evening.  Friends invited us to the Night Market on Main.  It happens every first Thursday of the each month.

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Besides food, the market has lots of vendors selling interesting goods

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Amazing vibe…

Being out for at night for a change felt good…I almost felt young again! 🙂 Ironically I live about 3 minutes away!  Guess where I’ll be next month on the first Thursday evening!  Be sure to check it out if you are in the vicinity.

On Saturday I hosted my very first baby shower at our house.  A friend of ours, Natalie, will be giving birth very soon to her first child, Benjamin.  I love to entertain…and loved preparing for this special occasion.

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I made paper flags and hearts to create a festive look.

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Home-made nougat as thank-you gifts

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I love hand-picked flowers.  It’s cheaper than buying.  I loved the fact I could use my cute keepsake polka-dot teacups my Granny gave to me a few years ago.  She will turn 100 years in July!  Wow!

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Natalie and her identical sister, Nastasha. Tasha was instrumental in pulling the event off!

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The ladies giving Natalie some tips.

Then, in true South African fashion, we had to end the festivities with a braai!

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It was a wonderful day.  The weather was great and most of all…Natalie enjoyed herself.  Thanks to everyone who helped in making this shower special for Nats!  Shani, Ilse, Marilyn, Jo-Anne and Tasha…you go girls!

Then what would Sunday be without going to church?  After that, I took my usual afternoon nap and then prepared for movie night.  This time we invited friends over and watched the very heart-wrenching documentary, Miracle Rising, a documentary tracing South Africa’s difficult path to freedom and democracy.

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Miracle Rising details the timeline of South Africa’s crucial moments during the transition from apartheid to democracy. (Gallo)

I am thankful…for history and how it has shaped us.  I am grateful for those who lay down their lives for our freedom.  I am grateful…

It was a great, full weekend spent with friends.  Now to prepare for Chelsea’s 6th birthday this coming weekend!  Phew!  🙂

PS: I guess I’m moving up…the birthday cake is being flown in from Cape Town! Mommy-in-law is flying in and will have the chore of being courier.  Thanks Moeder! (Afrikaans for Mother) 

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Urban

Urban ~ {Located in or characteristic of a city or city life}

I love this picture.  I took it while in transit in Jozi CBD.  I love the activity of the hawkers and remember seeing people braiding hair close by.  Also love the very cool earrings the girl is wearing.

As some of you might have read, I am part of a group of adventure-seeking, hungry-for-history, hikers.  We explore the city of Joburg on a bi-monthly basis.  This one I took while on one of those hikes.  It is a bucket-list wall where you can chalk down your dreams and aspirations.  These boys live in the city and this is their playground.

One of the many skyline pictures I have been taking these last few weeks.  This is my view from our new home in Kensington.

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Here’s to Kensington…here’s to another new adventure!

As mentioned before, we just moved into a new house, in a suburb (totally new to me) called Kensington.

Naturally

I am

curious

about my new surroundings.

On National Women’s Day  I was at home spending time with the girls, very relaxed.  As I was sitting on the stoep (veranda) I enjoyed the glorious sun.  I could see the city skyline peeping through the tree tops and in the distance I could hear the dull noises of this larger-than-life concrete jungle.

Believe it or not, just a few days before we were showered with snow in this very same place.

I was just basking in the glorious weather.  The distinctive sound of the Hadeda bird echoed all around me.

Ha-de-da….ha-de-da!

There was a slight breeze in the air and suddenly a sense of gratefulness came over me.

* God is great

I feel fortunate to live in this wonderful new dwelling and experience this new-found abundance.

I am just trying to soak up everything…relax more, enjoy more.

I did some research and found out that Kensington is the largest suburb in Johannesburg!  Pretty awesome!  It stretches from Fairview and Troyeville in the West, to Eastgate and Bedfordview border in the East. It is bounded by Belgravia and Malvern in the South and by Judith’s Paarl, Bezuidenhout Valley, Dewetshof and Bruma in the North.

The streets in Kensington, a 1904 Johannesburg suburb, named after its counterpart in London, reflect a profound jingoism. That was when, after the Anglo Boer War, Alfred Lord Milner and his “kindergarten” of Oxford administrators was intent on bringing Imperial civilisation to the Transvaal. So, today, Kensingtonians, probably unthinkingly, drive along Roberts or Kitchener avenues, named after the Anglo Boer War victors, or negotiate the curve of Milner Crescent and walk their dogs in Rhodes Park.

