Johannesburg: The New York of South Africa

Great article!

The New Neighbour

The question: ‘Why did you come to Johannesburg?’ is the most heard question living in Joburg and being a foreigner. “You come from the Netherlands, we want to go there! Why on earth would you coming to Johannesburg? And why not Cape Town?”

The answer is always the same: Because Johannesburg is such a cool city. There is so much energy, positive developments are taking place everywhere, and there is so much to do! Have you been to this new place in …(fill in the blanks)?

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It is interesting to see that Joburg has still such a low self-esteem. Especially if you look at all the lists and articles that Joburg is featured in, eg:

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March 25, 2015 · 8:40 pm

Constitution Hill

I took an afternoon to head up to Constitution Hill because I didn’t know what it was all about, in all honesty.

Constitution Hill is a heritage site in Johannesburg that used to be the main prison and court that housed many famous South Africans who committed crimes during the famous Apartheid Regime.

Back in the day, Johannesburg was South Africa’s major business hub, the city of Gold. I can only assume that many south africans – black, white, indian and coloured – fled to Johannesburg in search of jobs and business. With the Afrikaans government in ruling, the apartheid regime was sadly part of the constitution, separating people of different races, in terms of where one would be allowed to walk at certain hours of the day, where you could work, what work you were allowed to do, where you would live, which public spaces you were allowed to use and so forth. By having such stringent rules that was biased towards the colour of your skin, it was inevitable that this would cause distress, hatred, anger and conspiracy to those races who were negatively affected.

‘Criminals’ were placed at Constitution hill for crimes such as protesting, conspiracies against the ruling government of that time, and even for walking in an area of the city without your  ‘dompass’, a passport that would tell you whether you could be in that specific place at that specific time. These ‘criminals’ would be put amongst other criminals who were committed for crimes such as murder, rape, theft and house break ins.

People would be sent to Constitution Hill, imprisoned until their sentence time, where they would go to the consitution court, which is situated on the hill next to the prison.

Famous activists such as Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Ghandi, Albert Luthuli, Bram Fischer and Joe Slovo were imprisoned here.

WHAT TO SEE WHEN YOU VISIT

You can take a guided tour, which I recommend, to learn more detail about the history. If you’re on the court side, go to the information office where you can book a tour.

I actually did the walk myself, which is also an option. You can start at the information office, which is infront of the prison. You will be walking into different parts of the prison, each of the cells has information inside that you can read about how prisoners were treated, how they slept, used the bathroom, what they ate, where they accepted visitors… it’s all very interesting but extremely saddening. From this court yard, you will also see the area where they isolated prisoners. I learned alot about why people were being imprisoned, some prisoners said they were in and out of there all the time and practically grew up in prison for not carrying their dompass with them.

From there you can go see the Consitutional Court, which also has some art displays inside the building. It also gives you information on who wrote the new constitution, how long it took to get a democratic constitution in place, what the pillars of freedom were and why they were added to the constitution.

From the court, you can take a walk up to the Old Forte and see another part of the prison where white prisoners were held, as well as the cell where Nelson Mandela was held when he was ill.

I don’t want to write much about the place, because it is interesting to go see the forte, read the exhibits, and get that stone wall feel of the place.

There is a coffee shop called The Hill, with a small menu and very well priced coffee!

Find it at 11 Kotze road, Johannesburg.

Should you want to book a tour, venue or have any inquiries, you can find the information on their website

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Entrance to the Olde Forte, on Kotze street. This is where prisoners were brought in and released.

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Isolation cells

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A normal prison cell

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Inside the Constitution Court

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The Hill, coffee shop

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Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens Johannesburg

A picnic with the perfect partner.

Woody decided to take the day off work on Friday, since we hardly get to see each other much due to me working on a game reserve for several weeks at a time.

I wanted the day to be relaxing and a good oppertunity for us to bond and there is no better way to do that other than out in nature. We’ve often gone to different parks in the city, yet we hadn’t gone to Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens yet.

The garden is pretty easy find as you follow the signs just off Hendrik Potgieter road. Their website claims that you will find peace and quiet with in the city, and it truly lives up to that statement. We walked through the garden all the way to the opposite end of the entrance, where we found a tall waterfall flowing off the cliff. We admired it for a while, since you can’t have a picnic in that specific area.

