these are the days of miracle and wonder…

     One lucky thing about living in different countries around the world is that you get to take a little ownership of many different cultures. It’s always cool when those cultures mix in a way you hadn’t previously realized.  Paul Simon’s Graceland album was a staple on family road trips in a lot of childhoods of people around our age group. We were too young to remember or fully comprehend the controversy Simon caused when he came here to Johannesburg to record it in 1985; he was breaking the international cultural boycott against South Africa and her apartheid government (though the album showcased black South African musicians and obviously didn’t support the apartheid government). For the 25th anniversary of the Graceland album, the documentary Under African Skies examines that controversy through footage of recordings and tours, and interviews with Simon, Paul McCartney, David Byrne, Hugh Masekela, Ray Phiri, Joseph Shabalala and many more.
    It was really cool and touching to see the story behind such a fixture of American culture that was recorded right here in the city I love and live in as an adult. 25 years after it was made, apartheid is a thing of the past, but the country still hasn’t yet fully healed.
    I can’t decide on my favorite moment of the documentary. One was the interviews with Joseph Shabalala and other members of Ladysmith Black Mamabazo about their trip to the U.S. to promote the album and perform on Saturday Night Live. When they got to NYC, they asked Simon where they must go to get a pass to visit Central Park, it hadn’t sunk in yet that they were free to go where they pleased.
Here’s a good excerpt of all the artists sing N’kosi Sikeleli (then the unofficial and now part of the national anthem) and another one of Miriam Makeba and Paul Simon singing Under African Skies. 

Anna and Maureen’s visit, according to my iPhone

Two of my best girlfriends have been visiting us for the past two weeks. We went on safari in Kruger and flew down to Cape Town and explored Johannesburg thoroughly. It was a blissful time and I wish your best friends could always be across the hall, a few steps away like they were in college.  It was sad to take them to the airport yesterday but if we all lived in the same place we probably wouldn’t have spent the last two weeks spotting lions together in Kruger, wine tasting in the Western Cape and eating meat and pap with our hands at a shisa nyama in Soweto. I feel so thankful that so many of our friends have come and visited us here in South Africa (and when we were in Berlin) and all the priceless memories we have running around the world with them.

Thanks for coming, Anna and Mo! xx

WAM!

WAMHOVER

Last Thursday P and I had the privilege of attending the opening of the new Wits Art Museum in Braamfontein. It’s exciting to finally have a proper art museum in Joburg! The first exhibit is called ‘WAM! Seeing Stars’ and is filled with works ranging from bronze statues by Sydney Kumalo, to charcoal drawings by William Kentridge to wooden masks from Nigeria and beadwork from the Eastern Cape.

It’s housed in what was a former petrol station and re-designed by Nina Cohen, Fiona Garson and William Martinson into the current modern beauty, with a lovely view of the Nelson Mandela Bridge. My favorite pieces were a photo of the inside of the Ponte City building and a charcoal piece by William Kentridge that is the left pane of a tryptich. It features a the Businessman from his animations, and on the bottom is noted “London is a suburb of Johannesburg.’ Ha! Indeed.

Scroll your mouse over the picture to get the address and opening hours of WAM, which opens to the public on May 19th.

**For my WAM image I layered three pictures I took of the opening to get a multiple exposure effect, and used the gradient tool to get the pink ombre, as well as the Super Braggadacio font to create a clipping mask in Photoshop, and some html/css code to create the image rollover. The entire(ly tiny) scope of my Photoshop knowledge is entirely because of the lovely blog Pugly Pixel, and how to do all of these things can be found on her generous and helpful blog.

A weekend away in Kwa-Zulu Natal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks to Freedom Day and Worker’s Day and Generous Bridge Day From Work we had a 5 day weekend, so we headed to the Midlands in KZN with friends. The weekend was full of boating, beering, eating (fresh, made-from-scratch pelmeni! aloo gobi! potjies! to name a few), and game playing. Seriously, there was a game of musical chairs after dinner one night and it’s hard to get more fun than that. It’s fall and in KZN it seemed exactly like a New England fall, with leaves changing brilliantly on the trees. Life is exceedingly difficult in South Africa.

Warm & Glad

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

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

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

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

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

As we head towards winter I’m glad that my friend Sazi introduced me to another adorable and yummy food spot in Jozi to keep me Warm & Glad (har har) when my drafty house is not. It is a combination of a coffee shop, specialty grocery store, cafe and art gallery. Currently on display are colorful screen prints that had me thinking about dropping some rands, they serve fresh juices (apple-carrot-ginger!) and their hot chocolate is a cup of steaming milk with pieces of milk chocolate to mix in on the side. Adorbs. A small but delicious menu with plenty of variety, and…free wifi! Try it, you’ll like it.

  • Alban’s Square
    357 Jan Smuts Avenue
    Corner St Alban’s Road
    Craighall Park

    Park in St Alban’s Road

  • SHOP TIMES

    Monday to Friday: 7.30am to 4.30pm
    Saturdays: 8.30am to 12.30pm

So, I have an obsession with apex predators.

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

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

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

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

Any time you feel down, just look at pictures of apex predators. These guys were about 3 feet away from our car, and slowly passed us one by one, giving new meaning to the word ‘catwalk.’ For the first lion, the windows were rolled up. After we saw that what they were interested in wasn’t us we rolled down the window a bit in the name of good photography.

Cape Town, according to my iPhone

I flew down to Cape Town for the weekend with Tulin and Elisabeth, our latest visitors and good friends. We soaked up the city (and unfortunately, the rain) and ate too much food and shopped on Long Street. A lovely weekend if I do say so myself. I’ve been there so many times since moving here and it was nice to have a relaxed time instead of rushing around to get in all the sights like we usually do. I got some good ideas next time I go with P to have a slow, romantic weekend.