Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A Tour Through Hillbrow, Part 3

Above: The main entrance to the old Hillbrow Squash Centre, Pretoria Street. The escalators have long since been smashed, and the one on the right is in such poor condition that it is dangerous, hence it has been blocked with an old car bonnet.
Above: Smashed block, claiming to be home to a High School, corner Pretoria and Quartz Streets.
Above: Parkview Apartment block, Lily Ave, Berea. Fairly typical state of the buildings in the suburb today. Inhabited. Above: A side view of the Parkview Apartment block, showing the equally typical street scene. What baffles me is the constant filth everywhere, even when trash cans are available, as one can see in the above picture.
Above: The bricked up remains of the Hatikvah Delicatessen, one of Hillbrow's more famous Jewish delis. Catherine Ave.

35 comments:

Holger Grunwald said...

picture 1 is where we used to buy late night roasted chicken, when I was a student. I think the place was Fontanas?

Anonymous said...

I remember vividly hanging out in Hillbrow as a student at places like Bella Napoli, Zurich Cafe, late night Deli was it Fontanas? also the Wurstbude which used to serve hot curry Bratwurst. The roughest place in those days was Michaels Tavern....
Also the fleamarkets downstairs where we used to buy all kinds of rubbish...
The Chelsea used to have all kinds of live shows....oh how time has moved on....it makes me kinda sad seeing the pictures of Hillbrow and Yeoville as they are today...but from afar I am glad I am no closer to it any longer.
On a trip 18 months ago I by accident drove through Yeoville from the Airport, and was seriously scared when I saw what had happened to the area.

I guess it is just another reason to vote for Security, Health and Schooling...and even that may be a bit late by now.

Anonymous said...

What do you lily white sons of bitches expect.

Wait a couple more years and zim style takeovers are coming.

So pack your bags and go back to the rocks you were shipped from like merry old england.

Anonymous said...

So sad, that a former vibrant area, full of life and excitement has been allowed to degenarate into a slum. The blame must surely fall on the City Council (if there is one) and the so called government. The people in power are so busy pillaging the country for their own benefit that the masses will have little to look forward to in the years to come. So sad.

Mandy said...

Hmmm. Neither Fontanas nor The Squash Club were in your first two pictures (you neglect to mention it's the same building). The building was once home to Cafe Three Sisters, Look & Listen and Norma Jeans. Fontanas was one block down and to the west.

Now anyone who lives in South Africa knows that is not a car bonnet in front of the escalator. It is the metal barrier Schindler Lifts uses when maintenance and cleaning are carried out on a unit. That is a safety requirement and one that Schindler would never transgress.

And that is a high school up there. They occupy four floors of the office block and are most certainly certified by the education department, as is evidenced by the several subsidy payments they receive during the year.

In addition, the office block is simply not smashed. It is clean and maintained and given the amount of children in there, it also conforms to safety standards.

The reason I bring all of this up is this: you are moderating racial epithets on your site, as you say it lowers one's argument level. Well you need to apply this sort of concept to your own work. This is a great site - I am really interested in seeing all of these buildings and my heart aches along with the rest. However, unless you check your facts and strive for fair reporting, you are lowering the tone of your argument.

And one last thing on some of the other pics I saw. When we were in Singapore, we were shocked to see that people actually do litter and it doesn't always look so neat and tidy. They thing is though, it is always cleaned up by the next morning. Now I am not sure if our streets are cleaned every night, but I often travel through Johannesburg CBD at night and find it either being cleaned or already clean. People litter. It is a disgusting, nasty, backward habit, but they litter. The measure of a town, though, is their efforts to clean up the city and present it spic and span come morning. To a large extent, Johannesburg is trying.

As I said at the above, your site is fab and there is just no excuse for a lot of what you have shot there. I'd love you to carry on and will try to rss your site. I don't even mind if your thoughts on the reason for the decay are politically different from my own. Just keep it true, fair and objective.

The Real Realist said...

Mandy wrote:
Hmmm. Neither Fontanas nor The Squash Club were in your first two pictures (you neglect to mention it's the same building).

Actually, the "Hillbrow Squash Club WAS (because it no longer exists) in that building on Pretoria Street, whereas Fontana is (still there) in the building between Pretoria and Kotze streets.

Now anyone who lives in South Africa knows that is not a car bonnet in front of the escalator. It is the metal barrier Schindler Lifts uses when maintenance and cleaning are carried out on a unit. That is a safety requirement and one that Schindler would never transgress.

Ah Ha Ha Ha! Thanks for the laugh!

My dear, I took the picture myself, I was there, and I tell you it was a car bonnet! The escalators have long since been abandoned, and do not work and are not serviced! Go there yourself to see!

That really was funny, thank you. (wiping tear from my eye).

And that is a high school up there.

I wasn't denying that, just pointing it out....

