Exciting developments in Jozi Inner City: No One Eloff St

Last week’s Pick of the Week was  the  week-end Pop-Up market at Joziburg Lane.  Heeding my own

Joziburg Lane food market from mezzanine level

Looking down on the Joziburg Lane food market from the mezzanine level

suggestion, on Saturday I met up with a friend who’s always up for a bit of exploring and off we went to No One Eloff (cnr Wemmer Jubilee). Gerald Garner of Joburg Places fame, and the initial developer of The Sheds at 1 Fox St, has rented a large ground floor space at No One Eloff Street.  Recently painted in an unmissable eye-catching yellow and blue, No One Eloff Street is a large building which used to be a massive parking garage. Bought by the property developers Molten Black early last year, http://www.moltenblack.com , it is in the process of being turned into a major residential and retail hub. While the residential part of the project is close to completion (more of that below), the food market is still very much in its early undeveloped phase and is only due to open properly in August. However we got a feel for what Joziburg Lane will offer as it becomes a more permanent fixture. The formula is much the same as The Sheds at 1 Fox:  various shops and stalls, different food and drink options, live music and with a fabulous north-facing mezzanine deck where you can check out the market space below as well as look over a different view of Jozi’s  urbanscape. Joziburg Lane gets its name from the alleyway adjacent to the main building which culminates in the foodhall/market/events space seen in the photo above.  To show you how fast things happen in Joburg, check the photos on 2 Summers’ blog post written on 8 April 2016 where the ground floor space of Joziburg Lane is an empty shell! http://2summers.net/2016/04/08/big-news-about-joburgs-newest-inner-city-development/

1 Eloff st

Temporary sculpture exhibition in one of the central courtyards. The courtyard is surrounded by 2 floors of apartments.

After chilling on the sun-soaked deck over a beer shandy and a samoosa, we went in search of the sculpture exhibition advertised as being in one of the courtyards of the building. Off we set not quite sure of where we were going but following the typed signs saying ‘Sculpture exhibition This Way -> Opens at 2 pm’.  Up stairs, through heavy metal swing doors, across parking garage ramps, over a fair bit of building rubble, into smart face-brick corridors lined with freshly painted and brightly-coloured and numbered doors, we eventually emerged into a spacious inner courtyard where the sculptures were on display. (I loved Guy du Toit’s humorous hat on a plastic chair – all cast in bronze).  Wanting to find out more about the living spaces facing onto the courtyard, we tried to access them from an inside corridor.  We met a young man emerging from one of the apartments who very graciously showed us inside his living space – a downstairs area with kitchen, bathroom, tiny living area, with 2 open mezzanine loft sleeping areas built in the double volume space.  We later tagged onto a group being shown around by Geoff Jardine of Molten Black and saw another as yet unoccupied apartment.

1 Eloff St apartment

Looking down on the kitchen area and bathroom across to the 2nd mezzanine sleeping section. A small living area below faces the kitchen

Work started last April to convert the empty inner shell of this huge parking garage into 320 loft style apartments, offices, artists’ studios and retails spaces.  The flats (with a starting rental of R3500 a month) are arranged in circular formations with windows either facing out to the street or onto large internal courtyards. Each circle of apartments is colour coded : green, yellow, red, purple or blue. All materials – windows, beams, balustrades, trunking and metal fittings, doors, doors numbers, etc.  were custom-made in Molten Black’s own workshop and work started in April 2015 and has continued every day 7 days a week since. Currently about two thirds of the apartments are occupied with around 40 tenants a month signing up and moving in.   There are one and  two ‘bed-roomed apartments’ with a couple of slightly larger units.

1 Eloff St

First tenants moved in a month ago and with 40 sign-ups a month there is always somebody moving in

Of course there will be long term issues around safety and security, building maintenance and overcrowding but if the residents are committed and involved and set up a residents’ committee, there are huge opportunities for a vibrant community with safe housing close to work, transport, shopping and leisure hubs. (The Faraday taxi rank is across the road on the south side.)

