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.

191 comments:

Anonymous said...

Geez ... what a freaking mess. Talk about imploding an area. I wonder if I couldn't see the water tower because that had been stolen?

I would love to see some pics. of Pretoria ... I hear it's much the same in some of the apartment areas.

Anonymous said...

Were the locals chasing you ? That must have been scary. Next time, rent a bullet proof humvee.

Travis said...

What was the aggressive group of local’s saying/doing? I would love to see the city centre of Pretoria but I don't think it's that bad compared to Johannesburg.

Anonymous said...

Can you take some pictures of the nice areas of Pretoria? The ones where you rarely see a Black man. The areas of South Africa where there actually isn't crime -- just look at the demographics. Too bad the ANC is tyring to build low-cost housing in our neighborhoods.

Anonymous said...

Another old haunt that's gone down the tubes. I wonder what happened to the pizza place that was so famous on a corner there... Mama's or somthing?

It was the best at the time, and god help you if you never ate all of your food. Mama would come round and scold the customers big time hehe..

*sigh* .. those were the days.

Now its all just f%$*!d ... so so sad. Where's the nostalgia for us now?!?!
FYI - nostalgia [nos·tal·gi·a}

n. feeling of longing for the past or bygone things, sentimentality


None of that here my friend. "Proudly se moer!!"

People, wake up and smell the coffee... what is there REALLY to be proud of in our great country?????

Anonymous said...

How does one et to invest in Yeoville. I would love to pump some serious money into the place and I am think I will be able to pick up property cheap.

Anonymous said...

Pretoria CBD from Prinsloo street to and beyond Paul Kruger street is a no go area. Or you can if you want to risk it. Sunnyside apartment area is the pits as is Arcadia and parts of Hatfield.

Anonymous said...

Pretoria is about 2 to 3 years behind Johannesburg in terms of getting FUBAR by our pigmentally challenged fellow countrymen.

But this process may be stepped up by the Assholes iN Charge, cause they were badly beaten on the mythical Tshwane chief renaming circus.

Anonymous said...

I used to live in Berea (I moved the hell outta there 1 year ago). To travel to Eastgate, i would ride through Yeoville (armed to the teeth). The "locals" who chase you are actually drug dealers who just want to make a drug death with you. It is perceived that the only reason why whites go there is to pick up drugs. Therefore, you were seen as a potential customer. Whites should clean up their act and stop providing these drug dealers with a job. Stop taking drugs. You are contributing to the destruction of society. Lets face it, some white people do drugs at times. If you had any patriotic bone in your body you would clean up your act. Spend your money on purchasing goods and services provided by white business people instead of spending on drugs. And by that i DONT mean buying drugs from white drug dealers. Okay...I am done lecturing people now. ;-) Cheers

Anonymous said...

I dug up this old article on the net. 18 months old now. what chance of this happening before December 2008???

http://www.joburg.org.za/2004/dec/dec13_yeoville.stm

Anonymous said...

The ANC want the whites to leave SA. Therefore they do what they do!

Anonymous said...

PROUDLY MADE IN SA

Anonymous said...

That restaurant was called Mama's place - she made the best pizza in town. I used to go there all the time in the early 90s. Rocky Street was the place to be back then.

I wonder what happened to Mama? :(

Anonymous said...

i reckon take some pics of Rivonia Road in front of Sandton City and the Sandton Library. Taxis now congregate on the divider between lines, and park two deep in the designated bus stop area, so in effect there's only ONE lane open to traffic. On Rivonia Road, in PEAK hour. Not a cop in sight, instead they wait for 'softer' targets up near the Rivonia MacDonald's, past 10th Street. Moms on cellphones, old folks in Mercs, young cats in their new Audis. Hey, at least these people pay their (inflated) fines for not wearing seatbelts, not indicating properly and running amber lights (something i was stopped for, even though TWO taxis drove through the same time as me, and weren't even looked at). Geez, i sound like a bitter twisted old grunt, don't i?

Anonymous said...

Same as the Rivonia offramp. Only expensive cars get stopped their.

Anonymous said...

We lived on the corner of Hunter and Bezuidenhout [Glenton Court] until 1983. This WAS such a great suburb !! Mamas,Rumours [Art "the Fart" Kelly]and Co, Bellevue Pharmacy etc Eish! "Ons vir jou ........die nuwe ZA"

Anonymous said...

A real eye-opener. I used to live in Pope Street and have really great memories of the place including Mama's, Black Sun, Rumours etc. One point thought - it is Rocky STREET and not Rocky Road. It is such a shame to see what has happened over there. I had high hopes!

Anonymous said...

I could cry.
Sitting here in my comfortable home in ICE COLD IN CANADA.
It is criminal.
What is Mayor Shilowa doing about this.
The people cry out for housing and they destroy these perfectably solid ones, close to transport and the city centre.
Or have they destroyed all of this as well.
A.S

Anonymous said...

"I WILL CRY FOR YOU LOUIS BOTHA AVENUE,
SEEMS THAT YOU WILL BE THE NEXT"
(With apologies to Evita"

HILLBROW,BEREA,YEOVILLE and BELLEVUE.
All gone.Why?
Give me two good reasons,give me one.
You have your majority rule what more do you ask for.
Who will pay for your destructive habits.
Now that the "Whities" leave.
Who will you tax.?
Prior to majority rule there was a take home pay packet every week.
It may have been small,but it did put Pap,Bread and some Meat on the table.
Too late to change that now.

Just as with A.I.D.S.
You made the problems.
You clean them up.

Orange Grove Refugee

Anonymous said...

Dear Blogger,

A South African friend sent me the link to your Death of South Africa. Your pictures broke my heart. My husband and I left SA in 1980 and still have many relatives back there. Our daughter longs to visit her family there but we have been reluctant to encourage her to go back. Your pictures have helped us make an important decision.

At one time we actually lived in Yeoville. It's unrecognizable to us now.
Thank you for doing a great public service.

JH.

Art.after.hours said...

TOO BAD anyway that was then and this is now, thank GOD: sunny, beautiful SYDNEY

Anonymous said...

The destructive affect of these people on a civilization never ceases to amaze me. They give an atomic bomb a run for its money! They may take longer, but they sure do a good job of LEVELLING a city block.

Note to the American CIA: Take a few of these "weapons of mass destruction", put them on a submarine and dump them on the coasts of N. Korea, Iran and China. Give them a 100 years or so to multiply and to do their magic. Afterwards, there'll be no radiation, just a godawful stench and a few wide-eyed, hungry looking africans. It will solve all your problems! Wait...don't you have some of them at home as well? Ah well, best of luck and send my regards

Anonymous said...

Having lived in Yeoville and Bellevue East my whole life before moving to Australia in 1988, I am absolutely staggered at what these images show. It is so very sad to see the how things have de-generated. Yeoville was was an incredibly vibrant place and the late night hangouts were unbeleivable. I also, like others, have fond memories of Rumours.

I do remember that across the road from the BP Garage on the corner of Rocky and Bezuidenhout Streets was and all night chemist and on the other side was a florist which then became "Kentucky Fried Chicken".

But that whas a long time ago and fortunately I and my family are in a better place.

Thank you for keeping us informed.

Anonymous said...

I lived in Randview, the small suburb at the top of Bezuidenhout street, from 1978 to 1994. It was heaven-- stroll to Hiilbrow on a Friday or saturday night, enjoy a flick and eat out on sidewalk cafe. No mugging etc.

I can cry when I see how the "disadvantaged" shits have stuffed up the place.

Why the world wants to help these little human demolition squads I do not know. They should pull the plug and let the swines rot in the piss and grime which the love so much.

Viva Aids - only hurry up.

Dave Mason said...

For some of us it is nice to reminisce about days gone by when we could visit Mama’s Pizzeria, The Corner Cafes, Kentucky Fried Chicken on Bezuidenhout, Piccadilly Cinema etc. I grew up and lived in Hillbrow, Yeoville, Bellevue, Bellevue East from 1968 – 1983. Whatever happened to the Stephanie Hotel where we first lived when we arrived in SA from the UK?

It really does make me sad to see what has become of an area we once considered as our own. However, I feel the reality of the situation is this – SA is a 3rd world country and these pics show it. Too many people were ignored and impoverished to make SA’s white areas the beautiful, safe areas they once were and create for us whites a sense of living in a 1st world country. Nowadays, remember (and this is a world-wide phenomenon) money is a lot scarcer because there are so many more people. I recall figures of about 24 million in SA when I was at school (matriculated 1977) - in 2001 they talk of 44 million but some estimate nearer 60 million? The proportion of poor, unemployed, poorly educated will increase vs the more wealthy.

But it doesn’t begin and end with SA. We lived in Bangkok for 2 years – a city of 10 million, they said. I recently found an old Readers Digest Atlas (1961 – my birth year!) and it listed the population for the whole of Thailand at 10 million! Nowadays they talk of 60 million. I am sure that in our time we will see huge changes in the way we live forced upon us by our inability to control our population. Wealthier nations populations remain constant or even fall whereas countries who are unable to support themselves fall deeper and deeper into, shall we say, “disrepair”.

A hugely interesting and emotionally challenging blog, thanks. Easy to be negative, I think. But I was speaking to an elderly neighbour where I now live in the UK and just the other day he commented on how we become so pessimistic in our later years. There’s crap going on everywhere, believe me, and there isn’t one country in the world where the local powers aren’t facing daily challenges to authority and control. Just a matter of time for all of us…

p.s. Sorry to sound so pessimistic but could WE make a difference if we really tried???

Anonymous said...

