Jozi’s landmarks: the old train station

The glorious old Park Station

The glorious old Park Station

If you’ve ever crossed the Mandela bridge, you’ve surely come across an old Victorian structure that stands erect and abandoned on a large piece of land at the entrance of Newton. Well, that’s the old Park Station, and the subject of today’s post.

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My South African playlist

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I didn’t anything about South African music before coming to Jo’burg. Well, not exactly true. I knew a bit. But not much. You’ll see that later.

So, yes, I’ve had a whole lot of new music to experience in my new country, and I’ve been listening to South African tunes with great pleasure. At least, most of the time. You’ll see that later as well.

Hence this playlist: for those who want to immerse into local music before coming to the country, here are a few bands and tracks you can listen to in the plane. And oh yes, I’m a pop-rock-folk kind of guy, so don’t expect any hip-hop / dance / house references here, or you’d end up bitterly disappointed.

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Jozi’s landmarks: the Hillbrow Tower

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Candy clouds hanging over Hillbrow Tower

Jozi’s skyline fascinates me. It may just be a few buildings rising from the highs and lows of the city’s many ridges, pressed over the deep blue line of the horizon. It may be so. But to most people, Jozi’s skyline is the powerful image of a city built on hope and dreams that surrendered to countless crimes and sins. It has a mythical dimension that attracts you, that resonates to the many stories you’ve been told as a child, a city of perdition, a new Sodoma & Gomorra,  the Pandora’s box that makes you wonder what’s inside. There are those who stay clear from it, and those who engulf into it. I stay somewhere in between. Many times, I’ve fantasised about the microcosm hidden behind the imprint that I see every night on my way back from work without daring to walk its streets to the full extent. So to tame the beast, and satisfy my strong desire to know more about the city, I’ve decided to start a serie on its most famous landmarks, and see where it leads me. This is the first step in my attempt to know the city, and its people, better.

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Where the wild things are…

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It took me a while to understand it. And then it hit me. I was looking for a Christmas gift for my nephew, something not too heavy for my parents to bring back in their suitcase, but something meaningful, something that would last longer than the usual 2 weeks of post-Christmas euphoria; so I was looking for such a gem when my mind stumbled across one of my sweetest memories as a child: the reading of “Where the Wild Things Are”, by Maurice Sendak. And here it was, plain for me to see: not only had I found the perfect gift, but I had also solved the mystery of why I was so fascinated by South Africa.

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My year with Madiba

Extract from last new's newspapers, the day Mandiba died

Extract from last year’s newspapers, the day Mandiba died

What a presumptuous title for a post! But still a meaningful one… We arrived for the first time to South Africa last year the day he died. In these days of remembrance, one will surely reflect on how the life of the leader of the nation has impacted his/her own. And so do I. Hence this post. Continue reading