But there’s a more intriguing twist to the street names of this suburb; no less than 83 streets are named after Royal Navy warships. Collingwood Street (the one we live on) is named after a dreadnought, honouring Vice Admiral Cuthbert Lord Collingwood who mopped up the French fleet once Nelson had fallen at Trafalgar. Royal Oak Street was named after a British battleship launched in 1892. Barossa Street is named after a cruiser that sailed African waters and was based in Simonstown during the Anglo Boer War.

I also found out there is an active committee operating in Kensington.  They look after the well-being of this “village in the city.”  They have markets, and events and hold a wealth of history archives of the suburb itself.

The very first day Ashley brought me here to view, I fell in love again.  This time with a house.  This house is so me.   I need to find out the history of it.  Who build it…who were these people and where are they now?

*How did they know so much about me? How did they know what I would like and what not?

Guess what I’ll be doing in the next few months…history hunting!  Got time for history lessons? 🙂

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I think I found the one…

What does it mean to be settled?  According to the Word-Web dictionary it means:

Established in a desired position or place; not moving about”

For the last decade I have been moving about. From one house to another…19 times in total.

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Sometimes we moved caused we sought adventure…other times we were driven out of a house because our empty bank account could not make up the bills.

However it might be…moving became part of my life, whether I liked it or not. In the beginning it was easy because it was only me and Ashley. Then after 5 years, came Chelsea and shortly after, Kirsten. Obviously it became more challenging. Kids need stability in general. They need routine to function and require some sort of norm to feel safe.

There we go again…

Chelsea in her short lifespan (almost 6 years old) has moved a staggering 8 times! Now that I’ve numerated it, it shocks me!

Anyway, so our journey has taken us from south to north, to west, to south again, west again, everything in between and now lastly east. We sound like a circus…but really we are not. We are actually very stable people…believe it or not. We have learned to adapt quickly and settle quickly wherever we end up. Priority is to make life work in our new home as soon as the first day. I hang pictures…get the flow right and find a creche for the kids.

Business must go on…so computers get plugged in, printers get connected and while I do that, I do a load of laundry. I might cook that same night, depending on the amount of boxes I still need to unpack…otherwise we just grab takeaways. The next day I might start painting a room and decorating it just to make me feel normal.

Life must go on…I must not allow circumstances to dictate my state of mind.  But sometimes, many times,  the moving gets to me.  It gets me under.  I long for stability…a place to call home.

I sometimes envy people that have lived in one place for more than 2 years…and I tell myself: “surely my lifestyle can’t be normal?”  I am not a roamer, a free-spirited gypsy…I am in fact very normal (well that’s what I tell myself).  At some stage I almost started to crave moving.  It became a rush for me.  The thought of moving to a new place, new people, new surroundings made my life more exciting, giving me an edge.

So we moved into a fabulous house about 2 weeks ago. Apart from unpacking a few more boxes, we are fairly settled.  I haven’t found a creche yet so the kids are still at home.  This house is artistic and inviting.  It has wooden floors and picture rails.  I wake up in the morning to the city skyline of Jozi.  It is such a blessing.

It is snowing in Jozi today.  Snow is a rare occurrence in Gauteng, with snowfall having been experienced in May 1956, August 1962, June 1964, September 1981 and on June 27 2007.

September 1981 has the greatest snowfall on record, with statistics showing snowfall accumulating up to 10 centimetres across the province. (http://mg.co.za/print/2012-08-07-snow-in-joburg)

Surprisingly snow fell in Gauteng today

They say one’s home should be an extension of your personality.  I can safely say…I think I’ve found the one.  I’m home.

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Urban hike # 2: Another awe-inspiring walk through history

These hikes are really getting intense!  They are so inspiring and informative, and yes it takes me weeks to get info together and sort pics to write about!  Sorry for delay! 🙂

On Saturday, 23 June we tackled yet another route of my new-found, beloved city, Jozi.