Is there perhaps any photos of the very first restaurant that started in Rockey Street cnr Bellevue, Mamma's Place Lanterna, and the Piccadilly cinemas. My family owned Mamma's, I hear now it's a matress shop. Anyhow Perth Rox!

Anonymous said...

Is there perhaps any photos of the very first restaurant that started in Rockey Street cnr Bellevue, Mamma's Place Lanterna, and the Piccadilly cinemas. My family owned Mamma's, I hear now it's a matress shop. Anyhow Perth Rox!

Anonymous said...

The last question was: could we make a difference? The answer: not in Africa. You can try all you like, nothing will change. A lot of white people tried. And every time they fail and give up. Here in my company a lot of Blacks are employed in accordance with the new employment equity codes. Everytime they are given training and all the Whites do their best to help the Black people. What happens?, the White people do the work in the end so that the job can be done!!! Time is money!!! So no one should say that we dont help the Black people, that simply is not true. I wish I could leave SA but it simply is not that easy! My family are here, I have build a life for myself here, how can I just leave?

Anonymous said...

"p.s. Sorry to sound so pessimistic but could WE make a difference if we really tried???"

No

Anonymous said...

I am a non white South African living in Aussie. I am soon returning to the motherland, a land so beautiful that those of us who left cannot forget. I too remember the good old days in Hillbrow and Berea during the eighties and beyond when I had to get a "White" person to apply and sign a lease for me to enable me to live there. How in some buildings I had to sneak in and out sometimes just to visit friends because I was the wrong colour. How white landlords exploited us, how I was once beaten up by a gang of white thugs near 'Bella Napoli" because I was with a white girl. O Yes those were wonderful years. I too remember watching your white people vote on my future all those years, and I remember my father, a grown man, being called "Boy" by a snotnose white kid. O yes bring back those years when your people ruled us and we knew our place because then there never would be slums and locations. What exactly was Soweto and Eldorado Park and all the other locations again...examples of lovely neighbourhoods?????
As for your bunch of weenie crying people commenting on this blog - after reading and after the nausea went away I said a prayer of thanks to God that people like you actually left South Africa. Please do not come back as we are better of without you.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous non-white Aussie,

What you highlight here is the apartheid vs. petty apartheid. What Verwoerd wanted was apartheid - separate, but equal development of all races in South Africa. Listen to some of his old speeches - if you can still find them.

Unfortunately, after he was murdered (by liberal whites), we started seeing more of the petty apartheid you mention and less of Verwoerd's dream. He knew then what would happen (modern day SA). If you separate the races, give them all a proper homeland (SA is big enough) then no race could blame the other. Also people of the same race is infinitely more likely to work together in harmony for a better future.

Back to modern day SA, personally, I'd rather live in my own homeland, be called a racist by a snotty black kid, then let my brains be blown out onto the floor for my cellphone. What do you say?

Anonymous said...

i stayed in jozi for a year, and when chatting to my mom's about the places was shocked to hear that she'd enjoyed shopping in jozi city back when we lived there in the early 80's... it's too hectic now to consider even driving through. poverty has really hit this country bad.

(p.s. This blog makes me feel lucky, hehe, I don't see the world in black and white like most of the commenter's... I mean, c'mon, racial stereotyping is so 90's; it's the 21st century, prejudice via social status is the way to go, haha)

Anonymous said...

Just want to point out that it is Rockey Street and not Rockey Road. I lived there from 1934 until 1948 and the pictures bring back memories.

ebbye said...

I used to party there! There used to be the best restaurants and an open square area and the flea market. This brings tears to my eyes of the memories and the loss of such an amazing and trendy place

Anonymous said...

I lived in St Johns Road in Houghton which ran parrallel to Louis Botha near the cnr of Harrow Road in 1996. Which pretty much means the convergence of Berea and Houghton. A bunch of us from the commune in which I was staying would walk along Harrow Road and hang a left in Hunter Street and walk to Yeoville from there. I sure as hell wouldn't try it now. We used to scoff great schwarma's at Bar Pita and then party the night away at across the road (even U2 jammed it up there after their concert). On Sunday's we'd spend lazy hours playing pool and chilling with the rasta's at Roof Bar. I took a shortcut through Rockey Street en route from Parktown to Bedfordview a couple of weeks back and it was heartbreaking to see the change for the worse. I'm 28 years old and am not sure whether I see myself building a future here.

George said...

I first moved to Jhb in 1969. I lived in downtown Jhb in Claim St, then I moved to Hillbrow, then Berea and as I got more prosperous I moved further out. First to Kensington and then to Sandton. And this is the real answer to why these areas have degenerated. It started in the 70's as people moved further and further out of time.
The poor people moved in to these areas near town. The reality is that every big town suffers in the same way. Go to areas of New York or London.
Its a cycle. In time people will regenerate - we were in Kensington near the old golf course in February. It had been changed in a year from a derelict, poor area into a trendy street full of antique shops, little cafe/restaurants. So just be patient and people themselves will change the area. The downside, of course, is that the poorer people will be pushed somewhere else.

Have faith in the new South Africa - its still a better place than it used to be

The Real Realist said...

george said:

I first moved to Jhb in 1969. I lived in downtown Jhb in Claim St, then I moved to Hillbrow, then Berea and as I got more prosperous I moved further out. First to Kensington and then to Sandton. And this is the real answer to why these areas have degenerated. It started in the 70's as people moved further and further out of time.
The poor people moved in to these areas near town.


The flaw in your argument is that in the times you were talking about, the "poor" area wasn't an outrageous slum. Why not?

The reality is that every big town suffers in the same way. Go to areas of New York or London.

I have been to the slums in those places, and a lot more. And the one thing I have found to be consistenly in common with all of them is -- the racial makeup of the population.

Anonymous said...

cnr: Raymond and Rocky is not where MAMAS was - it was the Coffee Society - MAMAS was on cnr: Rocky and Bezuidenhout.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous non-white Aussie

Why did you move to Australia?
...to live between white people?

Anonymous said...

The non white Aussie said:

"What exactly was Soweto and Eldorado Park and all the other locations again...examples of lovely neighbourhoods?????"

Where did all the rubbish come from?

Why did the residents of Soweto and Eldorado Park not clean their own neighbourhoods?

Why, after your people have their freedom, Yeoville start looking more and more like Soweto?

It appears to me as if they like living in a mess. If it is not a mess, they create a mess.

Even poor people can pick up rubbish. Poor people does not have to litter.

Anonymous said...

Even the locals need to wear bullet proof vests broer, because their own kind hunt them down!

Anonymous said...

mamma mia ...typical black Africa

Anonymous said...

Turning this into a racial thing is the reason for the degeneration in the first place. The non-white Aussie is correct in all of what he says. As is the person who said that poor people can be clean too.

Anonymous said...

The Name Commission must change the name of Johannesburg to AfriKAK.

Anonymous said...

I live in Johannesburg and i think its wrong to judge a place just by looking at the worste area's it has to offer. Those are no go zones unless you are stupid.

Every country has its area's that are completely disgusting, where people live in squaller and there is a hugh crime rate. Every country has its crime. A friend living in England has experienced more crime than she ever did in SA, so its all relative. The grass always seems greener on the other side, but sometimes there is more shit there to keep the grass green.

Perhaps i am a proud South African. I do not have a problem living amoungst people of colour, they are human beings and some I know are the most decent people i have ever met. i know that alot of crimes are commited by people of colour, but aren't white people prone to murder and rape? If some could see how these people live, it is no wonder they turn to crime.

I live in a beautiful area, a homely, safe area. I think this country has come along way since the abolishment of apartheid. If my white comrades had not been such idiots and discrimintated and supressed the masses because of a darker pigmentation, this would be a better place.

Although Racism is still rife in thios country, no one looks at Britain, is there no racism there, no crime... what about America? Its everywhere!

This is my R1 worth!

Anonymous said...

Actually Mamma's Place was on the corner of Rockey Street and Cavendish, I spent 27 years in that shop watching Yeoville become a slum, I think I would know. Just before we closed down I watched people get murdered every Friday and Saturday night without fail, it became a norm. Sad.

Anonymous said...

The restaurant Mama's was one block up... That was originally CATs then it became club Martinique... A bit dodgy but good fun. It is sad to see what has become of Rocky street. I partied with Foreigner when they came out for their SA tour at Dylan’s and Nick from the Diamond Dogs got to sing a set as lead vocals with them... The stories, the times.... but it seems all good things have to die :*( I lived loved and lost Rocky Street over a period of 15 years.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps i am a proud South African. I do not have a problem living amoungst people of colour, they are human beings and some I know are the most decent people i have ever met

Does this include those who cut up children for muti WHILE THEY ARE SCREAMING IN PAIN !

Anonymous said...

AND???..'E' DIES A SILENT DEATH...MUST BE A LIBERAL...

Anonymous said...

this brought tears to my eyes! I used to live off Claim street in Hillbrow, late 1970's, had many a treat at Milky Lane, picked up a snack or two at Fontana.... I can hardly believe my eyes! Have not been back since the early 1980's.
May God be merciful!

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see that bit of End Street where I H Harris government school is. And I'd like to see that bit of Barnato Street in Berea near the Harrow Road end, where we lived And Northview High in Balfour Park Used to teach.
Congrats on your wonderful pics!

Anon.

Anonymous said...

