taking advantage of alcohol brand management: an epic saturday in jozi.

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

I’m so in love with Johannesburg after our weekend (especially after Sunday) and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. Before I gush about why  I’ll tell you about our crazy little Saturday and how we got to benefit from a bit of marketing. Our friends Anita and Tumi took a bunch of us to a party that Jameson (the whiskey) throws twice a year around these parts to gin up their brand loyalty and sexy factor. It was all meet at point A and be driven to a secret location Point B (a huge Jozi mansion) where you sip champagne, drink cocktails, swim, get massages, eat finger foods, and people watch sexy Joburgers in sexy outfits (I have never seen someone who wasn’t a model–maybe she was a model?– rock high-waisted shorts and a bra so well).

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the the world, documenting the things I love

The sky was ripe for photography since we were outside at sunset, and the picture on the left has a bit of camera shake but that is because it was taken at a 5 second exposure and steadied on a car, (lucky for P and my friends I’ve a self-imposed ban on bringing tripods to sexy parties).

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

photo credit: P. Me and our friend B. Just sipping champagne like we do every night of the week.

As you can imagine, after a day of being plied with booze and food things got a bit hectic. After the party we were dropped off at the meeting point and were planning to call a cab. But then Tumi (who had been up to all kinds of antics throughout the day) convinced this amazing gentleman to drive all of us (6!) to Greenside and he proceeded to DJ what has to be the most spectacularly fun late 90’s R&B  car ride I’ve ever experienced. At the end of the night we found that our keys were missing, and luckily A & T live around the corner and were kind enough to save our sorry butts from a hotel. It was an epic Saturday in Jozi.

Help Portrait: Gogo’s that give back.

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

I wrote about my first experience with Help Portrait not too long ago. Yesterday I went back for more, first at a nursery school and then the Ikageng Itireleng AIDS Ministry in Orlando West, Soweto. I had a (photographically) educational experience shooting children during my first Help Portrait shoot, and this time I got to click a bunch of lovely, loud-mouthed, sweet, and all around badass group of grandmas (called gogo’s in many RSA languages). The Ikageng Itireleng programme seeks to look after and support 1,500 orphan-headed households in Soweto who are left parentless because of HIV-AIDS by providing counselling, home-based care, school fees, supplies, electricity, and psycho-social health through a network of volunteers and professional support.

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

These gogo’s care for orphaned children through Ikageng and we came to their support group to shoot them. It was such a pleasure to be there- while we were setting up they did their singing, dancing, praying, and the best part: gogo aerobics. These grannys took their exercises quite seriously, calling out anyone who wasn’t putting in full effort, and taking pleasure in the cameras that were there to document.

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love
If you feel like helping out financially (which you can do through Ikageng’s website) and want reassurance about where your money would go, you can rest assured that  it will be in good hands as corporations such as McKinsey vet, help and aid this organization, and it is a member of betterplace.org which strives for transparency and accountability in aid for small, lesser-known organizations . If you live in Jozi, you could also donate your time by volunteering at a creche or tutoring math, for instance (again through their website).

*As per usual, these images are not the images that will be returned to the gogo’s, but are my outtakes.

South African Street Style.


Source: guardian.co.uk via Namrata on Pinterest

     I’ve mentioned before how impossibly cool the fashion in Johannesburg is, (caveat: you have to step out of your electric fence to find it). Currently my favorite place for fashion inspiration is the rooftop of the 12 Decades Art Hotel on a Sunday evening. You’ll find guys and gals with gravity defying hair do’s and impossible-to-pull-off-for-us-mere-mortals colorful outfits. Until I learn a lot more about photography and get up the courage to photograph people on the street I’ll have to link these photos from my new photographer crush Chris Saunders. A new book has come out by Helen Jennings called New African Fashion with includes many of his photos. According to the Guardian:

… style writer Helen Jennings attempts to explore the real face of style across Africa. She looks past the clichés that make it to western catwalks, such as batik print and the ‘safari’ look, to find out more from across the African continent.

helen jennings, new african fashion, land of nams

Lucky for me P is (attempting) picking up the book on his lunch(since he works at Sandton City Towers) and I am going be endlessly inspired this evening after my photography class. Watch the video below to learn more about the Smarteez Fashion Collective, a fashion ‘tribe’ from Soweto and my other new obsession.

