44 Stanley is the place to be, on a chilly Saturday morning on the edge of downtown Johannesburg. A warren of small courtyards, art shops, craft shops, restaurants, it’s abuzz with the hip and the funky, old and young, a place for picking out fine hand-made chocolates at Chocoloza, ceramics at Storm in a Teacup (we bought two striking, black, nested bowls, with a long-handled jacaranda spoon, for under $20), linen at Mungo, furniture at Colony, or ordering a wood-fired pizza and a glass of wine at Il Giardino, where Rob and I sat by the Queen Anne stove last weekend, warming our backsides.
Just up the road is Linden, a faded suburb coming back to life, with a sprawl of coffee shops, antique shops, clothing shops, a beer-tasting room open to the street, featuring every kind of local micro-brewery, a cheese shop, and down the road from the main drag, old Bert’s Butchers, which has been there forever, where we bought the springbok shanks we fed to Kathy and Gareth last Sunday, and the best boerewors in town.
South Africa remains a country of contradictions – there is all the bad stuff, all the stuff that unnerves and depresses you – and then there is this great design, these funky neighbourhoods, there are these faded and jaded neighbourhoods and precincts being brought back to life by artists and entrepreneurs, and you think – this goddamned place has so much going for it!
Here are a few images, from 44 Stanley.