My brother sent me this link to show me the area that we lived in for most of our childhood,unfortunately we only had a few good years,until it degenerated into a slum.My parents used to have a supermarket 'vita stores' that was next to the very first steers that opened,we had many interesting and friendly people who used come and buy our freshly made bread,hot cross buns,however,over the years the place got poorer and crime increased ,my parents were robbed about 6-7 times. We could no longer stay in a place that dangered our lives, so we packed our bags and left for my parents homeland...Foreigners can not judge SA on these images there are many areas that are great and have made steps to stop crime.When i went to SA to visit my brother i was impressed with the progress and in fact i was not scared,but i must admit i was afraid to go to yeovil the place that i lived in most of my life ...oh well We must remember that all countries have thier degenerate areas it is a shame that a thriving place such a yeovil become one of them and i hope that one day it will revive itself...

Lee said...

A friend of mine sent me a link to your blog and it was a real shock to see what the Johannesburg I grew up in has become. It's extremely important that these images be shown.

That said, although there is no excuse for theft, outright destruction and rampant filth - or for the non-performance of the City Council and other municipal departments in managing the city - I do think we need to look at these images in a broader socio-economic context.

A recent report indicates that half of all South Africans - over 20 million people - live on R20 a day or less. These people are described as existing in "desperate poverty". Many of them are displaced industrial workers who have been laid off by the "rationalisation" of industry since 1994, as the newly-democratised South Africa has been exposed to global market forces. Others come from the ranks of the 942 000 farm workers that have been evicted from farms during the past decade.

Many of these people flock to the cities in the desperate hope of finding work and eke out an existence in what you correctly refer to as an "urban hellhole".

Against this scenario, properties valued at tens of millions of rand are being offered for sale in Johannesburg's more affluent areas and Sandton's streets are packed with 4 x 4's.

Such an enormous gap between the rich and the poor cannot be excused under any circumstances and is not a race issue, it's a class issue.

Until we can, in good conscience, work towards narrowing this gap so that all of our country's people may have access to honest work and a living wage, consequences like the urban decay shown in your photographs are inevitable.

By the way, I live in the old part of Kensington and much of the urban decay evident here is being caused by white people neglecting the properties they live in, as well as the civil environment. My black neighbours across the street paint their house every few years, keep the pavement clean, hedges trimmed etc., which is more than I can say for many of the white people living around me.

Finally, while there is reason for major concern about the state of our city, the causes are complex and we need to acknowledge that.

Anonymous said...

If this is not a race issue, but a class issue, let's try our hand at communism. I'm serious! Hell, we've tried colony, minority rule and "true" democracy already!. What do you say comrade, are you game for it?

Anonymous said...

We moved out in 1980, thank God! I had heard that things were bad, but I NEVER realized it was SO BAD! Good shots, but what a waste of a beautiful country, very, very sad to see.

Anonymous said...

Reading comments on this site made me sick. Nostalgia? For what? A life of privilege at someone else's expense? Get real! Perhaps while you were partying at Mama's you could have spared a thought for what was happening in your country to millions of decent human beings, worn down by the cruelty and greed of those in control. Yes, it is people like YOU who created what is Hillbrow today, so while you whine on about the good old days just think about it. You think you are superior in some way? Please tell me how you come to that conclusion, because you certainly don't come across as such.

Anonymous said...

Yes degradation is an awful thing. Nice result of poverty. It's everywhere, not only in Africa. I find some of the racist comments and remarks on this website highly offensive and typical of the whingeing people who are the first to turn on their heels and flee, and when on the other side of the fence they start spitting on their motherland.

Pitzi.

mcfist said...

There is an interesting theme of racism that runs throughout the commentary - mainly from people who left South Africa. You are the guys who benefited from the system with good education and good jobs - but not prepared to give anything back - others made the sacrifices on your behalf. What you witness in the photographs is the dereliction of thousands of lives of people who were robbed of opportunity and hope.

Democracy did not suddenly give them an education they could use or magically fill their pockets with money. In spite of what you think you are seeing - this country is far better off without freeloaders like you lot. Gloat and criticize - but take the time to appreciate your own contribution to what you see in the photographs.

Anonymous said...

"Democracy did not suddenly give them an education they could use or magically fill their pockets with money. In spite of what you think you are seeing - this country is far better off without freeloaders like you lot."

Let's just cut the crap ok. Education and money has got NOTHING to do with this. This is Africa, by Africans. 100% self made hell. Without apartheid South Africa would have been so different - no first world component, just turd world shithole like the rest of Africa. Why do you think SA was the only ray of hope on this dark continent? Mineral wealth? Cheap labour? No, just ordered governance and sound capitalistic principles. Freeloaders? You haven't got a clue my friend. Amazing how SA almost reached 1st world status with so many "freeloaders" on board, and with all the "freeloading" now eliminated SA is slipping into a turd world shithole! Somebody once said that South Africa's problem is not black governance, but bad governance. Well, given the overwhelming empirical African evidence, I would say black governance IS bad governance!

Fanie said...

The picture is not of where Mama's used to be. Mama's was a block back on the corner of Rockey and Cavendish. Your pic is showing the building on the corner of Rockey and Raymond, where Coffee Society used te be. I still stay in Yeoville.

Anonymous said...

I am so heartsore by the pics i have just seen. I have lived nearly all my life in and around bramfontein then to Yeoville where i lived for 10 years or more and it was the best place to go clubbing and lunches on Sundays.With my parents we would walk from braamfontein to hillbrow just to go window shopping and then on to milky lane. My sisters and i used to go also to the indoor swimming pool in hillbrow i wonder what has happened to that place? Its the same with the CBD since they could start selling allkinds of things on the pavments outside is when town went downhill and rubbish started to accumulate.

Anonymous said...

I think you have done a excellent job of posting these pics about yeoville and hillbrow and it breaks my heart to see how human beings can bring such a nice place down to the ground. I lived in yeoville for a very long time and my son went to school but about 5 years ago we moved out as it was just getting worse and now im glad im not there anymore but im still in south africa and have not run way like some people have.

Anonymous said...

So, why did anyone think it would be any different? One only has to see what happened up north. The country that developed its own missiles, and bombs and infra-red radar and the G-series of weapons, which had an amazing road system, clean beaches, swept streets looks like an alexandra township shebeen. Hulle was reg: bly blank my volk, and nou?

Anonymous said...

"Let's just cut the crap ok. Education and money has got NOTHING to do with this. This is Africa, by Africans. 100% self made hell. Without apartheid South Africa would have been so different - no first world component, just turd world shithole like the rest of Africa. Why do you think SA was the only ray of hope on this dark continent? Mineral wealth? Cheap labour? No, just ordered governance and sound capitalistic principles. Freeloaders? You haven't got a clue my friend. Amazing how SA almost reached 1st world status with so many "freeloaders" on board, and with all the "freeloading" now eliminated SA is slipping into a turd world shithole! Somebody once said that South Africa's problem is not black governance, but bad governance. Well, given the overwhelming empirical African evidence, I would say black governance IS bad governance!"
Typical "superior" because I am white south african mindset. This country will be a better place when you and your kind finally leave, and believe me I can't wait for that day. There is no place for this kind of mentality in this country.
Pitzi

Anonymous said...

I like the comment "We, who have left were not willing to give back"
My ass. We did give. Gave it all.You have to know when to give up giving. You stop giving when the taking does not stop.They are bringing ruin upon themselves.
Wake up and get out.

Anonymous said...

A typical Saturday night out started with a Shwarma or Jumburger at Mi Vami in Hillbrow, followed by a quick browse round The Hillbrow Record Library, then a quick stint in both Exclusive Books and City Books "Too" (or Estoril Books). Before zooming off to Rockey Street, we'd have a double-thick at Milky Lane, then get to Midnight Express or Tortue at about 11PM (any earlier and you'd be classed a nurd!). Then we'd pop in to Rumours to see some good music until about 4AM. Then, back on the motobikes and into Hillbrow again for a roasted half-chicken and a loaf of crusty bread from Fontana which we'd scoff down in Joubert Park until the sun came up...

Sunday Lunch at Lanterna (Mammas) - where you'd get scolded by her for not finishing your food - was usually followed by boating on Zoo Lake, then a late afternoon picnic on the zoo lake grass with a cold bottle of Theuniskraal Riesling. We'd make sure to take all our rubbish home with us...

That was in 1980...

In 2006 we spend Saturday doing things like punting on the river Cam with Pimm's in free-flow, picnicking on the historic river banks bordering Kings College, then meandering the peaceful and orderly streets of Cambridge soaking up the rich culture, history and architecture. Sundays usually see the family at a major event - this weekend we were at the English Heritage Festival of History where 2000 years of the past are faithfully represented and explained in exciting and entertaining ways. Highlight of the day is an "air battle - a dog-fight" involving a dozen old bi-planes. From there we nosed our way into a 16th century village pub - packed with locals and visitors keen to chatter about the great battle of Naseby which happened nearby 350 years ago. From there to the historic market town of Saffron Walden where we select a Thai restaurant (and bump into a SA couple from Springbok in the N.Cape). After that it's back home, where we discover that I'd left the back door unlocked all day! ("Oh dear, not again," scolds my wife. "There's crime here too," she reminds me - though we've never experienced it in 15 years)...

We've definitely benefitted from both sets of experiences. We (like all normal people everywhere in the world) just want a civilised, peaceful and respectful society in which to live and raise our families. When it disappears from where you are at any given point in time, you have every right to find it again elsewhere...

Lou said...

My best bud Liz and myself used to work in Ripley's. What an amazing time in our lives. We still talk about it today. We feel privileged to have been able to experience Rockey Street in the early 90's, such an extraordinary lifestyle that we lived. To look at these photos is kinda depressing and you almost want to turn away in fear that it might ruin the memories. Thankfully it didn't but it is still sad all the same.

Louis in the USA said...

