Every Opposite

Zaki Ibrahim performing in Johannesburg

Zaki Ibrahim in Johannesburg
I have a folder on my computer very unimaginatively named «Randoms to edit». It contains a bizarre selection of photos I have taken over the past year which never got edited because they weren’t attached to anything special. These two photos are part of that collection and they finally got a quick once-over in Lightroom after I decided that I couldn’t think of a better subject for my first post of 2013 than Zaki Ibrahim.

Zaki is a South African singer and she is absolutely amazing.I first saw her live in Johannesburg at the very event in Greenside where I took these fabulously average photos. (The reason why she is behind glass in these photos because she was in a recording studio – part of 5fm’s live performance feature)

Listening to Zaki while living in New York always makes me really happy, but it makes me miss Joburg at the same time.

Zaki’s album Every Opposite is available on Spotify if you want to take a listen. Draw the Line, Something in the Water, The Do, The Brave Ones are my favourites, although the number one spot belongs to the most sultry sexy song ever – Conjure.

Happy Fri-yay.

Photo flashback – Nizamiye Mosque

Nizamiye Masjid Midrand JohannesburgNizamiye Masjid Midrand JohannesburgNizamiye Masjid Midrand JohannesburgNizamiye Masjid Midrand Johannesburg
I noticed that I have been getting a lot of traffic to the blog from people searching for the Nizamiye Masjid in Midrand, Jhb. So I decided to post some of the old pics that I took in December 2011 – before I started the blog – at sunrise. The mosque is one of my favourite buildings in Johannesburg, even though it is in the soulless Midrand it always makes me think of magical Istanbul.

Make a point of alone time…although next time maybe not in an eerie art exhibit






I spend a lot of my time socializing and being around people. But as a loner at heart I love to spend time alone, be it driving randomly around the city on a Sunday afternoon or going to read in the park.

Today I went to the Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG). I actually just wanted to enjoy the old artworks and the peace and quiet in the space, but was a little surprised to find out that the entire space had been transformed for an exhibition by an artist called James Webb.

I cannot remember enough of matric art to be able to use fancy terms to describe his work – but it is an abstract installation made up of small installations all over the space of the JAG. It relies quite a lot on sound and it was a very disconcerting experience walking around a practically-empty JAG on my own, hearing all these strange sounds. To spook me even more a lot of the rooms are separated by these cloth hangings as part of the exhibition and I felt quite lost and disoriented most of the time.

I didn’t think I would enjoy especially since I had come there for silence, but some of the installations are really moving. I really like the Prayer, which is a red carpet with 12 speakers, each playing a different prayer from the religions practiced around Johannesburg. I would recommend going to see it – unless you prefer simple art – in which case you might not like it.

Photos are all curtesy of the iPhone again. I have a new camera app that does HDR hence the cool ghost in the photo with the Prayer.

Art as Standard








This week I caught the Gautrain to Pretoria twice and there is a big ad at the Rosebank station about a new exhibition on loan from the Musee des Beaux Arts at the Standard Bank Art Gallery. Not having been to the gallery for over a year it sparked my interest so I made a plan to go yesterday afternoon .

A few observations:

– I wont share what I think are the reasons behind this but art galleries in SA are usually dead – unless it’s an opening and there is free booze. This means you’re always there alone, or just about. It’s wonderful.

– The exhibition was titled «20th century masters» yet there were many works from the 19th century. I did not bother to read why this was so.

– There is a white line in front of the art. Do not cross it. Don’t even step on it like I did.

– Apparently you are allowed to take photos with your phone but not your camera. Thank you baby Jesus for the iPhone 4S. (please excuse the quality of the photos as a result)

– the most awesome piece is the mirror.

– Afterwards do yourself a favour and have a coffee from Cramers just a few roads up from the gallery.

The Standard Bank Art Gallery is located on the corner of Simmonds and Frederick with safe parking in Harrisson.


This is the sun’s birthday


This past weekend was absolutely glorious in Johannesburg and all I felt like was walking around outdoors to enjoy the sunshine. However, if you live this city you will know that it really isn’t a walking city. But there is one place that never lets me down when I feel like being outdoors – Emmarentia Dam. Yes, you have to drive to get there, but it is pretty big and usually not too crowded, which is perfect when you don’t feel like any human interaction. (The dog in the photo is not mine – but I did want to steal him).

While I was walking around, it made me think of the most famous of all ee cummings poems – and the one through which I came into contact with in Grade 9. The only thing that was missing was the ‘greenly spirits of trees’ – they were most brown. But it certainly felt like the sun’s birthday.

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

The photos below are some of my favorites from previous visits to Emmarentia.