After watching that I’m looking for someone to go with me to the CBD to check out some fabulous fabric. The zebra curtains that came in the kitchen of our house are killing me!

smarteez, chris saunders

Photo Credit: Chris Saunders, street fashion photographer extraordinaire

The New Chinatown in Johannesburg

new chinatown in johannesburg, land of nams    On the top of my list of favorite things is food from around the world. So when my fellow Joburg expatriate Bing (she is showing up a lot in my blog posts huh?), who is from Singapore and is Chinese, said she wanted to take us on a trip to Joburg’s ‘new’ Chinatown we were very excited. She says the old Chinatown, which is in downtown Joburg, sells such cheap stuff that the Chinese won’t even buy it.  So we trekked to Cyrildene and reached glorious Derrick Avenue.  She showed us the best oriental grocery stores and Martina and I stocked up on all those hard-to-find ingredients for our Burmese and Indian dishes. I even took home some tapioca pearls to make Bubble Tea since I can no longer order them to my apartment like in good ol’ NYC. There were veggies as far as the eye could see, as well as electronics and massage parlors. Whatever you want, they have it for you and it is cheap as hell.

chinatown derrick avenue joburg, land of nams

Then Bing took us to the pièce de résistance:

 What, you ask. What is the piece of crap hole-in-the-wall doing on your sexy blog? It is a well-known fact that the dirtier the restaurant the better the food. We let her do the ordering, and man did she order…enough food to feed an army us three women. Pour l’entrée, lamb skewers. We couldn’t actually even tell what kind of meat they were because they were so deliciously fatty.

chinese style lamb skewers, land of nams

Then, a beef dish. Was it stir fry? I think it was salt and pepper beef. Who knows, I was too busy stuffing my face to pay attention to that.

salt and pepper beef, land of nams

Some noodles because if there was anything we needed after fatty lamb skewers, it’s lots of carbs.

Then to assuage our guilt, spinach.

spinach, land of nams

Another well-known fact is shopping is good for digestion. We headed to Bruma Oriental City to shop for all the cheap household stuff that we could ever need. If you are new to Joburg, don’t waste your money on household crap at Design Quarter. Look here first. We even found some bikinis, because if there is anything we are in need of, it is cheap chinatown bikinis.

When you’re in the mood for a cheap and extra delicious chinese lunch, some groceries, and some god-knows-what to stock your expat house with, make a trip out to the new Chinatown on Derrick Avenue and then Bruma City for some shopping and your wallet (and friends and hell, your husband) will thank you.

Jacaranda City.

jacaranda trees, johannesburg, land of nams

Well, officially Pretoria is known as Jacaranda City but Joburg has a fair amount, too. We stopped the car on a lark to grab a shot of the Jacarandas and their ‘purple snow’ lining this Jozi street. Maybe we value these beautiful trees even more because they only bloom for a little over a month in the spring. They smell heavenly, and look even better. All this to say I am volunteering today and will be back to write a regular post in the afternoon about pea pesto and fettucini. Stay tuned, because it’s yummy.

things to do in joburg: neighbourgoods market

Namrata Singh//neighbourgoods market sign

this weekend we visited the neighbourgoods market. it was just lovely! it is located on the corner of juta street and de beer street, in downtown joburg. it runs on saturdays until it dies out around 3 (we were there until 4). hot tip: when using a satellite navigator in joburg, typing in an intersection gets accurate results more consistently than entering a regular street address…but more on that in another post! it is not unlike the Arts on Main market, in that there are delicious foods and such.

Namrata Singh//plants in a bag at the neighbourgoods market

the crowd is sexy, the food is yummy, and after you’ve had a few belgian beers or margaritas you might find yourself dancing with some new friends. the market only opened a little over a month ago so you should visit before it becomes oversaturated and cliché soon. i heard from a new friend that renting a stall is only about three or four hundred rand per day, so i’m thinking of selling my cupcakes or other baked goods if i can ever get it together. i think an exploratory visit to kadies is in order!

Namrata Singh//sexy people at the neighbourgoods market

as noted, local fashion designers and artisans fill the stalls of these markets, so I found this white shirt from Take Care Clothing and that tube necklace from Skermunkil Design Studio, (you can find her blog here to find out where to buy her awesome pieces).

Namrata Singh//loot from neighbourgoods

i am so inspired by ladies like them…creating beautiful pieces for affordable prices, running their own businesses and not letting things like Fear of Failure stop them. for me, one of the biggest appeals of going to these markets is seeing people selling their wares…it is like they are baring a piece of their soul and saying: Hello. I made/designed/created this. I’m standing here and hoping that you like what I made and want to further my business and creativity by buying one. although the designers probably don’t think about it like that since they are used to doing this type of thing a lot, for me watching it is a profound experience. one of the reasons we made the decision to move to joburg was so that i could decide what it is i want to do with the rest of my life. i am forced to not work for a while as a holder of a dependent visa, and I don’t want this time to be for naught. i want to make the right decision for my career path, and not let fear keep me from making the right one.

17th October, 2011

springtime bonus post.

Namrata Singh//one of the many new blooms in our garden

it is springtime in the southern hemisphere so i thought i would share one of the many new flowers which are popping up around our estate yard. it looks like a veritable botany garden out there. i’ll share some of the more exotic flowers as summer gets closer. 

13th october, 2011 bonus post!