Hi, thanks for the memories, so sad now, But what is it like in Sandton and Northcliff/ Blairgowrie areas, Midrand etc. Let us know with words and pictures if possible. Louis in the USA

Anonymous said...

How very sad - I used to live just across from the Library and church in Yeoville - spent many years of my childhood there - had some very good friends - like the Davidows - the Gordons (who had a dress shop down on Louis Botha) - I wonder where they are now - and whether they have seen these pics - So sad.

Anonymous said...

ex Jhb boy living down under.

am totalling blown away by your pics.

heading towards full on slum city.

Anonymous said...

You sanctimonious shits. What the f@ck do you know about sacrifice? What do you know about giving and giving back? How about giving 25 years of your life to what you believe to be a just cause, then having those that you helped so willingly take all that from you by murdering the ones that helped you so faithfully? Is that enough of a sacrifice for you? Is that enough giving or do you want more? To you non-white Aussie, if you feel so strongly about it, why don't you f@ck off back to Africa after earning your priviledged degree and make the difference you hope to make? Take your remaining HIV infected black mates with you who have come out as refugees because conditions in Africa are so attrocious. Don't you give lectures about sacrifice and taking until you have lost what you hold most dearly. You make me sick! You think that you are so hard done by by the white colonialists? Wake up and smell the roses and realise that it is those white colonialists who have made South Africa the wonderful place she was!

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Yeoville in the 1950's
and it was a most wonderful place to be a kid. Went to the original Yeoville Boys School, located between Cavendish and Bedford Rds. on Hunter Street.
There were trams(streetcars) that went along Raleigh/ Rockey Street through Berea and Hillbrow to town.
Spent wonderful times at The Yeoville Baths (Public swimming pool). Knew all the shopkeepers along Raleigh Street. No crime. Safe to walk around late at night.

Now Yeoville has degenerated into
a disgusting slum and is going the way of the rest of Africa.
As Yeoville has gone, so will the rest of Johannesburg go. There is no future for civilzed people living in South Africa........

Anonymous said...

Let's try it one more time, shall we?
The once-handsome building on the corner of Raymond and Rockey was not Mama's pizzeria (La Lanterna was the actual name of the restaurant, not that anyone called it that). Mama's was on the corner of Rockey and Cavendish, opposite the Picadilly theatre. I lived in a flat above Mama's. Mama was a humourless harridan who made good food and, more importantly, knew how to run an establishment. The corner shop in the Raymond Street building was for much of the Nineties a bistro called Coffee Society. I met my wife there. They served terrible coffee but the conversation was good.

rambler79 said...

you are quite correct about the location. i lived at the top of cavendish in the xanadu apartments in 1984-85. i was friends with art kelly, the owner of rumours and miss him as well as charles comyn, and the radio personality, fellow american alan pierce. all three if those guys have since died.........thus, to me, the era has officially ended.
i visited joburg for the first time in 17 years this last may. i took some pics of rumours and other yeoville sites........but lost all my 250 pics to a virus.................DAMN!
yeoville has obviously become a vastly different place, as well as all of joburg.

rambler79 said...

you are quite correct about the relative location of mammas.
i lived at the xanadu apts on the top of cavendish in 1984-85.
i was friends with art kelly, the owner of rumours as well as charles comyn and fellow american radio personality alan pierce.
all three of those guys have since died.........and in a sense........so has yeoville.

Zambia said...

Does anyone know the state of King Edwards, St. Johns and the other schools in the area? I used to play sport against these two schools when I was at Pretoria Boys High School back in the mid 70's. Would be interesting to see how they have fared through this horrifying destruction.

Anonymous said...

Hi All,

Below is a comment from a newspaper. Before you read this letter, let me say, I lived in Dunbar Street, went to Yeoville Boys Primary. (1960 - 1977) Did my 2 years army, after 5 years study. Was on the border in Angola, and when I returned from Angola I knew what was going to happen is S.A. We just need to look across the borders. This does not come as any suppries to me. I left when my first girl friend was murdered during a car jacking in 1991. Now live in Melbourne Australia. The best move I made. A comment was made above, that they have family and friends etc, and how can they just leave. Well all I can say better alive than dead. Read the below and then ask yourself, what kind of people are running the place.

Norman

Violence in the New South Africa

This article appeared today in a Scottish Newspaper.


Horrific violence now an everyday sight as the Rainbow Nation ends in a pool of blood

From Fred Bridgeland in Johannesburg


THE distinguished anti-apartheid novelist André Brink has shocked many of his politically correct countrymen by warning that football's World Cup, coming to South Africa in 2010, threatens a "potential massacre which could make the Munich Olympics of a few decades ago look like a picnic outing".

Brink, whose novels were banned by apartheid governments and who has twice been nominated for the Booker Prize and shortlisted several times for the Nobel Prize for Literature, is no everyday scaremonger.

In one of a number of articles he has written about the crises facing South Africa, he said: "For 12 years after our first democratic elections [held in 1994, resulting in Nelson Mandela becoming president] I went out of my way to assure people inside and outside the country who had doubts about the new South Africa that we were moving in the direction of democracy, truth and justice, and that the darker by-products of the change were temporary and superficial accidents. I can no longer do that."

While South Africa has bathed in the accolade of the Rainbow Nation since the end of apartheid in 1994, a torrent of commentators and swathes of the general public now say that the rainbow's end has been reached and the nation is sliding back into the storm.

Just this month , Nobel Peace Prize winner archbishop Desmond Tutu said the country had lost its "moral compass and reverence for life".

He said: "Is it not horrendous for an adult man to rape a nine-month-old baby? [a reference to the country's plague of baby rape in the belief that sex with infants cures Aids] What has come over us?"

Like many South Africans, Brink is appalled by violent crime levels that are seemingly out of control – he finally felt impelled to speak out when his own daughter, son-in-law and their children were caught in a restaurant hold-up of the sort that has become a near-everyday occurrence.

Five men armed with pistols stormed the Cape Town restaurant where his daughter's family were dining; ordered everyone to lie face down on the floor and strip themselves of rings, jewellery, watches, cellphones and wallets. The men then emptied the safe and cash register and beat up and kicked the customers before herding them into a small back room, locking it and making their escape.

Apart from a single paragraph in a small community newspaper, the incident was not reported. "It is too insignificant," said Brink, "too banal, too commonplace in the new South Africa. No-one has been killed, no-one raped. It will not even rate as a statistic."

South Africa now ranks alongside Colombia, Chechnya and the occupied Palestinian Territories as among the most violent places on earth. In a new report, the South African Institute of Race Relations said that one million whites have left the country in the past decade.

This is partly because of the escalating violence, but also because they see no future in a country once proclaimed as "non-racist" but which has implemented a damaging raft of reverse-racist policies with similarities to those adopted by past white governments. Most of those quitting are highly skilled people such as doctors, nurses and engineers and young people born too late to have ever voted in the apartheid era.

More whites began packing their bags for Europe, North America and Australasia when justice minister Charles Nqakula, responding to a question about the scores of daily murders and hundreds of daily rapes, told parliament that those who complained about crime were "unpatriotic moaners". He went on: "They can continue to whinge until they're blue in the face or they can simply leave this country."

The justice minister's implication was that only whites "whinged" about the rampant violence. But most of those raped, mugged and killed are black people . One woman, who had been gang-raped and mugged by fellow blacks, and who lives in a paralysis of fear in her township, wrote to a newspaper asking: "Where, honourable minister, do you suggest I go?"

>And last week it was too late for 15-month-old Khensani Miteleni to consider going anywhere – she and her mother were caught in one of the near-daily wild west-style gunfights that make Johannesburg's city centre resemble a war zone.

Eight black gunmen attacked three black security guards making a cash pick-up from a black-owned shop. In the subsequent shoot-out, five black pedestrians were severely wounded and Khensani Miteleni, wrapped in a blanket on her mother's back, had her head shattered by a bullet from an AK-47. She was buried in Soweto on Friday.

Violence is just one element of the developing South African crisis: A vicious succession battle for supremacy is underway inside the ruling African National Congress; thousands of people die of Aids each week and thousands more become infected while president Thabo Mbeki and his health minister, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, deny there is any link between the HIV virus and Aids and the rand has collapsed faster than any other currency this year amid fears that former vice-president Jacob Zuma, who narrowly escaped conviction for rape and is currently on trial for fraud and corruption, will become the next president.

As South Africa slid off the rainbow, one leading newspaper columnist warned: "We have all been lulled into a sense of false security over the past 12 years. We look north to Zimbabwe with pitying eyes and tell ourselves it couldn't happen here.

"Well, my friends, the seeds have been sown. Just wait for the harvest."

15 October 2006

Anonymous said...

The central bankers of the world could solve these problems with the stroke of a pen. Lookup 'fiat currency' on the web.

Dave Thompson said...

