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.
Below is a short but interesting article about German mercenaries who settled in the Eastern Cape in the 1850s and left behind some fascinating relics. The article appeared in the August 1976 edition of Restorica, the journal of the Simon van der Stel Foundation (today the Heritage Association of South Africa). Thank you to the University of Pretoria (copyright holders) for giving us permission to publish.
In 1906 there were 160 licensed drinking places in Cape Town including hotels, taverns, inns and bottle stores. The link between hotels, a license and a bed for the night was much deplored by the temperance movement who argued that "billiards and brandy, the two curses of Cape Town prevail". This book tells the story of the hotels established or upgraded in Cape Town over the two decades and beyond. It was the hey day of hotels that appealed because of their excellent beer, a soft bed and reasonable food.
It would be true to state that, from a legislative and practical point of view, historical conservation in this country is an unmitigated disaster, and has been one since the demise of the old National Monuments Council in 1999. For all its ideological faults and Broederbond associations the NMC had a national infrastructure which its successor, the South African Heritage Resources Agency, SAHRA, had every opportunity of taking over and transforming to meet the needs of the new South African democracy.
Africana Repository, R F Kennedy. Published by Juta, 1965, illustrated, 178 pages. This book is modestly subtitled, "Notes for a Series of lectures given to the Hillbrow Study Centre". It is an essential and scholarly guide to Africana book collecting. Kennedy was the Johannesburg City Librarian and was able to draw on and also shape the resources of the JPL and the Africana museum. Kennedy knew what he was talking about, he shared his knowledge with a lay lecture audience, keen collecting enthusiasts, historians and librarians.
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.