View across Jozi from 1 Eloff St

View north across Jozi from One Eloff St

There are so many markets and food halls in various regenerated urban industrial spaces in inner city Jozi: Neighbourgoods in Braamfontein on Saturdays, Market on Main in Maboneng on Sundays, The Sheds @ 1Fox, that there is perhaps the danger of an over-supply. But with the residential component of 1 Eloff, the proximity to Faraday taxi rank and the increasing number of residential developments in the inner city, there is also an ever increasing demand for convenient shopping and leisure hubs. So maybe wait a couple to months to allow for an increase in food stalls and product choice, and then take a trip to Jozburg Lane for a chilled weekend meal and to get a sense of 1 Eloff and see yet another example of creative vision and entrepreneurship which is providing much needed centrally- located residential accommodation and bringing Jozi inner city back to life.

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Posted in Art and Exhibitions, History and heritage, Liz at Lancaster News and Views, Pick of the week, Shopping | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What do these countries have in common with South Africa?

What do these countries have in common with South Africa?   Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Botswana, Canada, Fiji, India, Ireland, Malaysia, Mauritius, Namibia, New Zealand, Oman, Pakistan,  Singapore, Swaziland,  UAE, United Kingdom, Zambia, Zimbabwe  …..        ……… they all have a Nandos presence.

Nandos Pktn North 2Recently I had a sudden urge for a side dish of Nando’s spinach (well – it’s a lot healthier than wanting their chips!). While waiting for my dose of peri-peri  iron roughage –  despite that description  it is quite delicious – I took in the décor of the restaurant area. Again I was struck by Nando’s fun quirky style and it got me thinking about their success story and their brilliant branding.   Nando’s is yet another SA export which has made it big world-wide with, according to Wikipedia, 1000 outlets in 30 countries.  According to Nando’s website, Melbourne is the city with the most Nando’s restaurants in the world.   So Nando’s is a seriously winning formula where South African entrepreneurship  meets consistently good quality food, art,  zappy style, and quirky irreverent humour.


Peri periLike Sol Kerzner and Sun City but with a lot more humour and tongue-in-cheekiness, Nando’s  have a founding myth based on early explorers  to South Africa (in this case the Portuguese).  Their website claims:   ‘The story of Nando’s starts hundreds of years ago with the first Portuguese explorers who set sail for the East in search of the legendary spice route.  Lured by the promises of our beautiful continent, they came ashore and there, under our famous sun, they discovered the African Bird’s Eye Chilli or as we know it (and love it), PERi-PERi. Unique in its properties, they used it to create a one-of-a-kind sauce that ignited the fires of passion inside them.  A few centuries later, in 1987, it was the same PERi-PERi sauce that inspired Fernando Duarte to invite his buddy Robbie Brozin to a small Portuguese eatery in Rosettenville, South Africa, to try some PERi-PERi marinated chicken.’  Peri Peri or piri piri – the Swahili word for pepper pepper – is a member of the Capsicum family and while it has grown wild in many parts of Africa it is now cultivated commercially in Zambia, Uganda, Malawi, and Zimbabwe. It found its way to India via Goa and the Portuguese.

Round discs of seeds form a wall panel

Round discs of seeds form a wall panel

While good consistent food with a winning preparation recipe is their trademark – ‘Nando’s food is love at first bite’ – the décor style of the restaurants has reinforced the brand as hot, unconventional, fun and pushing the boundaries.  You’ll find chandeliers made from recycled bottles, wall features of round seed mats, pillars clad in recycled strips of multi-coloured wood and of course the restaurants are decorated with individual art and hand-crafted items.  Nandos Pktn North
Rather grandiosely and not quite so tongue in cheek they claim that the 3000 pieces of South African art in Nando’s UK restaurants is about 2,500 more than Tate Britain’s total display! And that they the largest buyer of South African contemporary art in the world.  This support of local art is a great project as it gives emerging artists a leg-up and both undiscovered and established artists and craftspeople a place to display their work.