I'm sat here with a tear in my eye. I lived in this area as a boy from the age of 5 - 7. My Dad had a contract to help build some steel works in the mid 60's. Forgive me if I spell the names of places wrong but time has perhaps faded my memory - but I wouldn't have been able the spell that well in those days anyway! I went to Yeoville boys, the youngest in my class at age 5 but since I'd already started schooling in the UK I was allowed to join in. After school I'd wait for my Mum who worked at a kindergarten kind of place near Berzadinouke (sp?) Park. The kindergarten was part of a childrens home I think. After school, I'd wait outside the school with a few other kids in a similar situation. We'd perhaps wait some 15-20 minutes but as kids somethimes it seemed like much longer. I still have a little school case with 'STD I' written on it! I recall the OK-Bazzar on the corner where we could get a drink of chilled water as we'd watch the trolly busses go by. I recall Barea (sp?) Methodist church for some reason, the Jenkins (father was a Doctor) family from Wales had kids the similar age to us and we used to play at their house after the Sunday service. Another family was the Cassidy's, they lived in the same appartment block. They had a son called Stephen who was about my age and an older son who used to beat the hell out of us from time to time. My address was 405 Russell Square, a four story appartment block build by one of those Italian gangs in about 3 weeks I think. We lived just round the corner from the the girls school my sisyer went too - Bonata Park (sp?). Not quite Yeoville now, but not far away either. Yes, I remember this area well and have very fond memories. I learned to swim in the public baths a previous poster mentioned. I don't think I'd thought about those baths for over 40 years but as soon as they were memtioned then some very clear memories came flooding back. Other school friends included a kid called Fernando Feraro (sp?) and a rather chubby kid called Harvey. I've even got a coupld of old school reports and a certificate from around 1967 for 100% attendance. Thankfully I'll keep hold of the good images I have in my head, they've been with me a while and are sure to be there for a while longer. Maybe my biggest regret is that I'll never be able to take my boys along to see the lovely place a short but very significant part of my childhood was based upon.

Anonymous said...

ALL THE IMAGES AND ALL YOUR COMMENTS (OBVIOUSLY YOU ARE ALL WHITE) ARE A TRUE REFLECTION WHAT ECONOMIC SEGREGATION DOES TO A COUNTRY WHILE YOU WHERE ALL ENJOYING YOUR PIZZA'S IN THE GOOD OL TIMES 75% OF THE POULATION WAS LIVING IN THAT SQUALOR(IN THEIR OWN LAND)HOPEFULLY MY COMMENTS GET PUBLISHED AS THEY ARE SINCE WE ALL LIVE IN THE REALIST WORLD

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the pics I left SA 10 years ago and now live in Scotland. I lived in Bellevue and Yeoville was the place to be and I remember Mama's great food. It breaks my heart to see where I grew up now in ruins. No point in visiting ruins best stay with the memories I have. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Grew up in South Sacramento, California in the 1960s and 1970s. The area started out predominately white with some minorities but majority of both middle-class in both groups. After welfare, gov't housing, decline of values, crime, etc. We left our initial area in 1976. I finally moved in 1985. Just found out that our old neighborhood is the home of the latest sensations in rap. The singers, if you can call them that lament there "poor" environment and describe their actions such as robbing liquor stores, raping women and murdering each other and innocent victims with no remorse. Very similar to what you have encountered. I believe that we will have a civil war in the future. Probably will be prompted by US gov't going bankrupt due to them always going over budget and printing funny money.

For the white South African's, I suggest taking Jan Lamprecht's idea and organizing a white exodus to the coastal area that he said that could be defended. The sooner the better. Many here in the US would support you.

Anonymous said...

I am a white sout african still living in yeoville i think its an absolute dump & am waiting for an Afrikaans revolution to return it to white control

Anonymous said...

When I was born, my parents lived in a flat in Francis Street. We are going to be in SA for a wedding and I wanted to take my son to see some of my history. I was told that Yeoville was a no-go area and could not believe that could be so. I was then referred to this site and I could not believe my eyes. Especially the last photo.

Anonymous said...

I lived in various flats in Bellvue\yeoville from 84 thru 89...including the block opposite Xanadu at the top of Cavendish..the best views!!
The Best Man at my wedding worked at the aforementioned pharmacy opposite KFC...Many an evening was spent at Clousseaus(hello Jodi Shneier, former work colleague and fellow Barfly...!!) ....as well as the Pizzaghetti Factory were my wife to be and I had our first "meal' together.I also remember the Chinese restaurant...Tonkies perhaps??
My last flat there (before marriage and a mortgage in Kensington)was one block up from Rockey, round the corner from KFC..had the most stunning ground floor deck...
I can also vaguely recall a few doors from Clousseaus was The Pie Factory..anybody??

Drama after Drama in Kensington(thankfully no bloodshed) forced our hands and I type this from The Gold Coast, 70 Km's from Brisbane....and to a few comments posted saying ALL cities have their own "Yeoville" thats crap...99.9% over here care about litter \ violent crime etc...police bring people to book...the fanciful idea that "....its no better over there.." which i heard constantly before I left, 2 kids and a Wife in tow, is , frankly, B!@#$sh*t..certainly here in
Australia.
Yes, Aussies are a different breed, but they dont murder one another and , in general, have a 'live and let live " mentality...
Thinking of leaving??Do so...quick.
Chris Smith

Brad Morris said...

I lived in Hillbrow for 10 years, between 1981 and 1991. It's a crying shame to see the de-evolution of what was once a vibrant, wonderful place.
South Africa can see its future by looking North at Zimbabwe.
BLACKS are starting to leave the country now.

frogman said...

And before Lanterna? Anyone remember Phil's Cafe? Besides Mama's pizzas, her husband (family in Perth please help me) made incredible spinach rolls.
Ah, the Yeoville of my youth. Born there in 1956. The first coffee bar (named?) was in the shop that used to be the comic swap shop. Don't confuse yesterday's memories with today's realities. Savour them.

Дэрвіш said...

Guys/Chaps/Kerls,

It seems there is no other way but
creation of independent states, revival of Tvaal, FSOr as they were
conceived 150+ yrs ago.

Better sooner, for the whte flight 'll make it impossible in some 5-7 years.

+Eengrag maak maag+

Капітальная дупа... Ім трэба Лукаша сюды, з АМОНам і эскадронамі.

Anonymous said...

Like many other contracting immigrants I spent many years in Hillbrow through the 70s & 80s I lived in Berea Tudhope heights to be precise, I remember the time fondly and it seems a horrible shame that it’s now little more than an open sewer.
Hillbrow used to boast a few cinemas and a library Have they survived?
The haunts I used to get round on a Sunday (when the rest of SA was officially closed) bring back happy memories also The summit club, Michael’s Tavern, The Irish club, The Belmont, and of course that spot in Kotza St where they sold you an inedible beef burger as you went in (to comply with the drink law) There was a fifty gallon drum immediately after the service point (It would be a brave man who ate the thing) The castle I think it was called.. What a hellish story your pictures tell now! The Rainbow looks pretty “shit coloured” but I guess it’s pretty indicative of the whole continent now. One third of the worlds land mass that’s effectively a “no go area” savage oxygen thieves with the begging bowl always out. Perhaps South Africa could hire the services of Sir Robert Mugabe (yes afraid brittania did knight the bugger in 1994) his work seems to be nearly satisfactoraly concluded to the north of you and I feel sure he could speed up the rainbow cause. Or of course there’s Idi but I think he’s a bit long in the tooth now.
Incidently there was a Hardback Pictorial book about Hillbrow printed in the 70s called Vibrant hillbrow or some such (I’m looking for my copy now) It would be interesting to take the same shots from the same places and compare . If you feel brave enough?
Great site keep up the good work

Grego said...

My God - I used to live there - I recognize the street names but not the buildings.

WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED

The Real Realist said...

WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED

Africa happened....

JouMa said...

Hey there's hope. Those BP petrolpumps are still there!

Anonymous said...

lived in Yeoville ,Muller street
1968-1978 attended Yeoville Boys and matriculated from KES in 1976,best years of my life yeb swimming at the local pool playing soccer at yeoville park going to The Picadilly on Saturdays,walking home from Hillbrow at 3am no problems walking to the Wilds yeb it was safe back then ,training at
American Health Studios on Kotze Str 1975-1977 .Emigrated to Oz in 1988,must say Berea,Hillbrow ,Yeoville all turned into shit as the whites left blacks moved it stuffed the place right up.Any one any before and after pics

Wynand said...

Goodness, thank god all you people have either left or are thinking of leaving - good riddance!

Anonymous said...

George,wynand & the darkie living in Oz don't know shit about shit...Its in african nature to f**k things up..Even bf the white mans arrival on the shores of this continent, the black man was destroying the environment with total disregard for the future...What has changed..?

TP-2005 said...

today i refer to this photograph:
http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/8078/3331/400/rockeyroad02.0.jpg
that wasn't Mamma's place, that place was a bit further down from Mamma's place, but also popularly known as Coffee Society. i used to eat noodles with garlic there. Mamma's place didn't have the entrance like that, it had the entrance right to the front of the pavement/street, not like a corner.

Mamma's place was corner Cavendish and Rockey Street as you can see on this painting by Michael Hall:
http://www.downintheflood.com/Photo/Portrait/199201.jpg

Johannes

Anonymous said...

I lived in Francis street apartment in the late 60's and it was pretty rough then, I didnt really agree with apartied as you treat people like animals and so they become animals and sadly there's no cure!
The article was good and reflects the true SA that seems to become prevalant. I live in UK now and since independance in SA I have always told my mates to watch that space. Funny how people reckon now that SA is a safer place!!!

Bobby said...

very Sad, I use to live in the Block of Flats in pope Street, Its Called Maya Court. I left in 1987.

I still miss the Country & people . But it will take a long time to heal.
Bobby

New Yprk said...

Hey I too used to live at Xanadu - would love to see some more pics of Yeoville, as many as you can, including Xanadu, Suncrest, and, well ... my childhood eh! I remember the OK Bazaars, Checkers, CNA, the park behind the swimming pool, the yeoville post office, wow, these pics take me back - I left South Africa 18 years ago, and came back briefly a few years back but didn't have a chance to check out the old neighbourhood - doesn't seem I missed much.

Anyway, congrats, great site, pity about the overtly racist outlook; after all, most of this is a direct consequence of apartheid (lack of education, hope, poverty, etc etc); it is not black people, or white people, of asian people who live in such a way; it is poor people, and uneducated people. South Africa's legacy was to create such a circumstance; I don't think anyone asked to be poor, uneducated, or without hope for a decent future, and no-one certainly asked to live in a slum.

