Friday, July 12, 2013

Hooray! An Update Coming Soon!

Readers will be happy to hear that, after a hiatus of many years, an update to this blog is coming. We'll see what 7 or 8 years difference has made . . . . Stay tuned!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Updates to Site

Well, here I am, logged in again to this site after nearly a year. I was prompted to log in after finally remembering my password to my gmail account, and to my great surprise, found hundreds of emails waiting there for me, going back months and months.

If you have written to me, my apologies. I am going through all the emails and will answer each one in due course.

Amongst the emails I found a batch from some crank at IDASA, with a batch of pictures mainly from the lower Fox Street end of Johannesburg, near the old Anglo-American head office. With these pictures he was trying to persuade me that the city was actually wonderful and I was just a liar etc. etc.

Well, as anyone who is familiar with Johannesburg knows, of course the part of the city around the AAC offices and lower Fox Street is almost (but not quite) the same as it always was.

In fact, one could actually say that the whole city used to look a bit like that.

The fact that private enterprise has managed to more or less keep that one section like it was, merely emphasises the mess of the rest of the city!

Anyway, the one valuable thing that my IDASA crank friend did send me, was a picture of a 'rescued' building in Marshall Street. This, he said, was proof that the city was being rejuvenated.

My original picture looked like this: (taken in 2006)

According to my IDASA friend, the same corner now looks like this: a cheap restaurant, which nonetheless has a coat of paint:
Now I thought, let's give credit where credit is due, that is an improvement, even if that is a 'restaurant' in which I would not want to eat.

But then to my astonishment, the very next picture my IDASA friend sent me was this one, which is the building right next to the 'refurbished' eatery. You can see the end of the 'restaurant':

Oh dear, it seems as if the slum was not quite eradicated after all! Tough luck, IDASA sock-puppet, try again next time! Still, thanks for the effort.

These pictures above, by the way, should be clickable through to larger size and better definition. I will soon be starting to replace the pictures on the rest of the site in the same way, so that those of you who want better definition pictures will be able to get them without having to email me.

My apologies for taking so long in getting all your (hundreds and hundreds) of comments approved. They are all now done.

I intend to fully update this site with new pictures in 2009, so keep checking back!

Friday, April 25, 2008


Hello Folks.
Sitting comfortably in exile, I have been away from this dashboard for a while. When I looked in, there were another few hundred comments waiting to be put up.
Amongst them were several requests for high quality images of these pictures, and requests to use them.
The answer is sure -- just email me at realistenator @ and I will see what I can do.

I would like to do an update on the images (that is, if the electricity stays on in Jo'burg long enough to recharge my camera batteries) the next time I visit. Anyone who wants, in the meantime, to take any pictures and send them to me at the above email address, please do so and I will post them.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

New Galleries Added!

Dear Readers

I have just added a whole batch of new images to this blog. There are far too many to fit on one page, as I have done till now, so I have split them up into their own pages.
Please visit them -- you won't be dissappointed -- and each page as a link back to this "Death of Johannesburg" Main Page so you can navigate back here and and have a look at the next set.

The new gallaries are:

Three Castles Building, Marshall Street

A Drive Down Anderson Street

The Cartlon Hotel

The View from the Gauteng Legislature

A Drive Down Jeppe Street

The Johannesburg Bus Depot

The Jewish Museum, The Great Synagogue and OK Bazaars

Joubert Park – Then and Now

A Drive Down Marshall Street

Oppenheimer Park: The Vanishing Springbuck

A Drive Down Troye Street

Death of Johannesburg – Eloff Street and Others

Von Wielligh Street and Others

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Comments back, Moderation in Place

Comments have been reactivated, but moderation back in place. Bear with me while I wade through everything and try and pull out the ones that have crossed the line.

This is What Remains of the Wits Drill Hall….

When the Queen of England visited South Africa in 1947, the official reception for her was held at the Wits Drill Hall, 95 Anderson Street.
For decades, the Wits Drill Hall was a famous venue and even a tourist attraction in central Johannesburg.
Councillor Carol Milner, Ward 66, City of Joburg has sent me the following pictures and commentary: "95 Anderson Str, Joburg CBD has been like this for a at least a year. We have told the Council and told us that they will be using it for Emergency Services but it's still standing (or barely)."

