It’s time to celebrate the winter solstice this week-end

An apparently dead Juliet on part of the so basic but so effective stage set.

An apparently dead Juliet on part of the so basic but so effective stage set.

We’re due for a mild week-end, from Sunday the days will be getting longer and the gas crisis might ease towards the beginning of August – some positive thinking around the load-shedding blues.  So get out there this week-end as we’re spoilt for choice with really special things on offer. Number one has to be the Geneva Ballet’s performance of Romeo and Juliet showing until Sunday at the Joburg Theatre. It’s powerful, poignant, sensuous with the most simple and dramatic of stage sets and props, stunning choreography and simply brilliant use of the human body. Parts made we want to weep with the sheer aesthetic sensibility of the production, the emotive power and timeless universality,  and the consummate skill of the dancers .  How does ‘Romeo’ perform the lifts of an apparently dead Juliet and how does an apparently limp and ‘floppy’ Juliet still maintain form and control. Breath-taking. We had excellent seats for R280 per seat which to see a world-class production and compared to the price of a movie ticket, is really good value for money.



And for a day in the warm winter sun, head for the amphitheatre at the Nirox Sculpture Park in the Cradle of Humankind.  Amid the sculptures of the Winter Sculpture Fair you can enjoy some glühwein  and picnic fare by Epicurean Emporium while listening to Guitar Giants such as Madala Kunene, Guy Buttery, Ben Badenhorst, Lerato Lichaba, Tessa Ziegler and Richard Bruyns . Tickets available on-line:  at R300 per person, or R320 at the gate; Children under 12 pay half-price.

Still taking advantage of the mild weather venture into the inner city on Sunday 21st for a tour with Past Experiences of graffiti in Newtown.    Did you know that Joburg inner city is becoming known as a graffiti and street art destination?  This tour  looks at the history of the movement internationally as well as the graffiti culture in Jozi, major players and top artists. So throw on your comfy shoes, take the whole family and go and explore your city! From 09h30-11h30 meeting at Sci-Bono Coffee Shop with loads of parking adjacent to Sci-Bono’s parking lot on Miriam Makeba Street.  R150pp (kids 12 and under R100). To book or for more info, email or phone  on 011 678 3905

There’s more to do with kids this week-end.   Opening at the Sandton International Convention Centre is the Ice Age Exhibition which, if it’s all it’s cracked up to be, should be loads of fun while also being educational.  45 moving life-size animals in recreated landscapes such as tundra, forests and glaciers, place the species in their natural habitat. There’s a virtual aquarium as well as lots of interactive displays and games – so it should be a winner with kids.  Sadly you’ll also have to delve into your wallet for this outing: R145 per adult, R99 for kids and R435 for a family of 2 adults and 2 kids.  The exhibition runs until the 8th August.

For those who have want something different from the Joburg week-end market fare (Neighbourgoods and Bryanston Organic Market on Saturday;  Market on Main  and Rosebank Rooftop Market on Sunday), why not try 27 Boxes which opens this week-end in Melville.   All 70 stores are built from shipping containers along the lines of Box Park in Shoreditch, London.  You’ll find a variety of boutique outlets such as Stephanie Lesabe’s Moonyu clothing and accessories and Adihambo Mula-Landers’ amazing Galago sandals; as well as funky designer stores like Love Jozi and Black Coffee.  And of course there are loads of specialist food stalls.   75 3rd Ave, parking entrance on 4th Avenue


Schutz man


If you have now spent all your money (or didn’t have any to begin with) but still  want something inspiring to do -visit Peter Schütz’s retrospective exhibition at Wits Art Museum. And there’s a bonanza because Penny Siopis’ show (also excellent) is still on view. Peter’s works are complete delight . Peter who died in 2008,was a superb craftsman and a serious thinker with a wicked sense of humour.  He moved from being influenced by pop art to sculpting images that were both steeped in the European Christian tradition of saints, martyrs and Madonnas, as well as being deeply influenced by art from the African continent. Peter’s studio at Wits was a jumbled overcrowded shrine of memorabilia, knick-knacks and tsatskas.  And the curators have played on Peter’s one-eyed vision of the world (he always wore a patch on his left eye) in a wonderful peep-show giving a view onto a mock-up of his cluttered ‘cabinet of curiosities’.  It’s a complete gem of a show not to be missed.

So there’s no excuse for vegging out this week-end.  And a happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there. Although probably the best gift that Dads could get is exclusive use of the TV remote for the entire day!


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Posted in Art and Exhibitions, History and heritage, Joburg and surrounds: things to do and see, Shopping, Theatre, entertainment & events | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Response

What better way to spend a few hours on a Sunday – Maboneng precinct

Colbert-Mashile_Beast-of-Burden-Invite-2webAnother wonderful  late summer’s day in Jozi – one of those where the temperature is balmy, the sky is blue, the place is buzzing, people are mellow, the value of friendship is more acutely felt than usual and, just maybe, Monday morning will hold off  its arrival for a while. Maboneng was this place last Sunday. A friend Barbara and I went to Arts On Main to see Colbert Mashile’s new exhibition showing at NIROXprojects.  Barbara and I had both taught Colbert when he studied Art History at Wits as part of his Fine Arts degree, so he has a special place in our hearts. His exhibition shows a real departure from his earlier works which dealt with the cultural practice and trauma of circumcision. In Beast of Burden Colbert draws on the themes and message of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, while adapting them to a contemporary South African context. Informal recyclers transform into animals as they draw their heavy loads, animals part-menacing part-victim inhabit a world of unequal power relations. Colbert’s works are strong, powerful and evocative. It’s a great exhibition.