I seriously have a hard time writing in detail of my experience…it is just to overwhelming but in a good way.  I will attempt to give you an overview in picture once again.

We were welcomed with a misty, cold morning but nevertheless excitement were all around.  We gathered at a coffee shop at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newton.

Misty downtown

Reflections

Beyers Naude

We arrived at Beyers Naude Square, which houses the City Library.  Beyers Naude was the leading Afrikaner anti-apartheid activist during the struggle.  Although I wasn’t born a Naude, we share the same surname and I have a lot of respect for what he stood for.  Ironically I share a name with his daughter, also called Liesel Naude.

Taking pictures is strictly forbidden in the library, so that is unfortunately all I could get.  It has been refurbished and looks like a library that can compete with the best in the world.

The Sun breaking through

How’s that for snail mail?

Interesting buildings

We could be walking the streets of New York.

Home of Markham (the men’s clothing store) built in 1897

Dirty building

Big blue buildings

These buildings are gorgeous…however, I can’t remember their names or history!

Ghandi square

Mining district

As we headed through the mining district we became drenched with rain.  My feet were soaking!

First mine-shaft

Can you believe this is how it looked way back?

Then we headed back to Newton.  On our way we passed through the first Chinatown.

Malay camp

South African Police Office

Here is where a lot of bloody Apartheid-related interrogations took place.  This building must house a lot of nightmares and secrets.

After this we headed over the Mandela Bridge over to Braamfontein to the Neighbourgoods Market.

Interior of Neighbourgoods Market

I really enjoyed the vibe at the Neighbourgoods Market.  I have visited the one in Cape Town a few years ago (which I enjoyed more) but I must be honest, the food at the Jozi market was totally overpriced and not tasty at all!  However, it is a nice place to meet with friends over a coffee.

After nearly 4 hours of walking and learning we were done!  Phew!  Another successful and awesome walk!

Samantha, Uncle Roy, Edwellan, Andrea, Ashley and I

That is only a drop in the ocean of all pictures I took.  Thanks to Uncle Roy for always being available!  Next hike is planned for 28 July.  Cheers to that!

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Walking through history…another hike

Our monthly hikes are unintentionally becoming information sessions.  Sittings where we learn history, (and not necessarily what we learned at school)…real and relevant history.

The last hike was no exception.

Map of the reserve

Gathering around the “gifbol” (poison ball)

The valley

The morning sun

Crossing the river

Remains of an early Tswana village

Typical rock formation for mining purposes

Marais farm

Gathering in front of Marais farm

History of farm

Walking towards the end of the trail

This hike was exceptional.  I wish I could write about the totality of it…it is just too much information.  I don’t even know where to begin.  We literally walked through history.  Thanks to Noel Thornton for being such an inspirational guide.  You really invigorated my hunger for history!

If you want more information on the history of the reserve visit their website:

http://www.knra.co.za/history.htm

PS: Our next hike is this coming Saturday, 23 June.  Really revved up about this one as were doing another city hike.  If you’re interested let me know.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Blue

Blue ~ {Of the colour intermediate between green and violet; having a colour similar to that of a clear unclouded sky}

One of my absolute favourites things to photograph is the sky, specifically clouds:

Blue sky – Paarl, Western Cape

Kleinmond, Overberg, Western Cape

Rockhaven Farm, Grootwinterhoek, Porterville, Western Cape

Melkbosstrand, Western Cape

Driving home, Jozi

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Urban hike: A walk through Jozi city

A few Saturdays ago, I went on what I would describe as a spiritual walk through Jozi city.  It was awe-inspiring.  I haven’t enough words to describe my experience in detail.  But I have hundreds of pictures to try to explain what I went through. (don’t worry I won’t share all of it!)

Early morning meeting

We all met up at a central place before leaving for the city.

Driving into the city

Getting ready

Roy Fillis

Our hiking group is very informal.  With our first hike earlier this year, the idea was formed to do an urban hike.  Two sisters, Gillian and Nicole are fellow hikers and suggested we ask their Uncle Roy to facilitate a hike through the city.  Uncle Roy loves history and is so passionate about the city.  He grew up and schooled in the metropolis and till today lives there.  His love for Jozi extremely tangible and contagious.

