Tag Archives: Johannesburg

Some of my (long) holiday reads ..

  1. If you are not a Longreads fan already, here is a list of their best articles of 2016.
  2. I am all about female friendships and stuff. I also love the authors idea of an article’s club.
  3. My friends and I have these kinds of conversations all the time. Why can’t I ever record them???
  4. Things people say after a miscarriage.
  5. Black Power!
  6. Kindness is the glue that holds couples together.
  7. What to choose when considering a Bible Study to join. We all need tips on how to improve our prayer life. Yep. At least me!!
  8. I guess con artistes are always looking to make a quick one so academia is also fair game.
  9. Short-run solutions to youth unemployment in South Africa. Can young offenders reform successfully?
  10. I love the aesthetics of this home!! This housing option seems quaint, but not for me.
  11. Helping kids to make New Year resolutions. Some help for adults too. More help from podcasts.
  12. Cool places to chill in Johannesburg. And in Uganda.
  13. On identity and what makes us, us. 
  14. I watched the movie Birth of a Nation and liked it.
  15. Recipes: Cooking with soy sauceFragrant Chickpea Basmati Rice with Fresh Coriander.

Sunday Reads on Africa

  1. I have read ten of these 50 must-read books by African female writers.
  2. Exclusive Books publish their first newsletter focused on African Lit. Great start.
  3. A South African church in pictures.
  4. Hot jams to get you ready for the week ahead!
  5. Beyonce’s style of feminism is not my own.” Chimamanda Adichie.
  6. I would venture a guess that most black women have this growing up with black hair story.
  7. On intersectionality. Yaa Gyasi’s essay on what it means to be Ghanaian in America.
  8. Pettinah Gappah’s recent short story.
  9. Love and Johannesburg. The couple reminds me of the Mr and I.
  10. 21 gifts for the creative black woman in your life.
  11. A guide to Africa’s dictators. Here and Here.
  12. Rachel Strohm highlights work by the team at Democracy in Africa in putting together a long reading list of articles on African issues by African scholars.
  13. This page showing Everyday Africa.
  14. But why is my leader like this? Not sure we need mandarin studies in Uganda just yet.

Sunday Reads

  1. Cooking with pears
  2. I love apple cider vinegar, here are 16 reasons its good for you.
  3. Fun places and spaces to visit around downtown Johannesburg.
  4. When you look pregnant but you aren’t (NY Times).
  5. On how we short-change girls.
  6. On the insane pressure on moms relative to dads.

Sunday Reads

  1. A creative activity from something we all use weekly.
  2. Sometimes we are loneliest in the midst of other people.
  3. Funny but so true how we always Google an illness and walk away with the worst possible diagnosis.
  4. Very emotional read about the alternates at the Olympics – it takes such depth of character to keep going when you are so close but not quite there.
  5. How (un)romantic to talk of love and microbes.
  6. Obama’s Summer 2016 Playlist, I think I have deciphered the code message behind it.
  7. Lovely story about this dad that tried to get his daughter out of an arranged marriage.
  8. BUT, Joburg has some cool places
  9. I am astounded by the desperate measures people will take to get to a “better life. Long, but worth the read.

Sunday Reads (the how-to version)

  1. I love this beautiful Joburg home – the art and the styling. Yum!
  2. How do you stop dirty money flows?
  3. How do you invest your windfall?
  4. An experts summary of how to reduce sugar in your baking.
  5. For anyone that needs tips on conception.
  6. So many ethical issues regarding this Surrogate mother’s tale.
  7. As the gap in education access and attainment continues to broaden, this is the reality for some kids.
  8. How to crotchet a chunky knit blanket.
  9. For all of us that need to learn to say no graciously.
  10. How do you get health officials not to steal donor funds? You send an enforcer and you put in repercussions.
  11. On the unpaid work that women often do.
  12. Watch 100 Years of Black Men hairstyles in one minute.
  13. On Cancer and other health scans and the depths that people will sink to.
  14. A project that shows how fickle international borders really are.