But politics aside, it is truly sad to see what happened to my old 'hood; guess my daughter, if she ever asks, 'daddy, where did you come from?', I'll have to break out the old photos and try to get her to imagine what yeoville was like.

I also saw the pic of the old chelsea hotel; the scene of my first 'clubbing' night out at 15 years of age - Duran Duran's Wild Boys in the basement ... can that really have been 25 years ago?

Please keep the pics coming; it really is fantastic and nostalgic and bittersweet.

Anonymous said...

I was sent this link from my cousin who lives near Eastgate. I left Bellevue in 1980 and have been living in the USA since. I was BLOWN away by the images, the bizzarre thing was that we lived on 36 Rockey street, right next to 34 in the image. I cried inside and went on my bike ride and cried more, that how lucky I am and blessed that I live in the USA. I was going to return in 2010 for the World Cup. Its better that I stay away and never go back.

khabazela said...

YOU ALL GOT RACISM STILL STUCK IN YOUR HEADS. TAKE YOUR HEADS OFF YOUR ASSES AND SEE THE LIGHT. WHY DO YOU EXPECT YEOVILLE TO BE WHAT IT WAS DECADES AGO. EVERY SUBURB NATURALLY GOES DOWN WITH TIME. WHY ARE YOU NOT SHOWING NEW SUBURBS. YOU HAVE RUSHED BACK TO YOUR CANADAS AND AUSTRALIAS BECAUSE THATS WHERE YOU BELONG ANYWAY. LEAVE AFRICA FOR THE AFRICANS. YOU ARE CRYING BECAUSE YOU LOST YOUR ILL-GOTTEN HAVENS. YOU WERE HAPPIER OPPRESSING AND STEALING FROM BLACKS. WE DO NOT NEED YOU IN AFRICA.

benoni skinhead said...

In the mid 1990`s a used to go down rocky street quite alot !!
They used to have a Mardi Gra Party that was the Biggest Street party in the whole of the East Rand which was very of multi cultural !!!!!!!!!!
A scottish friend of mine used to work at a bar called Rockafellas and my other friend had a shop just off Rocky Street , were he sold hippie Clothels and stuff like that !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It was the place to Drink and meet people in the 1990`s , a place for the in crowd as they say !!!
The smells of Rocky Street were next to none Food , Incense and Cannabis " Dagger "
It looks alot different now , run down and forgotten , Shame aswel

benoni skinhead said...

Your right about that KFC !!
And Rocky Street had a Bimbo`s and Don`t forget Rockafellas

Ayaz Ahmed said...

That picture on corner of Raymond and Rocky was "Coffee Society" .... years and years ago in early 90s at least. And for a brief period in late 90s it became a Christian cafe where they used to try to draw drunk people in to make them accept the Lord.

Anonymous said...

My mum and dad bought Phil's Cafe in 1973, they then named it Phil's Cafe La Lanterna pizzera, which then became kown as Mamma's Place La Lanterna Pizzeria. They ran Mamma's for the next 25 years until we closed it down in 1988. The spinach pies, the calzone the stews, the sangria all the food was cheap and tasty. Many people were sad to see it closed down. They are still both alive and well by the way. The will be gald to hear they are remembered. regards Big Joe

Anonymous said...

I currently still own a house on Regent street, I have rented it out and am living in the states. I am thinking of selling it just before 2010 as after there is just too much uncertainty and I don't want tolose my little 25,000USD investment, now the place will sell for about 70,000USD, that is pre 2010, after I may not be able to give it away!

disgusted said...

Anonymous, I left Yeoville in 1999 and wanted to desert my flat, let alone sell it at a loss.

Besides the fact that I'd had an attempt by a 'man' threatening me with a brick, to steal my car while I was trying to get out of a parking space outside the pet shop, my son and his girlfriend were cornered by a big truck and a few other cars in Rockey Street. He managed to turn left into Raymond Street, the wrong way down a one way street, and saw the disappointed attackers (hi-jackers?) waiting for him on the next block. There were several attempts to rob me, fortunately I'd done karate, and can also put on a big act when necessary, and escaped them all. One asked me where my money was, I gazed all over, said the pet shop, Checkers, the pie shop, pretending to be thinking and he told me to 'shuttup'. I had three standing behind me with knives. Then I smiled and waved to a non-existent person at the top of the building and they ran away.
That was only a couple of instances. I was also held up with a gun in the cafe on the corner of Becker Street and Harrow Road, in a robbery. I got kicked into the storeroom with the rest of the people.
There were lots of incidents like that.

The rubbish, leftover food etc. was piled up on the pavement outside my windows in a heap far higher than I am, and it stank!
The rubbish truck that fetched it was an open truck, they had to pick it up with spades, and the workers put cloths around their faces. And they didn't fetch it too often either. If anyone put their rubbish out in bags, the bags were torn apart by 'schoolkids' hitting them with branches that had fallen off the big oak trees.

The 'schoolkids' took the bottles and other glass objects from the rubbish and threw them onto the road, breaking them all over. They also took the rocks that decorated the island in Harrow Road and threw them across Harrow Road regardless of the cars passing. I was surprised nobody ever got killed.
Toilet effluent was in the streets, sometimes right across, it couldn't even go down the drains, they were full of mielie skins. I sometimes had to go back and walk around the block to avoid it, after walking to the shops.

Because of the new 'inhabitants' of our building, the levies were never paid, so leaking pipes were left, The basement parking often being about two feet under water, I had to roll up my pants, take my shoes off and hope there was no broken glass under the dirty water. The garage was otherwise full of rats and flies. The lift stopped working, the whole place was falling to pieces, eventually the windows started getting broken. I believe they are almost all broken now. There was washing hanging everywhere.

It was always an old suburb, but clean and most of all, friendly.I loved the shops there, the Scottish butcher in Isipingo Street, the health shop in Rockey Street, chemist et al.
They all had to move. Some had burglar proofed their shops so securely that I felt terrified being locked outside among those locals until they opened the door. Eventually I had to drive to the edge of Observatory, and run up Rockey Street, felt my car and I were safer like that.
I am sorry that the people in Obervatory have had their homes ruined by what is so close to them. I knew a lot of people there, had lovely homes on big pieces of ground.

Sigh :(

Cry the beloved country. I hope the other towns are not following TOO closely behind the demise of this one.

I am a female BTW, and now living just outside of Jhb, I could see the place deteriorating for years, and gave up my job in town to work right next to Alex, felt far safer there until the riots started getting bad, then moved from there.

Anonymous said...

Oh what fond memories I have of the Picadilly Cinema on a Saturday morning and so many boys to share a movie with, it provided the excitement for the week way back in the mid-late sixties. I can remember the Indian tailor and the slot car racing, it was the place to hang out, but does anyone remember Yeoville Recreation Centre, another great hang-out for kids growing up, and then the swimming pool - we lived there during summer....halcyon days. I wonder if the Observatory is still operational! So sad......

Anonymous said...

What we are seeing here comes down to one word.
Respect.
Or lack of it.
A lack of respect for time.
For human life.
For the environment.
For law and order.
For hard work and endeavour.
For tradition.
For pubic opinion.
For possessions...
The list goes on.


And none of these are about previous disadvantages or lack of educational opportunities.
It's in in-built cultural reality.
And no, I'm not a racist in the least. I have a number of black business partners and friends.
I have simply made my observation over years and among all the different class groups and have yet to be proved wrong.

So very sad...

Anonymous said...

The Rockey/Raymond street corner building was Coffee Society (sp?) with Hendersons (sp?)upstairs for a spell.Mamas was at the base of a three to four storey block on the other end of the strip. And damn they did good jugs of sangria and snack pizza! ;)

Anonymous said...

" Anonymous said...

Were the locals chasing you ?"

Lol. A good friend, Eddie, used to run his piercing business in Yeoville until he finally got out a few years ago.

I remember visiting him then and having Nigies chasing me down the street to sell their wares. I got the feeling that they rob car drivers and try and sell drugs to bikers.

Jan van Tonder said...

Wow again! The mother of a good friend of mine had a hairdresser shop next to Mama's Pizzeria, and there's a picture of what it looks today....It's all so sad.

Like me and my family, the hairdresser lady moved back to Austria. I was born in South Africa, but I'm Austrian now. The South Africa I grew up in no longer exists, and nobody give me any Bullshit about Apartheid please.

Anonymous said...

as for certain comments made ie. good ridance to every one that has left...its a shame that you choose to stay and fight, for what I dont know, time to deal with the fact that your motherland has let you down, and no one intends to do anything about it...you will in time become another statistic... Im sure your LIFE is worth more than the hellhole in the pics...do some thing about it...while you can. Thanks for reminding me why I took my family and left.

Anonymous said...

JHB was a party capital,hillbrow,yeoville,berea.Looking at this devastation,no wonder they say its third world.By the way Apartheid in the past is the cause of all what you see.Had the then government educated the population equally,SA would have been the best conutry in the world.

What I see makes me sad,as most of my family are still in SA.

The situation will never change in this century.

Anonymous said...

What a shame,i remember going to the dolls house in louis botha ave then hitting the joll at Bella napoli nightclub in hillbrow.What a place it was,afterwards going to rocky street and having a irish coffee at midnight express.Who remembers evoid, the band playing at the chelsea hotel in hilbrow?in the early eighties.Those were the days, people hang on to those memories those at least will last forever.I have been living in wellington New zealand for going on six years now,and i know i cannot bring those days back again i am thankfull i can bring up my young daughter in peace and harmony ,knowing she will have a future.G-d help South africa,as i still love the country i can never live in her again.

fairwell

Leon (the kiwi)

Anonymous said...

