Cathedrals of industry with Joburg Heritage Foundation

L to R: David Gurney, Kathy Munro, Clive Chipkin. Monika Läuferts-Le Roux

L to R: David Gurney, Kathy Munro, Clive Chipkin, Monika Läuferts-Le Roux at the Gasworks, Cottesloe. Photo: Liz at Lancaster 2016

The Johannesburg Heritage Foundation is the most amazing activist/educational/heritage/tourism organization which, amongst other activities, runs bus and walking tours of Joburg’s historical spaces and places.  Once such was the Cathedrals of Industry  tour on 4th Sept  where Kathy Munro (Jozi historian) and David Gurney (urban planner) led a bus tour taking us to various industrial heritage buildings.

Early 20th Century factory warehouse at 10 Angle St, New Doornfontein

Early 20th Century factory warehouse at 10 Angle St, New Doornfontein. Photo: Liz at Lancaster 2016

The 60 seater bus was packed (and for once I didn’t bring the average age down by 20 years!). We met at the Sunnyside Hotel and off we set to New Doornfontein to see  early 20th Century factory buildings which, as Chipkin says, were constructed as ‘random collections of corrugated-iron clad workshops with afdakkies and left-over space in an industrial wasteland’.

African Congregational Church 1924. 24 Alan Ross St, New Doornfontein

African Congregational Church 1924. 24 Alan Ross St, New Doornfontein. Photo Liz at Lancaster 2016

Nearby at 24 Alan Ross St is a small extant 1924 building which housed the African Congregational Church.  In the 1920s and 30s there were 8 rooms at the back of the property occupied by married couples  (unlike other ‘yards’ where single workers lived in often very overcrowded conditions).  The original wood and iron church was built in 1910 with Rev M.S. Dube as the pastor.  In 1917 Rev Gardiner Mvuyana took over and in 1924 the church was rebuilt as a brick structure. It continued to function as a church until the 1960s. There is apparently a foundation stone ( I didn’t find it) in memory of the founding of the church in 1917, which says : ‘to the Glory of God, the African Congregational Church (I BANDHLA LAMA AFRIKA).

 

4 meter mural of the Boxing Mandela by Ricky Lee Gordon

4 meter mural of the Boxing Mandela by Ricky Lee Gordon, Beacon Road, Maboneng. Photo:Liz at Lancaster 2016

Back on the bus we drove through the north-eastern part of the Maboneng District where I finally got to see Ricky Lee Gordon’s  huge 40 meter black and white mural representing Nelson Mandela boxing (cnr Staib St and Beacon Rd).  I’d seen images of it but always wondered where it was.

Looking down at Ferreira's Stope, Museum at Standard Bank, Simmonds St. Photo: Liz at Lancaster 2016

Looking down at Ferreira’s Stope, Museum at Standard Bank, Simmonds St. Photo: Liz at Lancaster 2016

We made a brief stop at the little known small museum (another of Joburg’s little jewels) in the  Simmonds St Standard Bank Building.  While excavating for the new HQ in 1986, an access tunnel or stope to Ferreira’s, one of Johannesburg’s first sub-surface digging mines, was discovered.  The original look of the hand dug tunnel has been kept, and the display includes old photographs, newspaper articles and old implements.

Lion Match Factory (later Ullman Warehouse) Photo: Liz at Lancaster 2016

Lion Match Factory (later Ullman Warehouse) Photo: Liz at Lancaster 2016

Leaving joburg CBD we drove along the major east-west artery of Main Reef Road until we came to Industria. This was where a new industrial township was laid out in the late 1920s and the Lion Match Company built their prestigious factory described by Chipkin in his book as ‘a planned and orderly Palace of Industry .. with palm trees and flower beds axially positioned on green lawns to emphasize the symmetry of lay out and to project Garden City harmony’. (126) It was taken over by Ullman’s who are no longer in operation.  It’s a long low double storied building with a centralized entrance marked by two streamlined buttresses and topped with a modernist clock.

 

Capitals detailed as stylized matches. Photo:Liz at Lancaster 2016

Capitals detailed as stylized matches. Photo:Liz at Lancaster 2016

Best of all was that Clive Chipkin was on the tour with us and so spoke directly about this building pointing out many of the features which he mentions in his book.  He spoke about the references to classical architecture with vestiges of capitals on columns and when somebody pointed out the capitals were in fact stylized matches he was completely delighted as he had never made this connection before.  So even Clive can learn something from a Johannesburg Heritage tour!!   He spoke about how this building was one of Joburg’s principle sights when it was built  in 1936 – Johannesburg’s jubilee year. And that sightseers would come to see the factory lit up at night. It was a strange distorted echo having a metro train of commuters looking from the train carriages speeding by, at a busload of local Jozi-ites peering through the palisade at the now deserted Ullman Warehouse.