 

First thoughts on the Mother City

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View of Table Mountain

  1. The mountain. On a beautiful or cloudy day, the mountain is majestic and I love how imposing it is!
  2. The water. Very beautiful but often just as cold.
  3. It is a much smaller town so most places are within twenty minutes of each other which is lovely. Very welcome respite from Joburg where standard driving is about 40 minutes.
  4. The shops around us open fairly early and close late. The nearest Woolies for example opens at 07h30 and closes at 21h00. Obviously not great for the workers but I am loving that flexibility.
  5. The beautiful and artsy CBD.
  6. I am finding the drivers are quite chilled and very law-abiding. I have on occassion been driving at 80km/h (aka the speedlimit) on the fast lane and have not had a single driver drive up close to me or overtake me at a weird angle to prove a point about my granny driving.
  7. Relatedly though, no one tells you about the insane traffic jams in Cape Town. Such a nightmare and mainly because of the mostly two lane highways!! Why now?
  8. The public taxis (matatus) have a tout calling out destinations and such. Much prefer that to Joburgs finger signs.
  9. It is standard to have buildings that have no parking and as a result I now park on the street outside my house. But, you have to be careful about where and how you park or you could easily pick up a hefty fine – I already have three for my efforts!
  10. Things work – so far, only one traffic light has been out, traffic got collected on Christmas and New Years despite those being public holidays.
  11. You could experience four seasons in a single day which was initially very distracting and difficult to plan with. But, you can get around that with jerseys at your desk or in the car.
  12. Much longer days with early sunrises and later sunsets. Initially disorienting but with time you adjust, except for the fact that we are eating dinner later and later because its hard to imagine eating dinner when the sun is still hot and out.
  13. Some malls charge a nominal fee for the toilet usage. Found out when I was so pressed and not sure I had a coin to pay!
  14. CAMPS BAY!
  15. The massive inequality between the haves and the have-nots. And indeed the cost of living which brings to mind the Kiswahili saying hii nchi ina wenyewe (this country has its owners). Of course Cape Town is not a country, but in many ways, it feels like it is!

Coming from a very diverse city in terms of race, language, ethnicity and nationality, Cape Town is quite binary in terms of White/Coloured; South African/ Foreign and there isn’t much of that in between grey layer that makes things all the more interesting. And this is what makes me miss Joburg the most. Joburg is not a classic beauty like Cape Town is, it’s not even as organised or run beautifully but there is an innate beauty it has, an edginess and a diversity that I greatly appreciate. Outside of that, Cape Town is a place I reside at but it is not home.

Different Sunday Reads

I got this from this little blog  that I have where they often feature a Married Couple and showcase their home. So I decided to answer these questions on our own First anniversary.

Years married:  1 today
Where they live:  Johannesburg
Tell us a little bit about yourselves. The Mr grew up in Johannesburg while I was born and brought up in Nairobi, Kenya.
Tell us your love story in one sentence. Met at Uni and were friends for a large part of the first year and then started dating and got married six years after meeting.

Tell us a little bit about where you live. We are currently renting a little two bed apartment. After the wedding expenses, we decided to save up some more for a deposit on a property in a couple of years. We chose a suburb quite close to work for both of us and we both spend 10 – 15 minutes commuting as it was important to us to limit the length of the commute. With six weeks to the wedding, we had no place and had both given notice on our places and had to find a place because the Mr had to move in at the start of the month. One afternoon, I found a place I liked, I called the agent, set up a meeting, viewed it, asked her to meet the Mr the next day and when we checked out, paid the deposit and moved in. It certainly helps to be quite aggressive with the property agent.

What is your favorite part of being married? Doing life with a friend, a solid and great partner – the good, the fun and the not so good. Endless hours of laughter and retelling of life’s best moments. Planning for the future and talking about a dream. Also, still getting to know each other with each new day.

What has been the most surprising thing about marriage? People’s expectations around so many things: 1) The appropriate time for you to start a family; 2) Roles and responsibilities around the house; 3) The expectation to always be together for all events and meetings. Between us, having to communicate more and working together to get to a single outcome that works for both of us. Definitely, abandoning the self and working on the joint.