I've read a few country saying that all countries have their no-go zones, true...
But who live in these areas and turn them the way they are ?

I live in France where there were only a few blacks and arabs until the 60's and the same problem happens here.
There are a lot of neighborhood, where old people remember living well until... until the blacks and arabs came and the more they arrived, the more the situation degenerated into violence, dirt leaving these places as no go zones.
Then they whine saying that white people and the gouvernement are guilty for not doing enough for them.
And worst is that as it's going, Europe could soon become a black and arab majority continent turned into third-world... Such a shame

Ian Fraser said...

That pic showing the corner Rockey and Raymond - isn't where Mama's was - that is where the old 'Black Sun' theatre was. (If my memory serves me right)

('Black Sun' was originally in Hillbow, cnr tudhope and olivia - then it moved there, to Rockey/Raymond.)
The theatre was upstairs, and it was a coffee place downstairs. It didn't last too long there.

Great pix. Sad to see what's happened there, but well done for documenting the suburb as it is. Any chance of having the option of larger pix?

best
Ian Fraser -
a former resident of Yeoville, from 1988 - 1998
www.ianfraserlive.com

Ian Fraser said...

Hi
your pic 'a shop in yeoville', shows the gate where Scandalo's greek restaurant was.
(Run by the owner of the Black Sun)
which was to the right, on the cnr of rockey/raymond.

The left doorway in the pic shows what used to be the entrance to Rumours jazz club.

(The 'harbour cafe' which became Tandoor, was immediately to the left of Rumours)

-Ian Fraser

Aaron Chaim said...

as an ex-yeoville boy living in London, I cry to see our old suburb in ruins. but i do remember when Yeoville Park was opened to nnon-whites in 1991, it already became a no go area, ditto mitchell park in berea and other places.
It may be a coincidence, but here too (London) whereever "black" people live, you see signs of degeneration.
Of course it may be the unequal education, even in Europe.

Anonymous said...

BORN AND RAISED THERE, DON'T CARE HW BAD IT IS, THERE IS NO PLACE LIKE HOME. WHY ONLY HAVE THE NEGATIVE PICS..?, AWUYEKE UK'PHAPHA !!

Anonymous said...

You people seem to forget that you used apartheid to steal from Africans to make yourselves rich, and then when you're actually forced to be democratic you take your money and run. Do you think it was the good ol' days for all the Africans that the apartheid government killed and oppressed?Black South Africans couldn't even own propery until the early 90's. If you'd actually try to have friendships with Africans, walk in the townships, and learn something, you might find that these people are full of life and spirit. South Africa was never your country. It's racists like yourselves that destroy cities, but now you pretend that your innocent. Y'all absolutely disgust me. I bet you don't have the balls to post this comment. That's why your under the impression that everyone agrees with you.

Paul said...

I can't believe it, time flies I know and i have been back home far too infrequently and when I have gone back I haven't been back to rocky street but I have some wonderful memories of the restaurants and times there. Some may be a bit hazy due to over indulgence but it doesnt look anything like the image in my memory.

In a way I am sorry to have seen these images, on the other hand it helps to set my mind at ease that I made the correct decision to leave.

Very sad though!

Anonymous said...

Yah sure - just blame apartheid, you goon... Oh wait - you have had a Majority "Guvvermint" now since 1994, haven't you? Isn't it time to start looking for something else to blame?

Someone - Winston Churchill perhaps? - once said that "One measure of a Man's Civilization is the Distance he puts between himself and his Excrement"... You still have a ways to go, my bra....

daniel bloch said...

I used to get my hair cut by an italian guy in yeouville as a kid and next door there was a great tropical fish store! i wonder what happened? wow

TP-2005 said...

referring to Big Joe's comment: until we closed it down in 1988 ... i think it was 1998. i left South Africa in 1995 after having lived there for 13 years and i became a regular at Mamma's in the mid 80s through some friends of mine. i had one of my last meals with Diane, another regular customer, at Mamma's, and that was at the end of March '95. i also used to go there frequently with Willi, a well-known person in the area who worked as a waiter at the Bar of the Hotel Braamfontein. he was originally from Venda. apparently he died after an accident many years ago. we used to watch boxing games sometimes at his flat on Becker Street. he had taken over the flat from another friend.

enough for today.

best wishes
tom.paine

Anonymous said...

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.)

Some background. Originally this was the site of "The Black Sun". A small theatre upstairs and a cafe downstairs where experimental theatre took place. It fell into direpair and became "cafe society". A place where ant-apartheid activisis, journalists and the hip crowd hung out during the late 80's early 90's. When this "enterprise" peretered out my wife and I ran the place as a Christian Mission / outreach to drug dealers and addicts. We called the place "Narnia" abd ran it under the ubrella of "Lighthouse on the Rock ministries". Free coffee and snacks with live music downstairs and upstairs in the old theatre on Friday and Saturday nights. We left Yeoville in 1998 for the UK as part of the white exodus of Yeavill and left the place in the hands of Rhema Ministries.

Mamma's was about two blocks closer to Harrow road. The best pizza in the world !

Anonymous said...

"That pic showing the corner Rockey and Raymond - isn't where Mama's was - that is where the old 'Black Sun' theatre was. (If my memory serves me right)

('Black Sun' was originally in Hillbow, cnr tudhope and olivia - then it moved there, to Rockey/Raymond.)
The theatre was upstairs, and it was a coffee place downstairs. It didn't last too long there.
"

Quite right too. The Black Sun became "Cafe Society" where bohemian activists and journo's used to hang out. That didn't last too long either. My wife and I then ran a Free coffe house / Christian ministy called Narnia from there for a couple of years with live music on a Friday and saturday night. We left in 1998 for the UK and left the place in the hands of Rhema ministries.

Anonymous said...

I REMEMBER TANDOOR AND TALKING HEADS,THOSE WHERE THE DAYS,MY NAME IS MARK MCCUAIG I LIVE IN THE US ANYONE WHO KNOWS ME MY EMAIL IS MARK46C@HOTMAIL.COM.RIPLES WAS HOT,REMEMBER BA PITA I WAS THE BIRDMAN MASCOT FOR THE SHANTIES69ERS,AND POPS,LIVED ON BECKER STREET DOWN BY DELARY IN THE 80STS,SAD TO SEE IT NOW MAKES ME CRY AS YEOVILLE WAS MTHE HOTTEST SPOT AFTER HILLBROW,LEFT SOUTH AFRICA IN FEB97,IT WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN.HOW COULD THEY LET YEOVILLE GO TO HELL WHEN PEOPLE FROM AROUND THE WORLD WOULD COME,LOTS OF COFFEE SHOP,THE BEST JAZZ,THEN OFF COURSE WHO COULD FORGET BLACK STEER,THE BEST RIBS EVER DOUWN ON LOUI BOTHA AVE,`ANTWAY IF ANY BODY REMEMBER ME PLEASE EMAIL ME.RIP YEOVILLE

Mark said...

Unbeleveable!

Anonymous said...

I lived in Hunter street from 1980-83 before moving to brackendowns near alberton. I was also a member of lodge cairngorm 1539 which was in the area and played golf at observatory. These photos disgust me, what a fantastic area ruined by the locals????

Anonymous said...

The pictures on "A Visit to Yeoville"are mainly pictures of Bellevue not Yeoville,Yeoville is the stretch from Harrow Road to Cavedish Street (travelling from west to east and from Louis Botha Avenue up the hill to Harley or Hendon rd,(travelling from North to South)
I grew up in Yeoville from 1950 to 1968,(before the Rockey stret era)where I knew every nook and cranny of Yeoville especially all the shops in Raleigh stret which then becomes Rockey St (Bellevue)
Went to Yeoville Boys School ,wonderful place to live ....SHAME whta happened there now ,Foytog!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hello RR, you are a saint but also a messenger bearing bad tidings...I lived just off the corner of raymond and Rockey and that restaurant was not mama's -- mama's was on the corner of Rockey and Cavendish, one block west towards hillbrow but I was in that club/ restaurant one late night/early morning when one of the local maphiosa, who wanted to run all the clubs for himself -- can't remember his name but he wore a wig and one ear was burnt off!! Anyway, his thugs closed us in and they fired shots through the windows -- yeoville police, who were on his payroll just sat back and watched it all! His name might have been Julio and he carried a sawn off shotgun. But I cry for the loss of my Yeoville lifestyle..I have not found the like anywhere else in the world but i still will not return to SA.. it is too sad..Cry indeed my Beloved Country from Penny putty.penny@virgin.net RR you should be given a medal for your work!

HWChan said...

What a horrible shame. I worked in Yeoville in 95/96 and use to have lunch and coffee on Rocky St. I loved this neighbourhood. My bank, supermarket and used book stores were all within walk distance. In addition, there was a well groomed park close by where I use to make out with my American girlfriend. Betcha non of this is still around.

Anonymous said...

Great blog. Well done. I am there in three weeks and will take more piccies. I lived in Hillbrow, Observatory and Yeoville (between 1956 and 1985), went to KEPS and KES and then left in 1985 to become a pom... where ther is 9 months of rain and 3 months of shite weather.

I can add...

Mamas Pizzeria was cnr Rocky Str & Cavendish Road at until 1985! It was opposite Scotch Corner (clothing and haberdahery).