He briefed us on the plan for the day and you could feel the excitement in the air.  Hurriedly we made our way through the streets of Jeppestown.  All while Uncle Roy telling us interesting stories about years gone by.

Confusion

Can be easy to get lost!

And there she was…

Ahead lies the city!

David Webster’s Memorial Park

David Webster (1945 – May 1, 1989) was a social anthropologist in South Africa who was murdered by covert forces of the Apartheid state.

Webster was shot dead outside his house by a hit squad of the Civil Cooperation Bureau, a covert government agency. The hit squad was paid R40,000 (at the time, equivalent to about US$8,000) for his murder. Ferdi Barnard, the man who pulled the trigger on the shotgun used, was later tried and found guilty in 1998; he was sentenced to two life terms plus 63 years for a number of crimes, including the murder of Webster. (source: Wikipedia)

David Webster’s home restored to its former glory

After we admired his beautiful house we headed down to Coca Cola Park, home of Ellis Park Stadium.

Interesting artwork/sculpture

After a few “Kodak”  moments…

The group

We passed through some interesting streets and sights.  Including this shop front.  It was covered with a photo of a street somewhere in Denmark.  The photo looked so real, it looked like the Jozi street vendor was part of it!

Jozi Street Vendor

Then we headed on to Joubert Park, home of the Johannesburg Art Gallery.  Uncle Roy arranged a visit to the gallery that was totally fantastic!  Here are a few pics:

Art

Out of a fire came art

Burnt postcard

Stunning gallery interior

Operating hours JAG

Be sure to visit the Gallery.  It is a definite gem and a good reason to visit the city!

By then, we had been walking almost 3 hours.  Our legs were wobbly and we were hungry! Our initial plan was to visit Hillbrow and the Mining District, but there was just too little time.

We left the Gallery and went on our way.  These were some of the sights we saw along the way:

Block of flats

Another dirty building

Mural on building

We then decided to end of this trip by visiting the Maboneng Precinct.  (I also wrote about another visit here)

Maboneng Precinct

Interesting coffee shop

Girls having fun!

Me with my friends, Melonie Karriem and Andrea Abrahams having some fun in the very funky security booth.

Graffiti in the alley

We are done!

We were literally done! We were really jaded but in awe of a great day!

This was the area we covered, more or less.

Area covered

If you want to contact Uncle Roy for a similar walk, here follows his details:

Roy Fillis

+27 83 8673158

royfillis@gmail.com

Also contact me if you want to join us for the next one!  It was truly a remarkable day.  This was just a drop in the ocean.  I still have hundreds of photo’s I haven’t showed you.  Thank you Uncle Roy, you outdid yourself!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Unfocused

Unfocused ~ {(of an image) not being in or brought into focus} ; {Not concentrated at one point or upon one objective}

About 2 weeks ago I was privileged to do an urban hike through Jozi CBD.  Wow…I promise I haven’t had time to edit my 400+ photo’s of this amazing day! I promise to write about it!  Below are some pics I took that are accidentally out of focus.

This one below is my favourite. I took it early morning before the hike started while we drove into the city.  I love how the layers of window, the camera, the building and graffiti create a textured effect.

Unfocused layering

This one was taken at the Johannesburg Art Gallery.  It is a artwork of prayers made of suspended felt animals.

Unfocused felt prayers

Hotel lobby

This one was taken at the 12 Decades Hotel, in the Maboneng Precinct, in JHB East.

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A theatrical weekend and a dose of salsa!

What a great weekend!

It started with the DIY shoot with photographer, Kim McFarlane, for the 4changemag on Saturday morning.  Read about me joining this very exciting magazine as the resident DIY writer.

Then in the evening we went to see the very controversial and gripping true story of Ellen Pakkies, a seemingly ordinary woman, living in a notoriously violent area ironically named “Lavender Hill “, in the vicinity of Cape Town, murdered her beloved son Adam, or “Abie” as she called him, a crystal metaphetatimine (tik) addict.

Vinette Ebrahim (as Ellen Pakkies) & Christo Davids (as Adam Pakkies)

We left the theatre in a bit of a shake.  The show was extremely intense and raw…but every bit successful for just that reason.  The struggle and fight against this vicious ill of our time is intense and raw and we need heavenly intervention.  If you want more information, follow the show and their performing details on Facebook.

