Tag: Photography

Nirox Jazz Festival

A couple of months ago I posted a blog, with photographs, of the Winter Sculpture Exhibition at Nirox, in the Magaliesberg, a lovely spot folded into the hills about an hour north north-west of Johannesburg. Just two or three weeks ago we were back, this time for the Nirox Jazz Festival, a harbinger of Spring, under appropriately sunny and warm conditions. A large, white, floating cover, like a quilt of clouds, sheltered the crowd who gathered over the course of a lazy Sunday morning to listen to the music, on a green hillside that looked down onto a meandering stream […]

Parkmore Field Market

It’s becoming a meme, I guess, at least of this blog – the notion that Joburg, and South Africa, is a study in contradictions. Creativity and enterprise flourish, the place is dynamic and happening – but it is also a dead-end of fraud and corruption, crime and incompetence. There is warmth, love, vibrancy in human interactions, across race, creed and class – and there is sullenness, indifference, even hatred. The glass is half full, and at the same time half empty. You get the idea. One of the creativity, love, enterprise happenings happens once a month, on the second Saturday, […]

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 need to take better care of my health, as Rob rightly reminds me, but at least this is something, right?! I took these images on my way to work one morning, when the sun was still raking across the street, casting long shadows. By the […]

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 the speed, safety and convenience I do have to wonder about the economics. Fortunately, though, it’s not my problem. What does exercise my imagination is the place of the human, in all of this. It’s something to do, perhaps, with the scale of the individual […]

Upcoming post

I will be posting some images soon of Pretoria and the Gautrain; here is a taster.

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 and glittering in all the colours of the South African rainbow, standing on the patio where we went to find a glass of wine and something to eat, and a break from the artwork. Moved almost to tears by all that it brought back of […]

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 of Maputo or (who knows, since I haven’t been there) Nairobi. I go there, most days, by Gautrain, the gleaming Bombardier-built high-speed commuter train that links Johannesburg with Pretoria and the O.R. Tambo International Airport. Most days, since I try to travel outside of rush […]

Three Toms

From last weekend, Sunday – three pictures of wee Tom Tjasink, my grandson, aged 2 months.

44 Stanley

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 […]