Tell us about the process of moving in together. Neither of us had really lived alone prior to getting married so when we moved in together it was mainly with clothes, a few large appliances and the gifts we got from the wedding. Since then we have accumulated stuff together – me: mainly getting stuff for the kitchen, us: doing the large pieces together. We did decide on a neutral palate for the colour scheme and then we play it by needs and sometimes wants. Our big thing is making our home comfortable and inviting for us and our guests.

Which room in your home is your favorite, and why? I would have to say the sitting room and our bedroom because they both have a sense of being complete (needing very little more) and being comfortable but luxe.

What most makes your house feel like home? Knowing that all the stuff we have belongs to both of and has a specific memory attached to it and also the fact that it is our little space and that we can do with it as we please or don’t care to. Also, I kept all the cards we got from the wedding and that for me brings to mind the fact that we have a community that is rooting for us to stick things out and work on things.

Where do you splurge and where do you save when decorating? Still very much in the early stages of decorating so I can’t say much BUT,  I am finding that if it’s something that we use occasionally, it’s easier to look at saving and if it’s something we don’t then splurge.

What is your favorite memory from your wedding? So many moments, locking eyes with each other for the first time and having my mom hand me over to the Mr; having the priest join our hands under his stole as he pronounced us man and wife, OUR EPIC FIRST DANCE!

How do you remember your wedding in your home? I mentioned the cards we got from guests at the wedding; the candle we lit to show us being united as one and then pics I recently got blown up for our home.

 How does your family handle finances? We have a spreadsheet that summarises personal and joint finances and each of us is directly responsible for updating it and making sure that the appropriate costs are covered. We often touch base to talk through money decisions and then we continue. I would say both of us are equally involved in the decision making and implementation.

What’s your best tip for balancing your relationship and other life priorities? We have tried to implement a weekly date night but it’s not our thing. So we make sure we take time to talk and catch up with each other. When we have something that requires both of us to participate, we often consult on the others availability before making plans as sometimes the other might be committed or not feel like attending that particular event. In terms of family expectations, we try and not put the other one too far out of their comfort zone and just look out for them.

What different decisions, if any, would you make for your registry if you knew then what you knew now? I really enjoyed what we got and even the out of the list gifts we got. If I could do it differently, I don’t think I would have done it any other way.

Who cooks dinner? Definitely me! I love to cook and he washes up/ helps with the prep.

What is your go-to weeknight meal? Weekend meal? Jeez!! Don’t really have a standard go-to but it would have to be something that involves chicken/ chickpeas rice and a quick salad.

What’s your favorite place to find recipes? My trusted recipe book where I have cut out stuff I like, recipe books I had before we got married, Food 52, Serious Eats and Other blogs I like.

Do you have a favorite date night idea to share? Nothing beats getting into a series together that involves staying up late and pigging out at the weekend to get through it all. Also, planning a quick road trip and making a fun outing of it, even if its a trip that you periodically take together. We also love to listen to music together.

What is one small way you love or serve your spouse? By setting out his breakfast for him to take to work, he probably doesn’t like breakfast as much as I do but he takes it daily. He randomly surprises me with a cup of tea, made just as I love it and making sure I am always warm because I HATE THE COLD or BEING COLD.

Do you have children? No children yet!

Before getting married, I wish someone had told me… the stakes are so much higher once you get married. Everything seems magnified – every fight/ happy moment feels that bit bigger. A friend of mine once told me how marriage magnifies all the issues you had while dating and that’s true.  I have also learnt the safety in marriage that comes from involving our families, God, the State … and that’s protection for him and I.

Happy anniversary love!!