Oh the horror

I’ve been a bit lazy in getting around to editing these photos – with all the travel and revelry I just haven’t had the energy to transfer these from my iPhone to my computer to edit in Lightroom, and then on to the iPad to blog. But now I am sitting in bed with a twinged neck, so figured it was the best thing I could do.

These were taken just over a week ago on my iPhone at a Friday 13th party called Oh the Horror, which took place at Emonti on Bree street in Newtown. Emonti is quite possibly the crustiest venue I have been to for a while, and when I arrived there I literally thought I was only going to stay for one drink. I was running very low on sleep and wasn’t in the mood for a smokey dingy venue, especially after a long argument with the car guard as to why I wasn’t going to pay R40 to park on a public road.

But then The Frown started playing and somehow I found my second wind and the night took on a completely different feel. The Frown are the band in the first 4 photos. They are based in Johannesburg and I see their lead singer Eve everywhere (usually wearing that same coat/jacket). I have been to a couple of events where they have performed, but I never really paid much attention to them until last Friday. And I enjoyed them so much that I even went to buy the album the next day – although it turned out to be a bit of a letdown as it only has 5 songs on it, yet it’s the same price as a normal album. That aside, the 5 songs are really cool, especially The Frown’s cover of NERD’s Rockstar. I would definitely recommend seeing them live.

I was also once again really impressed with the camera on the 4s. Of course given the light conditions the was a fair amount of noise in the photos which I touched up in Lightroom, but still think they came out great. The camera is really quick to focus and take pics, and really in a situation like that, when you’re out with friends having fun, you won’t ever have your SLR with you.

I also learnt that going out wearing cat ears (we all went as black cats in honor of Friday 13) will get you more attention from drunk men than anything I have experienced before.

All the revelry in Melville

Melville, Johannesburg South AfricaMelville, Johannesburg South AfricaMelville, Johannesburg South AfricaMelville, Johannesburg South AfricaMelville, Johannesburg South AfricaMelville, Johannesburg South AfricaMelville, Johannesburg South AfricaMelville, Johannesburg South AfricaMelville, Johannesburg South Africa
So on Saturday I ended up leaving the music fete and then coming back a bit later when it was dark. I am pretty impressed with how the shots came out even on such a high ISO (1600 and 3200) although I did do a bit of noise reduction in Lightroom. Once again I am lamenting the lack of a wide angle – think I will just go buy the Sigma 10-20 I have been wanting to buy for months now.

The fête was really cool – one of the best things about it was how mixed the crowd was. This doesn’t happen that often in SA, or even in Joburg, which is still by miles the most integrated place in the country. And it was so great to be in the streets and to wander from bar to restaurant to shop. They should really organise these more often.

My favourite photo is the one of the bicycle.

Style scouting in Jozi

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Today Gus Silber (a joburg-based journalist) tweeted about how much style the people he saw at Arts on Main today had. I feel the same about a lot of the people I saw yesterday at the Melville Music Fête – stylish, beautiful and exuding confidence. Here are just a few of them…

More pics from the music fest tomorrow before I leave for Nairobi

Cloudy with a chance of rain

Johannesburg winter sky and rainJohannesburg winter sky and rainJohannesburg winter sky and rain
On Wednesday I was at home, bed bound by a neck spasm, but as a result lucky enough to enjoy the daytime. Lately I have been arriving at work when it is dark, and leaving when it is dark and it has been making me feel like some nocturnal creature.

Wednesday was also chilly and windy – and then the strangest thing happened. These dark clouds rolled in and it rained, albeit for 5 minutes. Still, it never rains at this time in Johannesburg and it was lovely to see those beautiful clouds that rarely adorn the winter highveld sky.

We don’t need no sleep

I am running on a bizarre, inexplicable energy these days. I am unsure of what if fuelling this desire to be on the run constantly, and the only thing that gets in the way is the occasional (annoying) need to sleep. In some way I think I am feeding off the energy of the people around me – like those animated-movie villains that sap the lifeblood of others.

It is an amazing feeling, feeling this alive. Everything is exhilarating and just adds to the fire that is burning – the pinkiness of the afternoon sky, the sight of the full moon in the morning, an old song, chocolate, bare winter trees. Touch, taste, sight, smell – it all just seems better these days.

This weekend was a whirlwind – a wonderful dinner with friends on Friday followed by Great Dane (for a second night in a row). On Saturday, after running out of petrol, we went to Neighbourgoods, followed by the Warm Up and a wonderful evening at Namrata’s house. On Sunday I had to spent some time doing mundane grown-up things like washing, dishes and buying gas for the heater…but after that it was off to Market on Main, Otelo Burning at the Bioscope and sundowners at the 12 Decades hotel rooftop. And to keep things interesting I also got pulled over in a roadblock on the way home – happily I was being responsible and all’s well that ends well.