Flame Of Democracy
Marking the 15th year of the Constitution.
The 27 clauses of South African's constitution are carved into these massive, gorgeous doors leading in to the court. Inside the foyer, the curated art collection is on par with museum-quality standards.
The court is housed in a beautiful building atop Constitution Hill. Outside is the old jail, the new Flame of Democracy, and the even newer bust of Ghandi (he was jailed here 4 times). Inside, the art is incredible. Worth the trip just for it.
This semi-outdoor market on Juta Street in Joburg's Braamfontein neighbourhood is fun fun fun. Eat oysters from Namibia, drink craft beer from South Africa, and devour paella, gelato, cheeses, chocolate...a food lover's paradise! Open on Saturdays.
Hear from Edwin Cameron, one of South Africa’s Constitutional Court judges, and the first senior official in the country to declare publicly that he was living with HIV/AIDS. Constitution Hill is the site of the nation’s highest courts as well as the Old Fort Prison complex, where South African citizens such as Gandhi and Mandela were once held. The beautiful court building also showcases some extraordinary South African art, and the collection’s curator, Stacey Vorster, will be on hand to explain the significance of the work. We’ll also hear talks from leading authorities in current issues such as education, politics, and employment. Giles Gillette and Anthony Farr (education activists), Nic Dawes (Editor in Chief of the progressive Mail & Guardian newspaper), and Kuben Naidoo (head secretariat of the National Planning Committee) will lead the talks.
After having spent the morning at Neighbourgoods Market–I finally realized I am indeed in Siouth Africa. Buffalo Chorizo was on the menu as well. Every Saturday, rain or shine from 9am-3pm. Perfect place to have breakfast, brunch, or lunch. Across the street you'll find 70 Juta–a cluster of pop-ups and fun designer stores and collectives.
Recently launched in Johannesburg, City Sightseeing tours has done a fantastic job of getting locals & tourists alike to the definitive parts of central Johannesburg, helping them learn more about the city where gold has had such a huge influence. The Red Bus offers a hop-on,hop-off tour experience to 12 fantastic, historical sightseeing locations, with audio commentary on the bus which is tied in with local points of interest along the way. The service runs at 40 minute intervals, & takes you to historical and cultural venues such as the Apartheid Museum, The Newtown Precinct, the Origins Centre & Braamfontein. As each of the stops are filled with loads of interesting facts, sights, & activities I would definitely suggest starting early in the day as you can easily find yourself staying longer than one 40 minute interval if not two. Should you stop at one of the inner city stops, it is advisable to be cautious & vigilant as there can be very opportunistic individuals who will have no problem relieving a tourist of their recently purchased gift-shop items & any other items of value. Tourists from sun forsaken countries may wish to sit at the top in the open air section & soak up the sun for a gloriously golden tan (with the help of a strong SPF lotion of course) while enjoying the views & the extremely informative & jovial audio narrative. Purchasing tickets online qualifies the purchaser to a discount.
A hip local lunch spot in the Braamfontein 'hood of Jo'burg. Real estate mogul Adam Levy owns the area around Seventy Juta, the heart of Jozi hipness. Post is a great spot for lunch after a bit of shopping. Across the street is Kitchener's Carvery Bar, one of the city's oldest inside the Milner Hotel. Go at night if you want to see a concert by Desmond and the Tutus or DJ Andrew.
On the western edge of downtown Johannesburg, a neighborhood named Newtown has emerged as the city’s cultural heart. Once a gritty industrial center, Newtown is now a gathering place for South African writers, artists, and musicians. Begin your exploration at the neighborhood’s hub, Mary Fitzgerald Square, where the community comes together for national holiday celebrations and outdoor performances such as Venda tribal dancing. At Xarra Books, an indie bookstore on the square that’s dedicated to African literature, you can pick up local author Lebo Mashile’s latest collection of poems and drop in on talks by such South African luminaries as anti-apartheid activist Albie Sachs. Next, walk to the nearby Bus Factory, a cavernous brick building that was once a bus depot and now houses a collection of traditional crafts and contemporary sculpture by local artists. Check out the murals of Jo’burg’s skyline and a “forest” installation built from African walking sticks. When evening comes, join the crowd at Bassline, a half-block south of the square. This live music venue features a mix of jazz, world, Afro-pop, hip-hop, and kwaito—a township-born music genre that combines hip-hop and house with lyrics sung in a blend of most of South Africa’s 11 official languages. For all the activity, Newtown is still a small scene where you can mingle with local heroes. One evening I ran into Pops Mohamed, a reserved South African world-fusion musician, at a music conference held on the square. “There’s always something going on here,” he said. In front of us, a gospel choir was just warming up. Photo by Toby Corkindale. This appeared in the March/April 2010 issue.
