Jozi’s landmarks: the FNB Stadium

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The Calabash, symbol of “togetherness”, a value at the heart of the African culture

This is surely one the most iconic buildings in the city, a symbol known around the globe, reminiscent of the good old days of the 2010 World Cup.  Considered by many as the heart of the South African football history, the FNB Stadium hosted during its more than 30 years of existence a range of venues that goes beyond the sporting universe. Its stunning architectural features and the solemn atmosphere of the place makes it worth to visit: no need to be a big sport fan, I guarantee you will love it.

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Down to the core, the Hillbrow story

Down to the core of Ponte City Tower

I became fascinated with the Ponte Tower the day I saw a picture taken from the base of the building. The light, tunnelled down to the core, reflected on the hundreds of windows of the structure, created a dramatic effect that I had never seen anywhere else. I wanted to see it for myself. Yes, but the Ponte Tower is on the verge of Hillbrow, the part of the city that everybody told us to avoid. There was no way for us to get there.

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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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The day we flew over Jozi

Jozi's most famous landmarks: Ponte, Hillbrow Tower, and Brixton Tower in the distance

Jozi’s most famous landmarks: Ponte, Hillbrow Tower, and Brixton Tower in the distance

A few weeks ago, we had the privilege to fly during 1h over Jozi in an helicopter. We departed from the Midrand Grand Central Airport, flew over Sandton, reached the centre of the city from the East side, and then in direction of Soweto and Soccer City, where we started our return, going around the city from the West side this time, and then Fourways, Midrand, and back to the airport. I won’t say much about the trip, except that it was one of the best experiences I have ever had, and that I would recommend it to anyone interested in getting to know the city from a different perspective. I’ll let the photos do the talking. Continue reading

The sun also rises on Soweto

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Jabulani Theatre reflecting the first rays of the sun

Soweto. Or So.We.To. for South Western Township. Its history is intrinsically linked to the one of Johannesburg, and its name bears memories of freedom fighters and greater men.

Soweto was created as a result of the gold rush that started in the late nineteenth century in the south of Johannesburg. “Matchbox houses” were put up for the hundreds of black workers who came to the golden city in the hope of making a living  and it grew steadily during the industrialisation of the first half of the twentieth century. Continue reading