Tag Archives: jozi

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.

the storm is coming...

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.

 

leaving.detailelectric

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?

prison-bars

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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Weekly Photo Challenge: From above

From above ~ {from a higher place}

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Last winter I experienced my first snowstorm!  It was really unusual as we don’t generally have such severe weather in winter in Jozi.  It was really exciting!

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A really special one…at the beach with my daughters.  Toes all around!

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Photographer in training

Photographer ~ {lensman, artist, creative}

My eldest daughter 6 years old.  She is a typical girl her age who just wants to be like her mom. She is always talking about being an artist or Interior Decorator like me.  It’s amazing how close she watches me and what I do.

I was pleasantly surprised (and very proud) when I browsed through my iPad’s albums to find these pics:

She made these forms using pipe-cleaners

She made these shapes using pipe-cleaners

In true fashion, she stood back and took a look at her handy work.

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She lately has a fad for snails.

She made a house for the snails the day before not knowing they would escape and some of them got injured while trying to run.

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Enjoying the afternoon sun over Jozi.

I love this picture.  It is very true in how I see lazy afternoons in the City of Gold.

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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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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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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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Port Elizabeth, the friendly city is growing on me…

We visited the windy city in January this year during the holidays.  If only for two nights…we really had a great time.

We visited with our friends, Timothy & Verna.  Thanks guys, we really had a great time and look forward to welcoming you in Jozi for a visit soon!

(Most pictures taken while in motion in the car)

Colonial buildings

Old Mill building

The old colonial historic mill building was produced for Premier Milling corporate client.

King Edward Hotel

King Edward Mansions open 21 November 1904.  It became a hotel in 1911 and the name was changed to “The Edward”  in 1961. Ashley and I had a very romantic weekend here in March 2008 when we attended Timothy & Verna’s wedding.

Campanile

Located near the Port Elizabeth harbour’s entrance, the Campanile was built as a memorial to the arrival of the early settlers of the region in 1820. The 52 m high Italian-style bell tower, which stands in Port Elizabeth’s Strand Street was built in 1923, and features a carillon of 23 bells which makes it the largest carillon of bells in the country.

Looove lampposts

Ferris wheel on Summerstrand

Airplane coming in

My dream vehicle...

Ashley and I have a dream of touring through Africa with the girls in 2013. We want to do it before Chelsea goes to Grade 1 in 2014.  This would be the type of vehicle we would need…vvvrrroooomm.

Bluewater Bay

I was quite surprised at the effort the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality makes to initiate greener living.

Small wind turbine

This turbine was located in Summer strand and it generated enough energy to power the grid of festive lights on the left.

Solar heaters in low-cost housing areas

We drove through quite a few residential areas where solar heaters on the roofs were the norm.

One of the most surprising experiences were the absolute state of safety our friends lived in.

Open windows

We left for a day trip to Addo National Park and they left their windows open. No burglar bars or fencing!  Our laptops and valuables were all on the dining room table and they were very relaxed about it.  I grew up in Paarl, a very safe town but still I wouldn’t leave the windows open without burglar bars!  Now living in Jozi it is even worse.  I just realised in shock how my sensible approach to safety can quickly become borderline paranoia.  The quality of life made me a bit jealous, but not enough to want to move here.

Port Elizabeth is truly a great city.  There is no rush, no traffic and then there’s the beach.  Aaaah…the beach!

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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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10 Reasons why I love Jozi

Jozi on the move

If you told me a few years ago that I would move to Johannesburg in 2010, I would have refused to believe you.  I always vowed never to trade my beloved Cape Province for another…especially not crime-ridden Gauteng.

One of my friends, Yvette lived in Jozi for close to 7 years with her husband, Ronwyn Hughes.  Each time we would visit them the discussion would come up.  For years they would pose the question: “Why don’t you guys move up to the city…it’s not as bad as they say it is.”  I couldn’t understand their obsession with this place.  Everything was so fast and literally furious.  The rat race was unbearable as well as the traffic!

However, if God has plans for you, there’s no fighting it.  So we moved to the city of gold in April 2010, completely by faith.

Having moved countless times, we have literally married the nomadic lifestyle.  Thus we naturally settled in.  It was our first move to another province and although we were sad to be away from our family, it was exciting.

New prospects…new beginnings, a new start…  so we learned to love it.  And as the Hughes’ pointed out…it is not as bad as they say.

  1. Yes, there is traffic…all the time.  It is bad and the pollution is suffocative.  However, there are six million trees in Johannesburg. On satellite pictures, the city looks like a rain forest, albeit man-made. There are 1.2 million trees within the parks and on the pavements, and 4.8 million in private gardens throughout the suburbs.

Jozi trees

  1. Joburg’s suburbs are beautiful.  The houses are palatial and the gardens are very well kept.
  1. What it lacks in a sea, it makes up in a few dams namely the Emmarentia Dam and Zoo Lake among others.
  1. My opinion is that people are more open to change that in my home province.  Please note: this is based on my personal experience.
  1. The city is magnificent!  I love the buildings and their history.  I have been doing some reading regarding.
    When gold was discovered in the area in 1886 , Johannesburg sprang up from the veld as a rowdy mining camp. The city will be 125 years old this year.
  1. Jozi raised world-players such as Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu amongst others.  They lived in Vilakazi Street in Soweto.

Vilakazi Street, Soweto

  1. Johannesburg houses a few cities.  The FNB Soccer City and Gold Reef city.  Soccer city was the flagship venue for the FIFA World Cup 2010.  It hosted both the opening match and the final.  Gold Reef City Theme Park, a living attraction that documents the gold rush and the birth of Jozi (Johannesburg), and the place to learn more about the city’s fascinating history of grit, glory and gold.

FNB Soccer City

  1. I love the winters here.  Temperatures sometimes go below freeze point, but the sun would be shining.  I can’t say the same for summers…I hate the thunderstorms!
  1. Surprisingly I have grown used to the street vendors.  Especially the ones that sell hand-made products.  I love their quality offering and how they encapsulate the city in their work.
  1. The city has a certain pulse and it’s addictive.  The inner city buzzes with people from all over Africa that gives it a raw energy that I like.  It truly is a melting pot of people, cultures and opinions.

Melting pot

There are many more reasons why I love Joburg, maybe even more why I should hate it.  The crime rate is probably the city’s most famous liability, the traffic is a nightmare and the road works have been dragging for years…but it has the Gautrain, Africa’s first speed train.

You see…whenever I hear of something negative about the place I now call home, I am quick to think of a positive.  I guess its part of being a nomad.  You learn to adapt and see the positive about your new home town.  It is a great survival instinct.

Oh, you want to know what I think of the new tollgate system?  Right now, I try not to think about it.  We as South African’s have amazing coping abilities.  I will drive myself by this motto: I’ll drive less, talk less, work more and try to create a better country! 😉

What do you like about your hometown or city! Please share!


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