Perched at the highest point in Braamfontein, Randlords is a rooftop bar and lounge with a great 360 degree view of the entire Joburg area. Open only for private events, if you get a chance, definitely check it out.
Constitution Hill on a bright summers's day with sweeping views across Johannebsburg from it's position atop a ridge in the subub of Braamfontein belies it's cruel history. However there is no mistaking the door frame wide cells that housed inter alia Nelson Mandela for a period of time. Despite the heat I felt chilled. Educational & humbling this is an instructive experience - especially given that South Africa's famed Constitution Court now resides on the same lot. Talk about progress!
I got a sneek preview today of the new facility for WAM (the art museum of the University of the Witwatersrand). The opening gala is this Wednesday. A great space with the best collection of African art. they have over 10,000 pieces, about 300 of which will be on display. This image is of a portion of Jackson Hlungwane’s Women’s Altar to God. Join AFAR Experiences in South Africa this fall.
An amazingly curated museum, the Wits Art Museum, fondly referred to as WAM, hosts a stunning collection of contemporary and traditional African art. It's located in a bright and airy space and feels relatively undiscovered. My favorite piece was Sam Nhlengethwa's "It left him cold", a tribute to the death of Steve Biko. Definitely put this on your list.
Walking through the CBD, I was delighted to come upon this buzzing shopping area. The street has been turned into a mall, with a covered area, where vendors can set up to sell all kinds of things. Haircuts are one of the favorites. There are nice shops, like Kurt Geiger, opening in the area, to go with the street vendors. I heard that people come from all over Africa to shop here.
This is the rooftop at a wonderful small hotel in Houghton between the golf course and the new mosque just off the M1. It was the home of Edgar and Aaron, and thankfully they have decided to share it with guests. They recently bought the house next door and plan to increase from 5 to 11 rooms in June 2012.
Designed by Herbert Baker, a British architect who did work all over the world but probably best known for his work in South Afica, including the Union Buildings in Pretoria and St. John's College in Joburg (most surprisingly, he worked with Lutyens in designing New Delhi). Northwards is one of many mansions built in Parktown for the early randlords (entrepeneurs in the mining industry). This one is beautiful and has a stunning view.
70 Juta is a cool little design area with little shops and a nice cafe where you can grab a sandwich and cup of coffee at Post Cafe and relax in the courtyard.
After a long day of filming and shooting, I rushed off to meet a friend and fellow photographer to try and snap a shot of the sunset over the CBD. This day had turned out to be particularly nice as for the past few days it'd had been really overcast and hazy due to rain. So with the rain gone, the air was clear and we were lucky to see some amazing colours over the city skyline!
Chancellor House, where Mandela and Tambo officed in the 50's is being restored. They were the first blacks to have their own law firm. It hasn't opened yet as of May 2012 but is very close. They already have a lot of great pictures and historical narratives in the windows.
This is the original handwritten manuscript by Nelson Mandela of his famous statement from the dock at his trial on April 20th, 1964. In this statement he declared that apartheid was "an ideal for which I am prepared to die" These handwritten notes are on display at the Wit Museum which I was visiting w/ AFAR Experiences. The special projects Curator, Fiona Rankin-Smith hosted us. After spending yesterday at the Apartheid Museum and Liliesleaf Farm where we heard from Denis Goldberg, a leading white activist in the ANC who spent 22 years in jail after sentencing in the Rivonia Trials, seeing Nelson Mandela's handwritten speech was awe inspiring.
If you're lucky enough to live in a place as magical as South Africa, you get some amazing sunrises & sunsets most mornings & evenings. What's great about living in Johannesburg is that you get to experience the magic while overlooking an amazing city! With rooftop venues opening up all over the inner city, catching such a magnificent view, while sipping on cocktails and listening to some soulful live music with your friends is getting so much easier!
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