We walked back to find a lovely picnic spot under a large tree and set up a spot for us. We lay under the shade eating the delicious snacks we prepared, taking in the fresh air sans traffic noise. Taking a walk around the park, we found beautifully themed gardens which had labels for the plants we were admiring. I enjoyed the fact that I could learn the names of the plants and see how they have strategically landscaped the scenery. There are park benches every where if you feel like plonking yourself down and taking time to enjoy your surroundings.

There is also a small restaurant that is open plan so you can sit outside under enormous trees to have a coffee stop, and its conveniently located near to a kids area where kids can plan, roll, run inside tunnels or climb up the jungle gym. They also have a designed tree trail which I saw another couple do.

It was a great afternoon out, and a lovely way to spend my friday with my favourite person in Joburg.

For more information, visit their website. They do also host concerts there so you can keep up to date with whats happening there.

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Jozi cafe’s : Cafe de la Creme

Man friend and I decided to get out of the house and do some thinking on a new business plan we’re brewing.

‘Let’s do breakfast’ I said.
‘But it’s raining’ he said.
‘I know just the place’ I smiled.

Off to a sweet little corner cafe in Melville, 7th Ave. Full tables. Window seat scouted. Bonus. Windows, rain… And and Irish coffee for breakfasts, he asked. Why not. Let the creative juices flow.

Cafe de la creme is owned by husband and wife, who must have a flair for french patisserie. Walking into this not so small cafe is an abundance of french treats and fresh bakes on offer. Customers popped in to buy some stock for their homes, and some took a table. With the likes of a 7nde laan actor to my right, and and Isidingo star behind me, this little cafe certainly has earned its reputation quietly. A good one at that.

To curb my hunger, I asked for a croissant to share with man friend while breakfast was cooking. Crispy, soft and just sweet enough, I felt a bit parisian with my scarf to match.

As usual, man friend and I do sharesies… The action of ordering 2 meals and eating them as if it were a platter. We ordered Eggs Royale, and a fresh fruit salad with muesli and yoghurt, and expectations were met when the honey came on the side without asking for it. The poached eggs had that just-right vinegar tang that I love.

I was so tempted to have the italian zuppe of which I now cant remember the ingredients, although my eyes and tastebuds were too big for my tummy so its on the list for the next rainy day.

After being distracted by all the flavours in my mouth, I thought no work shall be done. Albeit we managed to solidify quite a bit.

I left feeling good. And thats the way breakfast should be.

Find more details on their Facebook page

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Almond croissant @ Cafe de la Creme, Melville

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The Shed @ 1 Fox

I’m not new to The Sheds in Ferrairasdorp, Johannesburg. I’ve frequented the market during my monthly visit to Johannesburg since it recently opened.

The Shed’s is an addition to the food market scene in Joburg, and the 3rd artisanal food market in the CBD following Art on Main and Neighbourgoods.

The Sheds hosts popular brand names like Happy Me bubble tea, Origin Coffee, Balkan Burger and Soul Souvlaki. Two large bars stocking wines and craft beers are a replica of the old days in the CBD where The Goodluck bar would host many a mine worker after a strenuous shift.

Apart from larger brands, smaller names such as Shireen’s Halaal cuisine, Chilladoo and Black Sam’s smoked pork should certainly not be over looked.

Word on the street is that the food suppliers need to be organically focused with regards to their products. The packaging of the yummy grubs should also be biodegradable. You’re not only supporting local farm produce when ordering a meal from any of these stalls, you’re also forming part of the new collective movement of becoming more environmentally focused. Hows that for some feel good food?

What I like about The Sheds is the ample seating space it has for patrons.
They also have a stall that sells organic fresh produce, some garden greens that you may not have heard of. I do suggest buying your weekly produce from here to support of local farmers and organic farming.

On Thursdays and Sundays, there is also live music. So pop in for a chilled session of talented artists, good food and relaxation.

Gerald from Joburg Placesi is the founder of The Sheds, and quite fittingly so. Each time I have been there I’ve seen him around. I have high hopes for this place, its got that sumtin sumtin about it, and i heard through the grapevine that there is much more still to come, its not surprising that I keep going back for more!

The Sheds is open from Thursday through to Sunday every week. So whether you’re in the mood for business lunches, after work tipples or a weekend starter, this is your place.

For more info, you can follow them on twitter for daily updates, or check out their website .

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Jozi Bites and bars: Anti Est. Braamfontein

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Joburg seems to be the breeding ground for new restaurants that serve craft beers and fusion cuisines. If you’re a local foodie, you know what I am talking about.