Water station at public space in head office

Water station at public space in head office

Late last year I went to the fabulous art sale at Nando’s head office (also filled with funky décor details).  150 artists were asked to create an unsigned work on a page of Lauren Beukes’ Broken Monsters and the funds from each work sold, went towards buying illustrated books for children in need.

And perhaps most iconic of all, Nando’s has become synonymous with contentious, funny, up-to-the-minute advertising. Their campaigns have always taken a ‘no-holds-barred’ approach, poking fun at contentious subjects: remember the famous ‘tailgunner’ ad and the guide dog, so overcome by the mouthwatering smell of Nando’s chicken, that he led his charge straight into a street pole?  Of course the risqué subject of sex has been a standard favourite with the likes of ‘hot cocks’ and ‘chicks’ juices’.  Always quick to respond to current events they have produced ads within 24 hours of events happening.  On the death of North Korea’s Kim Jong II in 2011 – ‘Dear Korea it wasn’t us’ and after proposed plans for the purchase of a R4 billion presidential jet ‘JZ , We’ve got wings you don’t have to explain’.  Political figures and institutions have provided great material. In February of this year, after JZ proposed to #PayBackTheMoney they came up with ‘Quarter, half or full, Mr  President?   The 2014 ‘Fire it up’ ad is bitingly satirical of government blue light brigades: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIl5p6gPWjg.  In response to Eskom’s dreaded load-shedding  was ‘Eish Kom Nou’ with the ‘small’ print at the bottom saying ‘When the lights go out you can still enjoy a meal in.’  And opponents in the 2010 Soccer World Cup were an obvious target .  ‘Free coke for the South Americans’ and ‘To the Mexicans – Free lunch if you lose’

But perhaps one of the most controversial, memorable and funny ads was the one for the new 6-pack meal  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1EX–vdxh4 Gaddafi and Mugabe have a water pistol fight in a garden to the jaunty lyrics and tune of ‘Those were the days my friend’ .  Then the Zimbabwean dictator pairs up with Saddam Hussein and both stripped to their underwear they make angel wings in the sand.  A giggling Mugabe pushes PW Botha (hat and all) on a swing and is then shown with Idi Amin on the back of a tank as they re-enact Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio’s  famous pose in the Titanic.  The ad ends with a solitary Mugabe,  and a pay-off line referring to the famous ‘Dinner for One’ British comedy clip saying that ‘at this time of the year, no one should ever eat alone – so get Nando’s six-pack meal’.  How anarchically Monty Pythonesque could you get?   Although most people found this ad extremely funny it also attracted huge criticism on the basis that it was polarizing and divisive.  Nando’s staff received threats so Nando’s  pulled the ad from being aired on television.

Nandos ProdiversityBut Nando’s have never steered clear of controversy and have often tackled serious issues with deep biting satire.  Their ad dealing with xenophobia  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_R7vu9SuxaQ was banned by television stations. So Nando’s ran a print ad in the Sunday Times showing the storyboard of the banned TV ad with the small print at the bottom of the ad reading:  SABC, DTSV, M-Net, e.tv have banned this ad. They’ve made a decision for you.   That’s why we are giving you the option of seeing it here:bit.ly/nandosdiversity.   Unlike our broadcasters we’re giving you the right to choose.

Nandos UKIn Sawyer’s 2010 Observer article (16 May) ‘How Nando’s conquered Britain’, she writes:  ‘The brand is now inextricably linked with a certain type of youthful, racially mixed, urban British pop star and, so, with modern, inner-city, multicultural Britain.’

At Liz at Lancaster we have had guests returning from the States, and the one of the first things they say is ‘We’ve got to get our fix of Nando’s’ .  A truly amazing success for 2 local boys who liked good peri peri chicken.