Heritage Plaque Cottesloe Gasworks

Heritage Plaque Cottesloe Gasworks

Retort no 1, Gasworks Cottesloe. Photo: Liz at Lancaster 2016

Retort no 1, Gasworks Cottesloe. Photo: Liz at Lancaster 2016

Our last destination was that serious Cathedral of Industry – the Gas Works in Cottesloe.  And again we were so privileged to have Monika Läuferts-Le Roux on the tour with us.  She and Judith Mavunganidze are the authors of a book on the Gas Works based on their research for a heritage impact assessment on this site.  Unfortunately we could not go into this extraordinary building (which still has intact equipment on site) despite having closed as a working site in 1992.   The dream is to revive the site as an industrial museum – what a building, what a site, what a vision.

African Jim aka Jim comes to Jo'burg

African Jim aka Jim comes to Jo’burg

 

Saturday 24th is Heritage Day plus this year marks the 130th Anniversary of Johannesburg.  To celebrate this Johannesburg Heritage Foundation has lots of tours planned for this weekend. Check their website to see what is on offer on Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th. http://www.joburgheritage.org.za/  The most exciting is the screening of the 1949 historic film Jim Comes to Joburg billed as the first film to express the black experience in the City of Gold.  So take your blankets and a picnic and enjoy the outdoor screening on the lawns at Northwards on the Parktown Ridge.

 

 

HeritageWeekendBrochure2_2016

 

 

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Posted in History and heritage, Joburg and surrounds: things to do and see | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Talk, Walk and Lunch at Joziburg Lane – A complete MUST DO!

Joburg Places walking tour 2012. At the Sisulu Sculpture at Diagonal & Market St

Joburg Places walking tour.  At the Sisulu sculpture Cnr Diagonal & Market St (now Albertina Sisulu St)  Photo: Liz at Lancaster 2012

Gerald Garner  of Joburg Places is no stranger to Jozi-ites and regeneration issues in this ever-changing city. He has written 4 books on Joburg and has taken walking tours for many years.  I first went on a tour with Gerald 4 years ago and have been several times since – and have always come away with new insights.  Although I have done a fair bit of research for heritage reports on areas and buildings on inner city Joburg, I seem to have focused on isolated pockets whilst Gerald has an amazing overview and connects the dots in subtle and insightful ways. After reviving the defunct Hubert Davies warehouses at no 1 Fox St into a new hip go-to destination The Sheds, he moved on to start a food market at JoziburgLane at no 1 Eloff St ( a big residential and retail hub being developed by the property developers Molten Black).

 

Gandhi Square: Statue of Gandhi in his legal robes

Gandhi Square: Statue of Gandhi in his legal robes

Now his latest most exciting venture is to start a Talk, Walk and Lunch at Joziburg Lane – 5 days a week, Tuesday to Saturday.  Love the inversion of  ‘walk and talk’ -it’s a brilliant solution to sorting out the logistics of juggling Gerald’s knowledge and his time spent on the walking tours.  I sent guests staying here at Liz at Lancaster on one of his Talk and Walks and they were bowled over at the understanding they got into the changes and developments in this fast paced city.

Gerald’s  1 hour and a half  talk and photo presentation starts at 9 (R80 per person)and gives his overview of Joburg. After his talk, a Joburg Places guide took a 2 and a half hour walking tour of downtown Johannesburg.  After visiting the industrial-to-residential conversion – No One Eloff,  they walked to Gandhi Square and then to the pedestrianised Main Street mining area.

 

Main St: Replica of golden rhino from Mapungubwe

Main St: Replica of golden rhino from Mapungubwe Photo: Liz at Lancaster 2015

Mining headgear in the Main St Mall

Mining headgear in the Main St Mall Photo: Liz at Lancaster 2015

This includes the Rand Club , the golden Mapungubwe Rhino, Hollard Street, the mining headgear and the Anglo American precinct. The tour finishes around the area of the Magistrates court and a visit to Chancellor House where Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo had their law practice in 1952.

 

 

 

Opposite Chancellor House: Shadow Boxer by Marco Cianfanelli (based on photo of Mandela by Bob Gosani)

Opposite Chancellor House: Shadow Boxer by Marco Cianfanelli (based on photo of Mandela by Bob Gosani) Photo: Liz at Lancaster 2015

 

Return to Joziburg Lane for a delicious laid back lunch on the outdoor deck

Return to Joziburg Lane for a delicious laid back lunch on the outdoor deck . Photo Liz at Lancaster 2016

On returning to Joziburg Lane our guests enjoyed  a delicious lunch at Joziburg Deli.  (R150 per person)

The Joziburg Deli is open 9am-5pm, Tuesday till Saturday every week with foodmarket items on sale such as coffee, tea, snacks and many take-home deli goodies too (olives, olive oils, cheeses, relishes, preserves, cured meats and more).

 

 

 

While the all-inclusive package is recommended,  (R350 per person) guests can also book for the talk only (R80) or talk and walk only (R200) should they prefer.  The walk must always be booked together with the talk.