Sunday Reads

Some great reads coming up from a less than warm Joburg morning 🙂

  1. Love this blogger, her pictures are spectacular. Check out her guide to the off-track places to visit in Joburg.
  2. Two very opposing views on Rihanna’s latest video. I watched the preview on the BET Awards then I caught twenty seconds of the actual video and I stopped. I think it’s gross and demeaning. View one, View two.
  3. Some reading lists from Africa and India.
  4.  Some influential Africans to watch on Twitter.
  5. The blogger herself is actually quite a lovely writer too!
  6. In case you are wondering what to do with an overload of cauliflower and zuccini.
  7. I am not my hair. I have my hair natural and locked but I accept that different versions work for different African women and people should select what they like and work with that and not judge other women for choosing to do something different with their hair.
  8. I love this lady’s home. VERY MUCH!!
  9. Definitely trying out this Chicken/Rice recipe this weekend.
  10. Might also try this chicken and couscous salad recipe.
  11. Wanna know how your income fares globally? Try this Calculator here.
  12. More about how Uber enters markets.
  13. Very interesting conversation around amateur porn by Rashida Jones (Be warned, the content could be offensive for sensitive readers)
  14. Looking to volunteer your time at a worthy cause? Here is a site that connects volunteers to need.
  15. Do you love to learn something new each day?

A visit to the Museum

Two weeks back I decided to check out the Wits Arts Museum (WAM) and they had an exhibition by Penny Siopsis and Peter Schutz. I much preferred Penny’s and thankfully we can take pictures (though flash is not allowed so excuse the quality of most). I love dolls so I greatly enjoyed the different installations she had that included them.

Wits Art Museum is proud to announce the exhibition, Time and Again showcasing a survey of the work of globally recognised South African artist, Penny Siopis. This exhibition reflects over three decades of Siopis’ creative production, and draws on the recurring themes of history, sexuality, race, memory, estrangement and violence. Many of the works on show were featured on her recent retrospective exhibition of the same title at the South African National Gallery in Cape Town. 

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If you are going to go, no food and drink is allowed in the Museum, Besides that, entry is free and they are open from Wednesday to Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and parking is readily available a few streets away. Also, on the first Saturday of every month, they have Art Classes between 12 and 1 for all levels of  expertise.

Enjoy!

Some reader help please?

What do you do with your old prescription frames? I am looking to donate them to a charity in Johannesburg with little luck. Any leads?
Please reply in the Comments or send me an email. Thanks!
PS: I tried The Lions Operation Brightsight and I got no response from them …

Forcing myself to love Winter

Despite being here for six Winters, I find that the period June to August is always so difficult for me to deal. So this year, I decided to compile a list of things that I like about Winter. Don’t worry, it’s extremely short.

  1. Soup for dinner, YUM Smile
  2. Scarves as a vital fashion accessory. I have many beautiful scarves so I am good.
  3. Having a ready excuse to avoid going out in order to stay indoors and stay cosy.
  4. Not having to shave my legs.
  5. Shorter days. In the morning, I definitely enjoy getting up when it’s dark outdoors; reminds me of growing up in Nairobi.

Do you love anything about Winter?

Two conversations at the traffic lights

One

I pull up to a traffic light and hand over food that I had gotten from the house to give a beggar when I come across them in the course of my day.

Me: Here is some food.

Gentleman: Oh thanks Ma’am (starts to walk off)

G: Oh, I’ll give this to my colleague over there.

M: Why?

G: Oh, I don’t eat rice.

M: Really? What do you eat?

G: Pap en vleis

M: Okay, I will bear that in mind.

Two

When I eat out with friends, if someone won’t take away the food left on their plate, I always take it with me and give it to street kids because most restaurants would rather trash the food than give it to needy people.

Me: Here you go.

Gentleman: Oh thanks Ma’am

G: My name is Jimmy, what’s your name?

M: (I give my standard fake name) Jane

G: Thanks Jane. I also don’t have shoes, I wear a Size 6 (and lifts his foot to show me) maybe you have some shoes at home you could help me with?

M: No, I am a size 5.

The end.

NOTE: I never roll down my window in the night and NEVER at any intersection that has a history of people smashing at windows. As I speak to these guys, my window is maybe open only 20% and my eyes are constantly out for the traffic lights and anything else.

Never a dull moment in Joburg City

Joburg city

These ads, penis enlargement and advertisements for a traditional healer/ witchdoctor are all the rage in the centre of Johannesburg town.

Guest Posting over at Simple Girl writes ..

The group, consisting of former workmates wishing to socialise on a regular basis, refers to itself by the acronym “RASTA” – this is derived from the first letter of each of our names. A distinguishing factors of the common employer lies in the fact that one of the perks is a hot lunch prepared for all employees and eaten at the main office, so it goes without saying that any other social engagement we undertook HAD TO revolve around food and consuming loads of it ….. continue reading

Little things Wednesday

Via

  • This is what little things is about!
  • The freedom not to dot my “i” when I write stuff. Take that Standard 3 teacher, I can write as I wish!
  • After three weeks of doing this, I can finally say I am enjoying the running. (Oh it helps that my partner and I got a better route to follow)
  • Enjoyed a few beautiful videos of my two-month old nephew.
  • Cheers to beautiful weather this past weekend and spending the day with my sister and 8-year old nephew.
  • Test drove this little baby. Not looking to get a new car any time soon but I have loved this car for so long, I wanted to know what it felt like to drive.
  • Great food and company for dinner at The Good Luck Club in Illovo. Slowly becoming one of my favourite places to meet people and hang out.

What little things caught your eye this past week?

Little things Wednesday

I have tried to come up with a weekly serial that I could do here with little success, largely because I would always pick something so complex that would be difficult to replicate in subsequent rounds. This time, I decided to do something simple – talk about the simple things that struck me that week.

via

  • Going to Nairobi and Kampala and meeting with family and friends that I have not seen in over 18 months.
  • Getting over myself and going to spend the night at my sisters marital home.
  • Receiving beautiful earrings, bangles and a chain from a dear friend!
  • Starting a new job that requires me to carry a packed lunch and always having something fresh to carry.
  • Scheduling a meeting in Bedfordview and discovering a lovely part of Johannesburg.
  • Driving my mom’s car around the farm.
  • Interlocking my locks and having them beautifully styled.
  • Sunday lunch with a family friend while listening to local Kenyan music.

Sometimes life gets so busy and we forget to smell the roses and notice the little things. And in the last few months, I have become very guilty of that and so this is a call to myself to go back to basics and start noticing the little things once again.

What little things have caught your eyes recently?

Summer loving

Ed. note: Really wish I had taken my camera along and taken pics, the visions would have been awesome Sad smile (Click on pic for source)

This was that first weekend when the cold weather finally passed and we had temps of at least 30 – 32 degrees.

Friday night, had dinner at Doppio with an old uni friend.

Had the worst service ever – starting with the Waiter coming to ask if I know that the table is reserved (yes, for me) and when he checked that twice, he asked, what do you want? what can I get you? All this without the menu! Jeez! It was downhill after that. He got my friends order wrong and the main chef had to come out and check what the misunderstanding was – she wanted prawns and he brought her a vegetarian dish! How’s that for a change in expectations. Long and short, did not tip him because after the mishap with the food, he would not speak to us. Love the restaurant but he was just having an awful day.

Yesterday morning, met with a work mate and we headed to the Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG) in Joubert Park, in the heart of the CBD.

It was really lovely. We got there half an hour early and my friend wanted to get coffee (in Hillbrow, OK?) and so we walked around for like half an hour and finally got the best tea for R3 a pop! Best and cheapest tea like ever, only needed mandazi or chapati to accompany it. Woulda made it awesome! But it was lovely, always wanted to walk around Hillbrow and the CBD and though I haven’t quite finished that, its a part tick on the list.

It took us about an hour to get through it, I expected it would be much bigger than that for some reason. It had some lovely pieces and great installations in place. Art to me has to make sense, can’t be abstract coz I just can’t make it out. Now that I have been there once, I would definitely go back for additional exhibitions and would recommend it to anyone.

The best part for me was the bit with the different prayers coming through the speaker boxes (above) and the bit with the different elements of faith or spirituality in Southern Africa,