Nando’s Parktown North 011 442 6168 is a couple of kms from Liz at Lancaster so it’s an ideal bring-home meal for those guests who don’t feel like preparing anything ‘at home’. 


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Posted in Food & Wine, South Africa, Stories and encounters | Tagged , , , , | 1 Response

It’s ‘crazy house’ time … school holidays are here!

delta Park playgroundJozi has much on offer to add to kids’ holiday excitement – wonderful activities, fun places to visit and great shows to see. The playground at Delta Park is always a firm favourite with active youngsters, and there’s plenty of space to take a picnic and relax in the winter sun. Other special places for picnics are the Walter Sisulu Gardens (where you can walk to the waterfall and see the black eagles) and Emmarentia Dam.  The Zoo Lake is always a win if you can keep the gaggle of geese from taking bread out of toddlers’ hands!

AJ's in the Park, Craighall Park

AJ’s in the Park, Craighall Park

There are 2 excellent family-friendly places to eat near Liz at Lancaster: Delta Café borders on Delta Park (see http://www.lizatlancaster.co.za/blog/escape-to-the-country-only-5-blocks-from-liz-at-lancaster)  and A J’s  in the Park at the tennis club offers ‘Great affordable food, friendly service & is the perfect place for kids’.  They’ve  got a jumping castle, jungle gym, trampoline & childminders to keep an eye on children whilst they play. Kids are also able to make their own pizzas.  Now how perfect does all that sound? And like DeltaCafé, AJ’s is only  a few blocks from Liz at Lancaster at 33 Abercorn Ave.  See https://www.facebook.com/lizatlancaster/posts/10154242105246926

Serendipity  http://www.serendipityplay.co.za/ is a great play centre at 48 Keyes Ave Rosebank. There’s an arts

Serendipity offers light meals and drinks and has great playground area

Serendipity offers light meals and drinks and has great playground area

and crafts studio, a dress up area an outside activity area with trampolines, houses, sandpit, climbing equipment, scooters, etc. And best of all there are fabulous people who help manage the overseeing of children, so it’s even possible to have a relaxed cup of coffee and a toasted sandwich (There’s also a very good kids’ menu). Closed Mondays R45 per child.

Crazy Farmkids  http://www.crazykidzfarmyard.co.za/   at 9 Daniel St Randburg is an unpretentious property with chickens, ducks, rabbits, a pony and an emu (who is quite an arbitrary companion!). There’s a huge sandpit and playground equipment. And best of all it’s ony R20 entrance. You can take your own picnic too – lots of tables. Very pleasant low-key outing.

I have just heard about  the Kinder Theatre at 39a Greenhill Rd in Emmarentia which seems to have amazing resources including wonderful puppet shows  during the school holidays. So am definitely going to give it a try with my grandsons http://www.kinderspiel.co.za/  kinderspiel_awning_460_wide

June  Saturday performances at 10; Tuesdays at 3.30

Tues 7th  The Princess, the Knight and the Unicorn; Sat 11th  Goldilocks and the 3 bears ; Tues 14th Greenosaurus and Fairy Wings; Thurs 16th  10 Darin the Magician and at 11 Big Dreams; Sat 18th  Kallie the Clown; Tues 21st  Dream Big A story about believing in yourself; Fri 24th  Book reading: Nombulelo and the Moth by Susie Dinneen, read by the author; Sat 25th  Dream Big; Tues 28th  Professor Bronkenhorst and his amazing Robot ZED, Machteld van Nieuwkerk makes children laugh with her beautiful marionettes.  For ages from 3 years R55 pp  Contact Ruth or Rita Tel: 011 646 0870

little maestrosAnother favourite for +3 year olds is the monthly concerts run by Little Maestros  at the Foxwood Theatre in Hougton .  Set in a beautiful garden with ponds and paths, swans and ducks, there’s a small theatre where the  Little Maestro programme introduces children to different musical instruments. Coming up on 21st June at 3 pm is Hello Cello. My grandchildren love being able to see the instruments up close and of course have a turn at playing them.  Marimbas, piano, flute and violin have been a great success so far.  Venue address: 13, 5th St, Houghton.  You can get tickets at the door (R100 for adult and R20 for Children) or through music@littlemaestros.org

There is lots of children’s theatre too: Roald Dahl’s George’s Marvelous Medicine shows at the National Children’s Theatre in Parktown (3 Junction Ave) from 7th June to 17th July.  Tickets R90 for cushions, R110 for chairs, children 1-3 sitting on lap R50.

