Walking around Joburg gives a different perspective on the city of gold. You can see its vibrancy, taste its history, smell its diversity, feel its energy, hear its languages. Lesego Maduma lets his pictures of his adopted city do the talking.
To hell with formalities like we are sitting in some tedious meeting convened by bureaucrats; that's not how we roll.
Something unique has just hit you, and you suddenly realise that although you might have lived in this metropolis forever, there are some things about it you did not know. Or maybe you knew them, but not in this format.
Allow me to share with you - visually - what I discover on my many jaunts around the metro. These pictures, among many others, were taken on my long walk to Hillbrow. Now that sounded slightly like the Nobel laureate, Nelson Mandela's Long Walk to Freedom, right? Well, I took that freedom walk more than a decade ago; don't know about you.
This walk is going to be informative, entertaining, amusing - and perhaps even help you to rediscover this beautiful city of Joburg, a vibrant metropolis where history is made, deals are struck and new ideas are born, all in a day's work.
A lot has already been written about the city of gold, and a lot has already been forgotten. Now my pictures will reintroduce your Joburg to you, as seen through the eyes of my feet - if they had eyes, that is. Come take a walk with me.
Missing the hair-raising taxi ride, it was shank's ponies that got me through Hillbrow - and the slower pace opened my eyes to the stories around me; I was intrigued by the historic Governor's House in upper Hillbrow. Adjacent to the Old Fort, is it part of the magnificent Constitution Hill precinct.
A piece of the old mining town's history, the house was illegally inhabited by vagrants who were alleged to have started the fire which nearly damaged it in early 2008. Perhaps a small blessing in disguise, the inferno sparked the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA), a City-owned agency, into immediate action and the Governor's House has been restored to its former glory.
See it for yourself; I can show you - instead of simply tell you - what the house looks like now. It's got a chic look, and resonates with the old and the new, much as Joburg itself does. The façade has been overhauled, and the house has a fetching, inviting look with its long white veranda, two outside doorsteps and seven front windows, all painted white. A single-storey structure, it has a red iron roof, two overgrown palm trees and manicured lawn in its welcoming front garden.
Once the home of the governor of the Old Fort, it was built around 1908. Initially, the house consisted of three lounges, a passage lobby, a dining room, five bedrooms, three fireplaces and bay windows, all of which have been kept intact in the facelift. Window and door frames blackened by the fire have been restored or replaced with unadorned wooden frames, painted bright white.
I hear the renovation cost the agency a whopping R7-million. Since the fire, the JDA has bolstered safety and the Governor's House is now guarded 24/7 against vandals and vagrants seeking some shelter for the night.
The Governor's House is on the corner of Kotze Street and Clarendon Place, Hillbrow. Alongside it, on Clarendon Place, is the refurbished Hillbrow Recreation Centre, which is flanked by the Hillbrow police station.
Feast your eyes on these beautiful pictures, and drop your thoughts and comments - and even suggestions for other walks I can take through this lovely city - to Lesegom@bigmedia.co.za, or call me on 011 484 1400.
Until next time, te tshware wete. Take care.
Governor's House damaged by fire
The Fort undergoes a facelift