Then on Sunday as per usual we went to church and received yet another Spirit-filled and God-inspired word! Wow…powerful and intense word.  The Sunday lunch was another highlight of the day but a bit rushed as we had to get ready for another theatre production by our friends, Solomon Cupido and Bradley Olivier at PopArt in the The Maboneng Precinct , Johannesburg East.

PopArt Centre

Comedy duo, Bradley & Solomon

I haven’t laughed so much and so hard in such a long time! Well done guys! We cannot wait for the next one! And oh, I must mention I am very proud to say these boys are from my home-town, Paarl and I took the poster pic!  Watch out Trevor Noah!

“Tuff times”

Maboneng, a Sotho word meaning “place of light”, is a fitting name for a district that has fast become a centre of creative energy for Johannesburg’s urban artists. With a mix of art galleries, and retail and studio space on offer, the precinct draws the inner-city public, as well as the chic, art-going crowd of the city’s northern suburbs, bringing life back into downtown Johannesburg.

City skyline

The energy is electrifying.  Sidewalk restaurants, kids playing and graffiti lines the street.

Kids playing

I love this very cool “Before I die” wall of art.

Interesting wishes

After the show we decided to go chill at The Rooftop Bar of the Canteen Restaurant at Arts On Main. What a refreshing experience! I felt like I was instantly transported to Havana, Cuba. The atmosphere was thrilling!

The bar is the home of salsa, where scores of lithe dancers spend their Sunday afternoons swaying to the hypnotic rhythms of Afro-Cuban tunes.

Sexy salsa!

Salsa – A Latin American style of music, influenced by jazz

It got my feet itching and I suddenly have an urge to learn Salsa!  Wow, truly an amazing and authentic experience.

All in all…a magnificent weekend!  Thanks to all my friends who help made it happen! Big ups!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Together

Together ~ {In contact with each other or in proximity}

Today was a great day.  Together with a group of fellow Joburgers we did an urban hike through the city. I cannot remember when last I was this overwhelmed and excited about something.  The city has a wealth of history.  I cannot wait to write about the day…watch this space.

Together, forever

Shadows together

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In and around Jozi

For my job, I drive a whole lot around Jozi.  There is such a lot happening around the city and I always have my camera ready.

Recycling being second nature, signs like these really grab my attention:

Interesting outdoor sign

Specialist outdoor media company Guerrilla IMC is responsible for this eye-catching billboard.  Last week saw a rainstorm pass through Johannesburg and while driving I caught this picture on camera while it was pouring outside.

Daryl van Arkel, Director at Guerrilla IMC:

It seems South Africans have become complacent with littering. “Seemingly people think it is fine to throw rubbish in our streets and out their car windows”. “Guerrilla will begin using unsold sites to communicate to people that littering is not OK and we actually care about the way our city looks! We hope the wider industry takes up this gauntlet with us. We intend on using a hard hitting message in the hope that people will wake up to this issue, in fact the message may turn some heads!” Another positive spin off of a campaign such as this is it is an opportunity to employ people who would otherwise not have a job opportunity which is much needed in South Africa right now.

One of the sites is at Greenside Quarter (corner Barry Hertzog and Gleneagles Drive, Greenside, Johannesburg) – during the day this site is highly visible to the passing traffic on Barry Hertzog drive, as well as local traffic in and around the Emmarentia dam and Johannesburg botanical gardens.

It is actually really shocking to see how many people litter.  When I’m out and about, I regularly see people in fancy cars throwing out cigarette buds out of their window.  Shocking!  Count me in…do your bit for the environment and don’t litter!

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Little irritations: How good a driver are you?

Few things irritate me as much as bad drivers. I have been living in Jo’burg now for two years and am convinced that Capetonians are better at driving than the Johannesburgers. Don’t get me wrong, I love Jozi.  In fact I love it so much I have written about it before.  Read about it here, and here.

I am entitled to my own opinion, am I not? 🙂

I might have upset a few people with that statement, but that has been my experience.  Send me your opinion if you don’t agree or do.