In addition, the office block is simply not smashed. It is clean and maintained and given the amount of children in there, it also conforms to safety standards.

Wah Ha Ha Ha please stop, you will kill me!

Mandy said...

Go there yourself to see!

You toss. I wasn't expressing an opinion in my response to you, I wasn't hypothesising. I know Fontana was never there, I was responding to your very first comment here. In fact, I pretty much know all the tenants that have been or are in the building. But seeing as you have such an intrinsic working knowledge of South African Health and Safety standards, I suppose you'll be willing to meet up at the building and put the trained, experienced and independent consultants right?

The Real Realist said...

You toss.

"You toss?" That's a new one to me. Maybe it's New South African Speak, as it sounds like you have dropped to their level anyway.

In fact, I pretty much know all the tenants that have been or are in the building.

So why do you speak such "toss" about the car bonnet not being a car bonnet when everyone else with one working eye can see that it is?

But seeing as you have such an intrinsic working knowledge of South African Health and Safety standards, I suppose you'll be willing to meet up at the building and put the trained, experienced and independent consultants right?

Having been there in person, I can assure you that if any "Health Inspector" has given that Turd World toilet a clean bill of health, then they must be from the blind, deaf and smell-less society.

Anonymous said...

Leaving South Africa in the late 70's to start a new life in the United States was the greatest gift my parents gave my sisters and I. The pictures confirm their foresight.

Give your children a future - get out before its too late.

benoni skinhead said...

Fontanas Chicken was the BEST !!!
It was just on the left of the escolators !!!!!!!!!!!!
They did these sausage rolls that was worth any travel !!!!!!
WHAT A Shame !!!

benoni skinhead said...

Just left up the road from fontanas there used to be a Cinema that showed BANNED FILMS clockwork orange , black orcid etc !!
I remember going to watch Pink Floyd The Wall there at 2 in the morning and you could smoke and take your own drinks in with you !
HILLBROW was a cool place to visit in the 90`s !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

This is a comment for the Benoni Skinhead, if you remember the old cinema,and Fontana's the surely you must remeber the Junktion {can't remember the spelling} and the Chelsea. I remebered some of the fights outside there.....

Anonymous said...

let me correct you even though you we there to shoot the pictures fontanas was on corner twist and pretoria street. i left that place a couple of years back but i still know. i was a cab driver/meter taxi infront of the la-frontier club later changed to the plannet club

to the pictures you see that building which you said it claims to be a school , of course it is a school and being owned by my uncle the name of the school is afro combs college of which they was look n listern underneath. that is jozi walala walafa bazokukhuthuza

Aussie said...

Mandy Mandy
Singapore litter!!!!!!
Singapore is one of the cleanest cities in the world - fact - If you are caught littering in any fashion at all in Sing you will get fined on the spot big time - fact - Chewing gum is banned in Sing- Fact!!! A kid from outside Sing a tourist sprayed grafitti in Sing - they caught him and he got "canned" publicly - Sing is so clean it Squeaks - I was born in Joburg and worked in Braamfontein we used to go to Hillbrow all the time and the clubs ??? Anyone remember The Yellow Submarine - downstairs - what was the name of the German sausage wagon/kiosk

achnaalba said...

With comment to Fontanas it was located in Highpoint building I know because I lived in that building until 1982. Upstairs was the cinema which was the first location to show the first Star Wars film and next door was the Italian Restaurant. Hillbrow used to be a vibrant multi cultural centre and it is a shame the state that it has been allowed to sink into.

Anonymous said...

they love trash, must be something in their genes. Here in the US you can generally find the same trash strewn areas where the blacks live.

Anonymous said...

Hillbrow was really the best place - After Bella's one whould go to Q's and then to Fontana's or Cafe De Paris - upstairs until 4 in the morning and head for home.
Club Nouvou has the best movies - clockwork orange etc.. I remember studing in Wits tech Kleinfontein and going to Hillbrow for lunch.

I used to work in Bree street and remember at 10 o'clock in the morning there would always be some strike or protest - being around the corner from the ANC headquarters!

Because there is no future for the white race in SA - we decided to have our children in an enviroment where the air you breath is clean and fresh.

I live in Australia now and am really sad to see how bad SA has become - It was always the Land of Milk and Honey.....Now sour milk and crap!!

I feel so sorry for all those people who are stuck and can not make the move - it is so sad :(

Anonymous said...

I have many fond memories of Hillbrow from the 70s and 80s. You could always find the best shows, food and icecream in the Transvaal... just the smell of those Rotisseried chickens in Fontana was always worth the trip.

I used to play on the big chessboard in Joubert Park and spent many a Sunday walking around the Wilds or picnicking at Zoo Lake.

The speed and extent of the deterioration really defines what urban decay is all about. I also keep thinking of the words to "Me and Bobby McGee"... Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose. Ain't that the truth!