Shrek 2From 6 June to 31st July you can see Disney’s Peter Pan at the People’s Theatre in Braamfontein (attached to the Joburg Theatre Cnr Loveday/Hoofd St).  There are shows are at  10.30 and 2 pm and tickets vary from R85-R125.

You can make a trip to Gold Reef City and apart from the funfair you can also see Shrek the Musical at the Lyric Theatre from  24/06 – 17/07  There are matinees at 2.30 Wednesdays to Sundays and shows at 19.30 on Friday and Saturday. Tickets are R150 – R290. But no children under 4.

dora-explorer-live-doras-pirate-advent-08Emperor’s Palace is not a venue of my choice but Dora’s Pirate Adventure is showing for 5 days (5th to 12th July) at the Theatre of the Marcellus. This outing will set you back a whack with tickets from  R250 per person. But enquire about family discounts.  There are 3 shows a day at 10 am, 2 and 6 pm.

Also not cheap but a real treat for slightly older kids is Disney on Ice at the Pro-Dome: 24/06 – 03/07 with tickets from  R175-R475.  Last year we had several families from around the country stay at Liz at Lancaster when they came to see the show. There was lots of frenzied girlish excitement at breakfast with little pink tutus, wands and princess crowns!

WebsiteJosephAnd of course the wonderful ‘old faithful’ Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour is back for another rerun at Monte Casino Pieter Toerien Theatre. I still love the music – cheesy and dated as it might be – and anything Johnathan Roxmouth is in is bound to be superb. So although I saw the play several times as a youngster, I might just persuade somebody to come with me to see it again! Tickets are R100 to R350.

Also at Monte Casino at the Teatro, is Slava’s SnowShow from 26th July to 14th August. Sounds like good escapist stuff which we perhaps need at the moment -described by London’s Daily Telegraph as touching ‘the heart as well as the funny bone. Full of laughter and joy’. There are matinees on Saturdays at 3 and Sundays at 2 and evening shows Tuesday to Sunday at 8. Tickets range from R175 to R350 (slightly more for the matinees) with family packages available.  It’s recommended that children should be 8 and over.

Despite being very Americanized (well it is after all a Disney production),  the 3D special effects of The Jungle Book are apparently amazing. But children have to be 10 or over for entrance.

For older kids there are some wonderful exhibitions:  Gateway to Space at the gateway to spaceSandton Convention Centre 1st June – 31st July with tickets from R 120-180; Body Worlds at Sci-Bono Discovery Centre Newtown until 30th June, tickets are R140 for adults, R110 for seniors and students, R90 for youngsters between 6 and 17 and R400 for a family booking. Wildlife Photography of The Year (from London’s Natural History Museum) runs until 31st July at Fox Junction 1 Main St. in Ferreirastown. Entrance R50 with children free.

And finally there are lots of activities which are open all year round: canopy swinging in Melrose www.acrobranch.co.za; skiing and snowboarding at www.avalanche.co.za in Cedar Square, Fourways, putt-putt Fourways Mall and Brightwater Commons at www.adventuregolf.co.za; iceskating at Northgate Ice Arena; mosaicking workshops at www.seedpodstudio.co.za to name but a few things to do.

And if this isn’t enough you can always check out http://www.jozikids.co.za Great website !

Enjoy the holidays!



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Posted in Joburg and surrounds: things to do and see, Theatre, entertainment & events | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Responses