Malls are huge in Gauteng and have big parking lots but because here are so many people with cars that there are just never enough parking!  According to last year’s census, Gauteng has a population of about 11 328 20 people.  Of that about 4million live in Jo’burg.  So I share the road with millions of road users.  Now if you do find a parking spot, this is what you get:

Why would you be ok with parking so skew?  That really irritates me!

I am so passionate about this…I might dub myself the new Parking Police Official in Jozi! 🙂 Watch out!

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Rapid moving with the Gautrain

The Gauteng Province is considered the economic heartland of Africa and is now home to the Gautrain. Gautrain is an 80-kilometre (50 mi) mass rapid transit railway system in Gauteng ProvinceSouth Africa, which links JohannesburgPretoria, and OR Tambo International Airport. (wikipedia)

The greater Johannesburg has a population of 10 million and Pretoria has 2.3 million. The two cities are rapidly sprawling towards each other and the train is expected to further the urbanization along the transport corridor.

My family and I were privileged to use it about a month ago.  Ashley goes to Pretoria once a week for business.  Usually he uses the car but most of the day he is stuck in traffic and this becomes very costly.  So we decided to give the Gautrain a go and make a day-trip of it.

We decided to board at Rhodesfield Station close to OR Tambo.

Rhodesfield station

Being a bit impaired on the technological front, we had a bit of trouble with the automatic ticket machine…

.

The ticket prices are fairly reasonable if you take into account the convenience.  See the fare table below:

Gautrain-fares

From Rhodesfield we had to connect at Marlboro to get the train that went to Centurion.  So our total cost for the day for all 4 of us (yes, Kirsten had to pay!) was R268.

Rhodesfield to Malboro – R22 pp

Marlboro to Centurion – R 29 pp

Parking ticket – R10

Golden card – R 10 pp

Not sure how we got to that amount but that is more or less the breakdown.

The girls were very excited!

First time on a train for the girls and it’s a speed train!  Oh I think Chelsea once went on a train-trip with the creche to the zoo…but definitely Kirsten’s first time.

Waiting on the platform

It's coming in...

Beautiful!

Interior very clean

Waiting at Marlboro station

Marlboro station is situated to the north of Alexandra township, next to the wealthy suburb of Sandton.

In transit

Another train passing...whooosshh

Afgri building Byls Bridge

Love the interesting design of the Afgri Building next to the N1 highway.

This 9 000m² building is the first of a number of high quality office blocks which are to be erected in the Byls Bridge precinct. Each building will have a different architectural flavour, all distinctive cutting edge designs setting the trend for future developments in the area.

The building developed, built and owned by M&T Development has been constructed for AFGRI Holdings, a well known South African Company.

Centurion station

And in a wink of an eye we were in Centurion! Imagine Chelsea’s face as we nudged her to get off! “Is the train ride finished?  But we just got on!”  The trip from Marlboro to Centurion is 12 minutes.  That is an indication that the Gauteng Department of Transport has achieved their goal of getting the people there quicker.

The project is primarily aimed at enhancing and supporting economic growth in the Gauteng Province and generating employment. It is part of a longer-term vision, which will include a commitment towards creating and sustaining a new culture of public transport usage.

All in all, a great experience.  Imagine the pride I felt when using this world-class facility that can easily compare to any other globally. Proud to be South African.

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Dirty ol’ Jozi

Last week I saw another side of Jozi city.  I have always just seen the “tourist routes” like Nelson Mandela Bridge and Newton and general areas.  This time I saw the chaotic and helter-skelter side.

Ashley has been trying to locate an Adidas “tekkie” or sport shoe now for months and the only branch we could find it at was in the city centre.  A dear friend of mine, Felicity mentioned that she needed to go into the city as well to do some shopping so I caught a lift with her and her husband.

This is the area we moved in (I think!):

Map

The streets were filthy and filled with vendors and people.  The buildings were dilapidated and dirty.

It was an experience.  People shoving and pushing on their way.  I was warned to hide my cellphone away from the pickpockets so I couldn’t take more pics.

I did however get some shots of nice buildings:

This building really intrigued me…looked like a building in downtown New York…but it was somewhere in Jeppe or Bree street, can’t remember which.

They call the area we moved in Fong-Kong because of all the fake clothing and goods being sold there. Some might be stolen as the prices are too good to be true.   All in all an interesting experience.

