The walk to work, Pretoria

Most days, instead of getting off the Gautrain bus opposite the Treasury, at the corner of Thabo Sehume and Madiba, I get off at Madiba and Bosman, and walk the couple of blocks to work, past the Department of Public Works and the High Court, for what passes these days for exercise. I know, I […]

Of Gautrains and stations

There are three guys in my office whose job it is to review the evidence – cost-benefit analyses, emissions studies, traffic analysis, urban sprawl, you name it – for a mooted east-west addition to the Gautrain network. I ride the train most days, from Jo’burg to Pretoria and back again, and much as I love […]

Swords into Ploughshares

Every South African of my generation remembers the Casspirs: the massive troop carriers, mine-proof and threatening, that lumbered through the townships, through two States of Emergency and countless insurrections, bearing death and violence. So what a shock and surprise, at the Turbine Art Fair yesterday, to see this huge Casspir beaten to a ploughshare, beaded […]

Turbine Art Fair

Joburg, as my son-in-law likes to point out, is alive and kicking. It may be edgy as hell, dangerous to your health, but there’s always stuff going on. The annual Turbine Art Fair, in Newtown, Johannesburg, is one of the highlights. You cross over the Nelson Mandela Bridge and descend into a maelstrom of township […]

O, Pretoria!

These days I work, not in downtown Toronto, but in Pretoria, Gauteng – administrative capital of South Africa, a small city with Boer Republic roots and an African feel, a place of substantial Anglo-Dutch architecture from the nineteenth century commingled with brutalist Afrikaner buildings from the 1970s, and the litter, taxi mayhem and crumbling sidewalks […]