So a not so new but unchecked restaurant on my list was Anti Est in Braamfontein.

I had walked passed it while it was still in the making, where a group of guys outside happened to be the owners of this place. Enthusiastically I was told its going to be a place where the difference is shown, expressed and something to be proud about.

So today, a thursday after noon and the boyfie and I feel a bit thirsty after spending all day in doors yesterday. Anti – est was our choice for today. The establishment oozes ‘different’, the main feature being The bar, with an exquisite display of rather unknown brands of alcoholic delights. Their motto here is ‘unlearn’, but this is definitely a bar to be in to expand your beverage knowledge .

From over 30 different craft beers, to a gin named Boodles, and a saffron flavoured vodka, pumpkin martinis and tantalising whiskeys, Anti Est sets the bar. Pun intended.

Copper wire lighting, wooden top tables, a loungy leather couch and jars full of fruit, this place oozes something sexual in decor. Their choice of flowers is right up my alley- cactuses and orchards. The barman/lady seem to be part of the decor or general concepts with nose rings and funky hair do’s.

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Whiskey and soda. The boyfie had lemonade. I was first introduced to Fitches and Leedes mixers while working in a British restaurant in Dubai and am so glad I have found a place in the heart of Jozi that stocks them.

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We weren’t very hungry so luckily the menu had Snacks to choose from. We grabbed the Pork fries- a cheesy mix of bacon, ham and pulled pork belly with chips, bound by a melted smokey cheese. Served with what I think to be Harissa paste and mustard mayo. Simply delish.

I also chose Novelles, an Italian bar snack thats pastry like and crispy. Served also with what seemed to be an aoili and a divine chilli apricot jam.

Must try.

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Magical morning Rooibos concoction

The rooibos plant (red bush) is a South African plant grown in the Western Cape region, in the Cederberg Area.

The plant was originally founded by a russian settler way back when, then fertilised and cultivated by the local Khoi people of the area.

Best known for its production in the tea industry, the amazing health benefits of this plant have been recognised and the 411 is spreading very quickly throughout the world that Rooibos is now in fact one of the most healthiest drinks you can consume.

You can read about the health benefits in the article I wrote, Rooibos, Mooibos.

While the rest of the world are popping vitamin supplements in pursuit of a healthy body, here’s my morning brew that I religiously consume first thing in the morning:

1 spoon loose Rooibos tea leaves
(if you have difficulty finding fresh leaves, Try the Freshpack teabag, which I find has the best quality of the tea)
2 tsp honey
1 sprig of mint
2 slices of lemon

Add hot water and leave it to steep for 5 minutes and more.

The longer you steep the tea for, the more goodness will come from the tea leaves. Remember, the darker the tea, the more antioxidants you will be getting out. Rooibos has a very unique smell and flavour. Sweet in smell and mildly malt flavours that make it such a versatile product in the kitchen. It has a creamy feel in your mouth and will stick around making you crave some more. Unlike Green tea, Which loses its health benefits when cold, Rooibos is assured to give you all its goodness when drunk hot or cold.

The lemon slices in your morning cuppa serve to detox your system as well as add a sharp flavour to that creaminess of the rooibos.

Mint leaves used fresh have such an awakening aroma, that its hard to leave it out the mix once you’re hooked. I suggest growing your own mint as it grows easily and provides full bushes. Mint is also used to aid indigestion and is sure to get you off to a good start from the morning, if you know what I mean.

Never EVER leave out the honey. When making a cup so full of goodness, why leave out nature’s natural antibiotic? As much as Rooibos should be classified in the superfood category in my opinion, honey should be right up there on the list. I usually have honey with anything, by the time i am finished with breakfast, I’ve had about 50ml of honey for the day. The honey helps to stabilise your blood sugar levels in the morning, rather than using cane sugar or sweetener which are definite no-no’s in the world of health freaks. I will leave the benefits of honey for an article later on in the blog, so for now, whatever you do… DONT SKIP the honey, honey.

If you may need boosters for your health, here are a few other naturals you can add to the brew that may help you:
– Green tea : to add caffeine to the morning mix. Green tea has good caffeine, not the bad kind like 4 cups of coffee needed to wake up. Green tea’s caffeine lasts longer in your system. Interesting but true.
– 1 small cinnamon stick: for relaxation
– 1 slice of orange: for added vitamin C and as an immune booster
– vanilla pod: just because its yummy
– 2 cloves : to ease aching teeth
– a slice of ginger : help with nausea

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Rooibos. Mooi Bos.