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On top of the world

Today was a beautiful day in Johannesburg.  Ashley and I had an appointment in Parkview with a potential client but we had some time to kill beforehand.  So we decided to get some takeaway lunch and hopefully find a place with a nice view to enjoy it at.

Now when we stayed in the Western Cape, we were totally spoiled for choice.  Whenever we had time on our hands we could go to the beach, we could walk along a river or one of our favourite spots was Table Mountain.  We would sit there and listen to the dulled hustle and bustle below…but felt quite far removed from it.

Ashley always bragged about the great view Northcliff ridge offered.  So today seemed like the perfect day to do it.  We meandered slowly up the hill and admired the great mansions.  We arrived at the public area of the ridge, an area of around 11 hectares which is controlled by City Parks and Johannesburg Water (JW).  It has a large water tower, a distinctive landmark, on the very top of the ridge, built in 1939.

72-year old water tower

I was not actually prepared for adventure as I was wearing smart (and slippery) pumps.  So Ashley had to literally pull me up.  It’s an easy climb to the viewpoint…and he wasn’t joking.  It is breath-taking!

360º view of Johannesburg

Northcliff ridge is Johannesburg’s second highest koppie at around 1 807 metres.  The city consists of a number of ridges and one of the most northern ones is Northcliff ridge, the site of early 17th century Stone Age settlements.  Here are more pics:

Tower

More views

Pathway in the sky

Shrike in the air

The tower has become a perfect nesting place for swifts but the ridge is also home to larks, kiewiets and shrikes.

Squatters also make the ridge their home when they get a chance. The result is that graffiti, broken bottles and occasional fires are a problem in the area. Although the gate is locked after sunset, people do gain access to the ridge and problems with alcohol and drugs have been reported.

But although the ridge is visible from most northern parts of Joburg, it is not as attractive as it used to be. Twenty years ago its soaring cliff faces and base was free of human habitation, and the tower stood tall. The ridge was originally called Aasvoëlkop, a reference to a time when its crevices were home to vultures, now long gone.

Unlike its counterpart, Melville Koppies, which was declared a nature reserve in 1959 and, when in 1963 an Iron Age furnace was uncovered, became a national monument, Northcliff ridge was never recognised despite the discovery of Stone Age artefacts on it. The artefacts have disappeared, as have the two Iron Age furnaces that were discovered on Hearn Drive, just below the ridge.

Read more here:

There is something captivating about being on top of hills, mountains and koppies.  Sometimes you literally just need to be on top of the world to feel on top the world.  It was perfect.  Great company, the sun on my face and a boerewors roll to chow on!

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This was our day…

Today is June, 16th, a significant day in our history as a country.  You can read the full history right here.

We went to see the production, Alice in Wonderland, at the People’s Theatre at Johannesburg Theatre. This was really exciting as this would be the girls’ debut to theatre.

Show is about to start!

The guys and girls after the show

Our dear actor-friend, Solomon Cupido (on the left), is part of the cast.  Soon you would be able to see him in the new movie, “Ek joke net.”  which opens on 24 June at Nu Metro Cinema’s nationwide.  Check it out!

So after the show we decided to get together and have a braai since we were in the holiday spirit.  Solomon’s family were also visiting from Paarl, so before the braai we decided to take a whirl-wind tour of Soweto like we always do.

Wow…what a day it turned out to be?  We didn’t realise it would be such a brilliant day. We started out in Freedom Square in Kliptown, moved over to Regina Mundi church, then to Hector Pietersen Museum.  All these places were packed with people attending commemoration events…it was emotional and humbling.  Here follows our day in a photo story:

Jozi on the move (pic taken while driving in the car)

The Walter Sisulu Square (Freedom Charter)

Sundial in Freedom Tower

Freedom Charter

Eternal Flame (sadly not in working order)

Regina Mundi Church

Impressive interior of the church

Stained glass windows

Statue of Jesus in foyer

The story of Soweto

Hector Pietersen Museum

Struggle

Freedom

Democracy

Sjoe, I am still reeling.  It is so humbling to think and remember all our heroes of the past. I thank you…I thank you for your suffering and sacrifice.  Actually my words don’t do you justice.  Let me just keep quiet and remember you.

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