Personally, I would like to see the traitor FW De Klerk tarred and feathered. He, more than anyone else, gave everyone's kids' futures away.

Fi said...

If you've never been poor, hungry or disadvanged, you have no right to point fingers. For many, Johannesburg is a haven compared to where they have come from (e.g. Zimbabwe). Have some compassion! It's easy for the privileged few to pass judgment.
And how disgusting to wish for an AIDS genocide for the nation. Shame on you racists. May God forgive you.

Non-racist, white South African

Anonymous said...

you seem to be pessimist, not a realist

Anonymous said...

Wow!! I lived in the Parkview apartments back in 1986. I would run into Hillbrow every morning and work out at Reg Park's gym then run home to get ready for the day. I was/am amazed at the pictures I just saw of the area. It really makes me sad. South Africa was not a perfect place under white rule but are things better today? It is a shame to see the craziness of the rest of black africa moving south to the tip. Illegals moving into an area seem to alway bring there new home down to the standard of living they just left. We see the same here in the U.S. Southwest but we have the ability to fight it and are at least not losing as much ground as you see in Hillbrow/Brea area. From an american who loved his time in S.A. SHAME!!

P.S. I used to go to Soweto everyday for work and though it was "poor in areas" it was not as filthy as what I am seeing in your pictures, and I have pictures of Soweto and Hillbrow during those times!!

So Sad

bruce said...

here in america where ever you have a large population of negroes you have filth and crime.we have to carry guns to prevent negroes from attacking us as they will not work for a living.

njorpie said...

I also remember a much cleaner (and MUCH safer) Hillbrow from the 1970/80's and agree that poverty is no excuse to live like a pig and as for the comment that the place is a "haven" for some, I do not begrudge anyone a safe place to stay, but would hardly call Hillbrow safe and do they have to trash their so caled "haven"? Makes me think that they actually do not know or want to know any better....

Marc Latilla said...

The building is called ELKAM BUILDING as can be seen on the pillar to the right. It is where 3 Sisters and Look & Listen used to be (I should know as I worked at the musc store for many years). To the left used to be the Golden Egg.
Fontana was across the road in highpoint. The Mini Cine (that showed all the banned films) was the next block up in Pretoria st (going toward Berea) above where the underground flea market used to be. The block after that had Checkers and Estoril books.
The squash club was two blocks down from ELKAM in Pretoria st going in the other direction toward Braamfontein.
Sorry Mandy, I'm afraid that looks like a car bonnet. Those escalators didn't work when I left Hillbrow in 99!

I am still here in SA and not going anywhere

frankis38 said...

its a cry.
would be more dramatic if could have
pictures from years back, before the f.... took over.
frank

Anonymous said...

Ja, i used to live in the Brow and then Yeoville. Blacks really fuck things up.

Ian said...

I used to live in Hillbrow in the 70's.Man did the black sons of whore bitches fuck everything up?look at Africa,what a joke.Black man is a natural born loser.

stephen said...

you cannot compare this hillbrow to the hillbrow of the 70s and 80s .
its a pigsty with pigs occupying it now .
i remember the summit , fontana , chelsea , the all night lounges where we could play chess , backgammon and such and you could walk safely in the streets .
hillbrow should be changed to mayhem now .
thank god i left that country and as far as im concerned its doomed .
yea de klerk really fucked us over .

Alron said...

In the 60s and 70s Hillbrow was called the "Europe of Africa". Many new immigrants were "housed" there when they first arrived - thus the main reason for all the foreign food places.
I ran a shop next to the Exclusive (and it was!) Book Shop. I remember Club 505 (many of the "oldies" will!). You could go out 24 hours a day - I bet that has changed!!!

Rest In Peace

gary lee said...

EISH ITS SAD WHEN U SEE HILLBROW IN THIS STATE... I USED TO DO BOOBS,, BELLA NAPPOLI.. TWAS FUCKING AMAZING...

gary lee said...

hillbrow was awsome.. boobs bella nappoli mi vami... . used to rock in the 80s and 90s..

Anonymous said...

We stayed in tiny hotel opposite the Sands Hotel when we emigrated to SA in '64. I have tears in my eyes looking at these pictures. Why have all these buildings been destroyed when so many are still living in shacks? SA could have been the best country in the world. So sad.
Ex-Benonian

Anonymous said...

Lovely niggers u lot, look at the state of zim u dozy black twat, a siffilace ridden presidet who doesn't know his arse from his elbow screwing up all the good that 'white people' did for his country and this zuma malema monkeys, if it weren't for europeans coming to this land u lot would still be eating bananas n wiping ur backsides with the skins! So get a life u stupid koon n get back to zim u fuckin gollywog

Anonymous said...

Please wake up and smell the roses (shit in this case)

Anonymous said...

Jesus H wept, the afs have totally fucked the place up. No different, wherever in the world you go the zots treat the areas they live in like public bogs. Racist South Africa and quite rightly so!