Unless you are allergic, Rooibos should be a staple ingredient on your kitchen shelf.

Rooibos is a South African plant that is known more as a tea product bought on the shelves of your local supermarket, rather than for its health benefits and versatility in the kitchen.

You will never find a South African who does not know what Rooibos is. Briefly, it is an Afrikaans word translated to ‘Red Tea’. It is largely part of our Trademarks as a country, and we have finally managed to make it official, Rooibos is now a proud product of South Africa supported by geographical indicator status, meaning, we have the perfect conditions to grow Rooibos and are the only country allowed to call it Rooibos. Viva South Africa!

If you have not heard of the power of this plant, I am about to let you in on a not-so-secret ‘super-food’ that has so much goodness in it that you will find it hard to believe that something so simple, can probably change your life forever. Doubts aside please, I am living proof – I’ve grown up drinking this tea, most of the ladies in my family have used a local cosmetic brand ‘Annique’ since they learnt about skin care, and as a qualified chef I have discovered its versatility in the kitchen. Before I carry on, let me state I haven’t seen a doctor in almost 3 years, I don’t take vitamin tablets, I work average 14 hours a day,  my skin is clear, I have healthy hair regardless of the amount of peroxide it sees, I have all my teeth and I’ve never broken a bone.

What is this bushy plant’s secret?

The green leaves are naturally oxidized (as is black tea) which causes it to turn that reddish-brown colour.

The plant has powerful anti-oxidants , no caffeine and very low tannin content as wel as phenolic compounds. hydroxylated benzoic and cinnamic acids. Translated, this tea has the ability to help fight cancer, improve digestion, help fight allergies and for many years, been used to improve skin problems. More so, it has been proven to help cholestrol levels, fungal problems ad alleviate the effects of chemotherapy. Rooibos has a high ascorbic acid content which helps to improve the immune system and diseases that attack the immune system.

Apart from the super health benefits of this tea, it can also be used on the skin as treatment. Soaking your feet in rooibos tea can help with fungal infections and smelly feet. Dry or irritated skin can be soothed by wiping a cottonwool soaked in rooibos tea over the area a few times a day until it is healed. rinsing you face with rooibos infused water after using a product will certainly help for acne, just watch your eyes!

For inspiration to benefit from the uses of the tea, check out:

– Rooibos Ice Tea and my magic morning concoction

– Foot soak with rooibos tea

– Rooibos recipes

I can go on for days, so I will leave you to brew over that.

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Image courtesy of Food-net.co.uk

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Belated Spring / Early New Year

Welcome to Quarter Past Fine friends. Another blog in the archives of the www.

On that note, I shall move past the ‘about’ and the ‘who am I’ part of an introduction as there is already respective sections designated to those more mundane topics. Instead, I need to start off with a sincere apology to all of you, who unknowingly, would have read this on the first day of Spring. That was the plan. Firstly, Happy Spring people. I know we’re 2 months into the season already, but time really does fly so I beg of your pardon. After that fail, I decided to move the blog to the new year’s resolution list.

So to make up the delay, I decided I will do it before the new year, and before the start of summer. BOOM and BOOM. Double whammy make up time… It’s a pleasure!

Jokes aside, I’m sure a lot of people reading this can relate. We have every intention to improve ourselves, start something new, or maybe finish that report, quit bad habits, so on and so forth. It’s a term I am dubbing ‘Self-boundary creation’, i.e creating time limits for ourselves to complete a certain something that will benefit / interest / improve / complete us in some unknown way where there is no real measurement to actually compare to. It’s a plan not going according to plan, leaving us a little demotivated. Comprende?

Lesson to be learned here: creating self boundaries must come with a back up plan. Just so you needn’t sit and mope in a corner when plan A did not hatch.

In essence, this blog is not really about plan A. It’s more about how to get to Plan B by thinking outside the box, and moving on to more of life’s treats.

And so Quarter Past Fine was created and is in action.

There is so much more to life than sticking to one thing in this world just because you think or say or expected that you should, and so I wish to find those ‘more-to-life’ things and share them. There are moments of crisis as well, where we tend to put so much pressure on ourselves, but that time is wasted if you spend it in stress and a life lacking in zest. So I am here writing about a lot of different things, that will eventually tie up in the end… and as you will see, it will be just fine. More than fine. A Quarter Past Fine.

 

 

 

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