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Welcome to Bree Street, Johannesburg, Where Gold (Used) to Lie in the Street, Now, it's Just Rubbish

Bree Street is one of the main thoroughfares running through the city centre of Johannesburg, from east to west. It runs right through the CBD, and used to be one of the major economic centres, as well as being a residential area.
Today, as you can see, it is a slum, another shattered, filthy, ruined monument to the "New South Africa." Pictures courtesy of MZ, who made this hell run down Bree Street. Thanks MZ - send more (and that goes for any reader anywhere else as well).


Greetings readers.
I have been asked a few times now what my idea is with setting comments to moderation status, instead of allowing a free for all.
There are three basic reasons:
1. I want to keep racial epithets out of it. You can refer to race as much as you want, but there is no need to resort to racial epithets -- it lowers your argument level.
2. Please don't try and advertise web sites in your posts. It's not that I don't like anybody else's site, it's just that it's a dangerous precedent to set, and opens up all sorts of problems further down the line, when things appear on web sites over which I have no control.
3. Don't insult me. It's my blog, and I won't allow it, as simple as that. You can say I am wrong, whatever, but your post instantly goes down the drain if you resort to insults. You can resubmit without the insult if you want.
If there are any comments which have made it through which go against these rules, let me know. I have tried to catch all of them, but there are now nearly 1,000 and I may have missed some.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

A Visit to Yeoville

Yeoville was one of the 'trendiest' places in Johannesburg. Its main thoroughfare, Rockey Street, was the place for a very late night out, and here one could find an eclectic mix of exotic shops, dining establishments, clubs and who knows what all else, if you really looked.
And today? Well, let's let the pictures do the talking. My visit to Yeoville:

Above: A "shop" in Rockey Road today. This is a typcial shopfront for the entire street.

Corner of Raymond and Rockey Streets, Yeoville. This used to be quite a famous restaurant, I can't recall its name offhand, but I am sure someone seeing this will. (Edit: Readers have pointed out that this was the famous Mama's. Thanks.)

Above: All that remains of the South Street cafe, Bellevue East, Yeoville. It's still open, but I didn't venture too close because of what appeared to be sewerage in the gutter, which really put me off a bit. Thank the good Lord for my 200ml zoom lens.

Above: The corner of Rockey and Bezuidenhout Streets, Yeoville. There used to be a late night takeway on this corner. (Edit: Readers have confirmed that it was a Kentucky Fried Chicken once upon a time as well.)

Above: Looking down Bezuidenhout Street towards Rockey Street.

Above: A little further up Bezuidenhout Street... (not my original pic).

Above: The BP Garage on the north corner of the major Rockey and Bezuidenhout Street intersection. One of two petrol stations in Rockey Road, both closed down due to being continously robbed out of business. (Edit: A reader has confirmed that the last owner of this petrol station was shot dead with an AK-47 during a robbery. The station was just abandoned -- hence the pump's pipes hang loosely there, normally BP would take their stuff away).

Above: A typcial gutted house, corner of Muller and Bezuidenhout Streets. Even the roof has been stolen.

Above: Smashed apartments, Saunders Road Yeoville. Currently inhabited by squatters. The stench is unbelievable. It's a pity the Internet hasn't got 'scratch and sniff' type technology, I'd really give you something to clean you lot out away from your PCs.

Above: Inhabited house, lower Rockey Street, towards Observatory. ALL of the houses here look like this. I recall that the chief photographer for Associated Press in 1990 (I won't say his name here) telling me how happy he was to be buying a house here, and he looked at me all funny when I told him I didn't think it was a good idea. Like all good liberals, he has probably since voted with his feet.

Above: Typical filthy apartment block, Pope Street.

Above: Street scene, Dunbar Street. Taken from my car while moving, as by now I had attracted attention and was being followed by an aggressive group of locals. It was time to leave Yeoville.