In the Arts on Main market we found a stall selling Mojitos and opted for the no-alcohol version – wonderfully refreshing and tart with lots of lime, lemon and mint. We decided that although the food market itself was buzzing, we’d prefer something more open, airy and quieter (yes, we agreed we are getting old!) so we went down the street to Little Addis. On the pavement nearby were a young man and woman (presumably from the Signs Session side walkssign she was Kelly Grevler ) who had been working with a number of  children some of whom had been drawing and colouring-in and others who had been playing guitars. Apparently they give these free sessions to kids every Sunday. What an extraordinary initiative and so amazing what people do to make a difference.

At Little Addis we sat on the pavement watching the world go by – some in dramatic outfits and elaborate hairstyles, other pushing prams, some suburbanites (like us), lots of creative hipsters – but everybody with one thing in common – all were chilled and relaxed and just enjoying the public space.  At Little Addis we shared the most delicious vegetarian platter served with njera, that fabulous soft spongy Ethiopian flat bread.  It was seriously wonderful – best Ethiopian food I’ve had in Joburg.Little Addis menuEthiopian food






West African                                                                                                                                                                         And as if we hadn’t done enough of a good thing, we did a bit of window shopping including going past the House of Baobab which serves West African food.  The inside is a riot of colour with bold dramatic  fabrics and large vibrant paintings. A patron told us she’d had an excellent meal – the fish, which is cooked over hot coals outside on the street. And to end off a perfect relaxed Sunday escape, we popped into 1886 Boutique where I found a funky towel holder of a wire-decorated Joburg skyline – just what I’d been wanting for the kitchen.   Before I die cropped

Close to where we’d parked the car, was a large public blackboard on a wall with multiple entries of Before I die I want to …  and I felt an immediate connection with the first response which was …. be young again!!



NIROXprojects is open Wednesday to Friday from 12h00 to 16h00 and Saturday and Sunday from 10h30 to 14h30. Colbert’s Show runs until 8th April.







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Pick of the week – eateries in Church St Mayfair

Rainbow cakeWell it all started with Janet, a school-friend whose birthday was last Sunday. I had promised to bring a cake and not being a fabulous baker I of course turned to the professionals. And now I realize that it all started even before this, as I had been to lunch with a friend, Bart, the week before and he had produced the most un-Swiss Swiss roll cake you could ever imagine.  Here rainbow nation, met gay pride, met paint by numbers, met Indian delight, met bright plastic kid’s toy.   Ranbow cake - sliceSo off I went with more friends, David and Gordon … a lot of different friends are getting involved in this story – to Saleh’s bakery  in Church Street Mayfair to buy said cake. It certainly did not disappoint as it too was the talking point of Janet’s birthday party for some time. ‘How do they get the inside colours different from the outside colours’  ??  Yellow becomes red, blue becomes purple … the sheer joy and delight of garish kitsch! It’s sweet and cake-ish but that’s what one would expect from a fabulous creation like this.

While at Saleh’s bakery we decided to duck into Shayonas’ diagonally across the road at 74 Church St (Saleh’s is at no 81) for some take away vegetarian curries. They sell their takeaways by size (i.e. small, medium and large containers). And even with small containers, I came away with far too much – saying ‘no’ and making choices are not my strongest suits. So I left with a to-die-for brinjal curry, a mung dahl, mixed veg, potato curry and spiced roti. For at least 2 meals it came to just over R70. That’s hard to beat. And it was really delicious. Certainly on my menu when I next have people for supper.

Burhans Butchery and Kebab And then while there was all this scurrying and excitement between curries and cakes,  David realized that Turkish clients of his had recommended Burhan’s Butchery and Kebab House as an excellent Turkish restaurant in Joburg – and it turns out to be right next door to Saleh’s bakery. So off we went a few nights later for supper. Don’t expect atmosphere and glamour but expect huge portions at very cheap prices. We (4 of us .. yes another friend Viv joined)  arrived early – around 6.45 (they say the kitchen closes at 8). We were all quite peckish so ordered a platter of 3 Lahmacun to share as a  starter – not really knowing what to expect. For R45 we thought it would be a small portion.  At the same time we ordered the chef’s platter as a main course, also for the table. Next thing our little appetizer arrived comprising 3 medium size Turkish flat bread (like pizzas) with the most delicious spicy meat topping, along with a fabulous yoghurt, cucumber, mint and dill sauce and a mild spicy tomato sauce. Plus a large salad. This was enough for a meal in itself.  Our faces must have been a picture when our chef’s platter arrived with at least 6 more large Turkish flat breads as well as a portion for each of us of chicken cubes, kofte, lamb chops, shawarma,  steak cubes and, the most delicious thing of all, chicken chops (which we initially thought sounded a little alarming). They manage to get the chicken into a chop shape using thighs and I think pieces off the drumstick which are subtly spiced, cooked over an open flame and are incredibly succulent.  Those chicken chops alone are what we would all go back for. And the whole meal with drinks (sadly no alcohol) cost us each R100!  Also hard to beat.  We didn’t even have room for the baklava … next time we’ll know not to order so excessively.  Burhan’s  also do a big business in take-aways – served through a window directly to patrons standing on the pavement.

We thought next time we’d try Al Hamra further along Church St but we will certainly be back to Burhan’s for their chicken chops.




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