Book now by emailing: gerald@joburgplaces.com

 

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Posted in History and heritage, Joburg and surrounds: things to do and see | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Responses

Walking tour of Kliptown Soweto

Laurice Taitz is Jozi’s queen of mavens (aka founder and editor of the amazing publication Johannesburg In Your Pocket). She has an extraordinary knowledge of Joburg and always manages to find relatively unknown hidden gems.  Ntokoza Dube or TK is one of these.  He runs walks through Kliptown and when, in late 2015, Laurice asked if I wanted to join one of his tours, I leapt at the opportunity.  Walking tours are my thing.  In 2013 I wrote a blog about the different kind of perspective and experience one gets when walking a district rather than driving through it.  http://www.lizatlancaster.co.za/blog/walking-in-the-city-explore-joburg-on-foot.

Born in Kliptown TK matriculated in 2005 after which he started doing work for an amazing man called Bob Nameng (who TK said kept him off the streets).  In 1987 Bob started an organization called SKY (Soweto Kliptown Youth) which does a range of community upliftment programmes one of which is running tours of Kliptown.  In 2008 TK showed a group around the neighbourhood and through this met an Australian woman who was so impressed with him that she funded a trip to Australia and gave him a financial leg-up. In 2009 TK worked at Origins Centre at Wits and in 2010 at the Soweto Hotel in a guiding capacity. He has now branched out on his own as TKD Tours.

Foyer of the Soweto Hotel

Foyer of the Soweto Hotel

Contextual displays dealing with repressive Apartheid laws

Contextual displays dealing with repressive Apartheid laws

We met at the Soweto Hotel and after a welcome cup of coffee went to the small museum right opposite the hotel  – a little jewel which focuses on the  1955 Congress of the People  with photographs, newspaper clippings and contextual installations.  It was the Congress of the People that led a year later to 156 of the Congress leaders being arrested in the early hours of 5th  December and the infamous treason trial  The imprisonment in communal cells in Johannesburg Prison (at Constitution Hill) resulted in what Mandela described as “the largest and longest unbanned meeting of the Congress Alliance in years”!

 

Stacks of Impepho

Stacks of Impepho

Gogo Sylvia's Muthi Shop

Gogo Sylvia’s Muthi Shop

 

Wandering off towards the trading hub of Union St  we passed Gogo Sylvia’s muthi shop. Outside were stacks of Impepho for  burning at the birth of a child and brooms to sweep away bad spirits.

 

 

 

 

 

25 Hair dressing

24 hawkers

Union Street was buzzing with street life, informal trading, hawkers plying their wares and fresh produce,  women having their hair done. It was crowded and bustling – kinda chaotic but full of energy.  We were struck by how parts of Kliptown have relatively good infrastructure while others have clearly been badly neglected.

 

As-Salaam Alykum

As-Salaam Alykum

Fresh Halaal trotters and tripe

Fresh Halaal trotters and tripe

The evidence of the multiracial living and working that is so much part of Kliptown’s historical fabric is everywhere to be seen. It is this along with the houses which are individually designed that gives Kliptown its particular feel which is so different from the parts of Soweto where programmatic housing was undertaken.

 

48 historical kitchen

Oom Bolo

Oom Bolo

The highlight of the tour was a stop at Oom Bolo’s idiosyncratic museum. Oom Bolo is a photographer and collector and has developed this self-made museum which highlights everyday life in historic Kliptown.   We enjoyed a colddrink sitting round one of the tables (it’s possible to get a meal) while Oom Bolo had many personal stories to tell about living in Kliptown and what it was like living under the stringent laws of the Apartheid regime.

 

33 House & toilet

71 dirt roadThere is a clear lack of basic facilities and infrastructure  in much
of Kliptown, with communal taps for water, portaloos, no tarred streets, total lack of any drainage, minimal electrical connections etc.

 

 

A community vegetable garden

A community vegetable garden

70 white house & gardenHowever despite this obvious dire poverty and lack of access to basic resources and infrastructure there is a vibrant sense of community and there are so many examples of private individuals making the very best to transform public spaces with urban gardens, attention to pavements, and newly painted houses.

 

Falko and Rasty's work Oct 2015

Photographing the photographer (Laurice Taitz): TK posing against Falko and Rasty’s work Oct 2015

Falko, Martha Cooper and Rasty April 2104. Courtesy Rowan Pybus

(L toR) Rasty, Martha Cooper and Falko April 2014. Courtesy Rowan Pybus

There is some wonderful graffiti in Kliptown too.  Redbull’s Amphiko Academy visited Kliptown during their 10 day event in April 2014 with well-known graffiti artists including Falko and Rasty and the famous American street art photographer Martha Cooper (who had previously visited Kliptown in 2012 with some Brazilian graffiti artists.)

 

By Falko

By Falko

 

By Falko

By Falko

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.lizatlancaster.co.za will be recommending this tour to guests as it gives very different insights into Soweto as compared to the drive through in a van or car.  It’s well worth it.  Call Ntokoza (TK) Dube +27 73 133 5234 or email tktours.dube13@gmail.com  to book.  See also: https://www.inyourpocket.com/johannesburg/tkd-tours_140721v

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Posted in History and heritage, Joburg and surrounds: things to do and see | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment