News emerged last week that the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) is considering using Joubert Park as a temporary taxi facility while upgrades to the Jack Mincer rank are made. This has outraged many Johannesburg citizens and organisations. In the article below Kathy Munro explores the history and significance of Johannesburg's oldest park. If you would like to see Joubert Park remain as it is feel free to sign this petition.
It is claimed that the upgrading of the Jack Mincer Taxi facility will take 18 to 20 months to complete and that public safety issues (amongst other reasons) preclude the structure being used during building operations. Therefore it is suggested that as a temporary measure the taxis may be relocated to Joubert Park. This, on the face of it, would seem to be a realistic proposal, particularly in the light of the other reasons that the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) advances for this strategy. Therefore to protest against the proposal, as some have done,
Seldom in life does one get an opportunity to take decisive action in what appears to be a major emergency. But let me recount one very small such moment in my own life. When I was a youngster growing up in Johannesburg a notable feature of life in the city was the weekly street collection, run by the City Council in order to assist worthy causes in raising funds.
Louis Bonaparte Neapolitan Collins (Lou Collins) was a clockmaker based in Pritchard Street who was commmissioned to install a number of landmark Johannesburg clocks including the original Rissik Street Post Office Clock and the Markham's Clock.
A few years ago the Provincial Heritage Resources Authority Gauteng (PHRAG) approved the demolition of the Anton van Wouw House in Doornfontein on the condition that the studio where van Wouw completed many of his famous works was preserved. As word of the demolition spread many people struggled to come to terms with the decision as the Van Wouw House formed part of the Joburg100 list (a list of 100 sites worthy of preservation compiled in the lead up to Johannesburg's centenary celebrations).
This article may be somewhat premature as we have yet to investigate the situation fully but it looks like the historic Van Wouw house in Doornfontein has been demolished. We went to photograph it on the weekend along with the Alhambra Theatre and all that was there was a vacant stand. We have compared old photos and a google street view shot from a couple of years ago with the latest batch to make sure and the picture isn't pretty. We'll reach out to the heritage community to see if anyone else has some information about what happened.
On the occassion of the 75th Anniversary of the Drill Hall in 1979 the following 'history' of the building was compiled.
As we enter silly season I have been warned to be brief. No one has time to read long pages of diatribes against those who own wonderful old buildings and don’t maintain them. I am just back from a week in Cape Town, travelling there by train. The most disgusting views of Johannesburg came from the eastern section behind the Art Gallery where literally tons of filth are simply pushed over the side from what used to Union Grounds. This continues for some way.
My story begins in Bremen Town Hall where I was invited to celebrate "10 years of Democracy in South Africa". There I got to know the Bremer author Heinz Gustafsson, who had just presented his book “Namibia, Bremen and Germany, a Rocky Road to Friendship”. We started talking and I realised we both shared a passion for Africa. I told him about our pilot project (with the local Rotarians and the teachers of the "St.
By now most Joburgers will be aware that on 30 September 2015 the historic Rand Club shut its doors. Whether this move is temporary or permanent is a matter of debate but there is one man who believes emphatically that the best days of the Club are ahead. That man is Wilson Mphaga, the larger than life personality who has welcomed members and guests to the Rand Club for the past decade and a half. Earlier this week we were lucky enough to sit down and chat with the man that many have come to know as the ‘Face of the Club’.
In the article below Kathy Munro, Associate Professor in the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of the Witwatersrand, unpacks the layers of the wonderful friendship between Mohandas Gandhi and Hermann Kallenbach. The piece was inspired by the unveiling of a statue of the two men in Rusne Lithuania in October 2015. Kathy also asks whether it is time for a similar statue to be created and unveiled in Johannesburg.