Going east along the one-way of Rocky street, Rumours restuarant (200yds) was on the RHS next to an upholstery shop called Lapas where a seamstress moonlighted as a ho! Next door was a fish & chip shop and barber called Jorries. Opposite was Bellevue Paint & Hardware and just east of another barber. Going further east to Raymond Street juction was a tailor on corner LHS. Further down on RHS was an ice cream shop and beyond that on cnr Bezuidenhout was a Kentucky Chicken, BP Garage, bottle store and Norana Bakery (great fresh bread.) Above Norana Bakery was a photographer whose very attractivce and sexy assistant, old enough to be my mother, beacame the source of my adolescent fantasies! Turning right (south) down Bezuidenhout were shops including a Steers fast food, Fruit & Veg Store, Dry cleaners and Cafe. Above these were offices including a place selling Swazi (mantenga) carpets.

Anonymous said...

I planned to retire in Bellevue next to Yeoville so in the nineties I purchased a lovely flat around here. As the following years vent by, I realised, that it was a fatal mistake. Today I living behind barbed vires, my neghbours are from the troubled countries around SA. Thanks God I'm still alive, survived varieous robbing, burglary attempts. My partner came home many times without purse, cellphone, jewellery. Last time even her shoes went to the regular muggers around our corner. Case number? Follow up? It's a joke! Our police (most of it) is busy to collect te R30-200 from the "makwerekwere's". Fridays is shopping time for the Metro's, for the weekend needs they confiscating groceries from the illegal street vendors. The most bizarre lately, that our local goverment spending millions to change the pavements, lot of detour, flagwaving is the results. The work(?)force is just hanging around. The blackmarket is flourishing for cement, bricks and tools. They ringing my bell to offer this things. A bag of cement is going for half price, the Checkers trolley is free with any purchase.
So, I have the choice to laugh, cry, wonder, or just close my eyes?

Anonymous said...

115 years to make 20 years to break
Scotland cold but safe

Anonymous said...

What i saw was absolutely shocking but i was not surprised. Check the site out MR. PRESIDENT and you will see why so many BLACK AND WHITE South Africans are leaving this country.

Mario Adamo

Anonymous said...

blacks are by far the worst race on earth.. whatever they lay they hands on is destroyed

lilly poo said...

holy shit my grandma lives in yeoville....
i hope she finally leaves that hole and comes to live with us here in nz.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the corner of Rockey and Raymond was Coffee Society, and upstairs was at least briefly the Black Sun. Mama's was further west, across from Scotch COrner and the Standard Bank.

I remember Coffee Society well, I met my husband there.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone who has posted on this blog know the line from Marx which goes: "All That's Solid Melts into Air ..." Nothing lasts forever, not the whiteness of your skins, not the places you've escaped to across the world with some of the resources that could have been used to build many more streets like Rocky, full of life and pleasure, without the taint of racial narrowmindedness that was a seething presence in your pretence of art and bohemian lifestyle. Yes, as we see with the state of some of richest economies today, all will crumble to dust around your small and bigoted brains. Where will you run to then?

Anonymous said...

I used to live in Francis street Yeoville in 1967 -68before moving up town to Hillbrow Goldreich street. amazing what independance has done and what its allowed to be done. to be honest in my time there was quite a bit of white trash and now plenty ogf black trash the difference being what you are prepared to put up with! Well good luck South Africa may I salute your liberal ways!

Anonymous said...

Oh my God!!!
if this is how we celebrate our democratic land - then i would rather prefer not to be part of it,this is disgusting and demoralising the black community at large.to my knowing freedom means:avail yourself for opportunities that were not there before,let your dreams come true,do positive things practically,implement that knowledge/skills.it did not mean that we are free to vandalise,this is scary when i think back how these places used to look,to me Alexandra looks more like a surburb compared to what i see here.
next time be very careful when you go to places like this.

Anonymous said...

returned to joburg in 2006 after 18 years away blown away by the degradation of the city was told Yeoville ,Hillbrow ,Berea where no go areas so stayed away but managed to drive past and see where we used to live Rose Barn Court,Muller Street from 1968-1978.Many fond memories of all the places mentioned in the other posts.

Anonymous said...

OHHH MY FUCKINGOD...maaannn... I'm in fuckin tears here!!!!surely thats gotta be nigeria somewhere?...NO?.... thought not... Rocky street was such a groove man....sorry... cant carry on.gonna go & have a proper cry!!!!! (I love the " why could'nt I see the water tower-) cos it's been fuckin SCALED CHIHNNAA!!!.....Have such good memories of trawling through Hillbrow Record & Look & Listen for imports... the Fish Hook and Fontana Bakery for munchies

Anonymous said...

man!! i used to live in yeoville in the 90's and i have been back a couple of times since i left and it has changed more and more each time! SCARY!

cristina freixo said...

in 80's mama's spesatino and with her white soks....nearby cloiseaus bar and.....left sa in 1989...i couldn't believe when i saw this photos....shame...
why not return and make it again?...

Anonymous said...

Oh God almighty, your blog made me cry seeing those pictures of what came out of my neighborhood.
I grew up in the 70th in the Jewish community of Yeoville. Even though it was never a rich community I loved the neighborhood the buildings the homes the stores the Supermarkets like OK Bazaar, the park .
I still miss it 30 years later.

Anonymous said...

What the HELL is HELL doing there?

Anonymous said...

I have given my life to alleviate the sufferings of Africa. There is something that all white men must learn and know, as i have, that these individuals are a sub race. They have neither the intellectual, mental or emotional abilities to equate or to share equally with white men in any of the functions of our society or civilisation. I have given my life to try and bring unto them the advantages which our civilisation must offer, but I have become well aware that we must retain this status - white the superior, and they, the inferior. For whenever a white man seeks to live among them as their equal they will either destroy him or devour him, and they will destroy all his work. And so far any existing relationship, or any benefit to his people, let white men from anywhere in this world, who would come to help Africa, must remember to always maintain this status - your the master and they the inferior, like children that you help to teach. Never fraternise with them as equals, never accept them as your social equals, or they will devour you, they will destroy you.
Dr. Albert Schweitzr 1966.

AM said...

To all those righteous whities and blacks using the race card, try using anger for a change. Yeah, that's right anger. I was one of those liberals back in the seventies that fought side by side next to the blacks for their freedom and standing up against the white 'racist' government.So excuse me for my anger, angry because I have seen my fellow south africans systematically murdered,raped,robbed in their homes-angry for seeing my country that I was born in raped and reduced to some back street of Liberia,angry for seeing that the so called government I elected in the name of democracy cannot protect its citizens and to date still think that our crime can be controlled,angry at seeing my friends daughters raped under the pretence that it will cure AIDS. So all ye that think you are righteous,excuse me for MY emotion as I too love South Africa only to see it going down the gutter.And no I'm NOT white!!!!

Anonymous said...

eddie says. To the darkie that quotes Marx, your question, where will you run to then,To where you will without fail follow. Whitey does muntu sees, muntu does, albeate only not as good.Who taught you to read? the illiterate whites?

Teresa said...

This used to be my playground. I am a 38 year old woman, and until about 5 years ago, I used to go to Bellevue every week to visit my parents. Eventually it was just too dangerous, so they sold their house and moved to Benoni. I often still drive through Bellevue, but I try not to drive what once was my home, because it breaks my heart to do so. Last night I sat crying in bed, as I remembered the house I grew up in - room by room I scrutinised the house in my memories - the smells, the happy memories. To think that the officials of Johannesburg did not stop the rot. Some such as Martin Sweet tried, but to no avail. It has nothing to do with the immigrants and poor people, and everything to do with bad administration and greedy landlords. After all we were immigrants - children of artisans and Europeans who had come to find a better life - most of our parents were children of peasants.Its so very sad that the children that live there today cannot have the same happy upbringing i had - eventhough the facilities and amenities exist all round.

Anonymous said...

I am so saddened by this, and as I (an expat) who lives in chilly London can honestly say I swapped the sunshine for safety.

Does anyone remember Rocky 24? Or Rockerfellers..we'd go there after Idols on a Saturday night and eat lunch in the sun. I remember the Rockey St carnival or street parade, whatever it was called...such a good time, no drama, no crime. I would drive there alone from my home in Randburg to meet friends. Never once did I fear for my life. If I ever went back, it would be with an armoured car and body guards. Such a damned shame.

Invictus said...

Mama's was on the corner of Cavendish and Rockey. I lived in Becker St. Queens Castle, between Cavendish and Bezuidenhout for twenty years, until the dis-advantaged,Nigrescent, Indigenous Gentlemen? started infiltrating. How come a suburb can be so completely destroyed in such a short time?

JR said...

I taught at Yeoville Boys' from 1979 to 1997 and it was the best years of my teaching career. Cannot believe it is the same place!

wlbIII said...

Looks like downtown Detroit-out of control.

Ian said...

I was born and raised on Dunbar Street in the 80's and revisited the area in 2006. It truely was a crying shame to see. What a disaster!

Anonymous said...

It needs more updates and photos, Joburg is now 100% worse than it was when these photos were taken. The ANC has no bloody idea how to run a country they think the word is called ruin. Filth and more filth, The fat cats sit in their offices eating bloody cake while the place is fallen to pieces, They jave defrauded every coffer dry. For those who took the Chicken run 16 years ago, jolly good show. you must feel like price roosters by now wish I had a way out of it. Rusty

Anonymous said...

Hallo everyone,

I quite enjoyed reading all the comments and that some of you are well and happy where you are now.

Nice to hear from Joe(Mamas) that he and Mama etc. are still alive and well.
Food was always good.
We where customers as well.

Just for anyone who wants to maybe know:

Corner Rocky and Raymond

Club Martinique
than sold by me to the Greek from Scandalos who ran it as the Black-Sun
the Greek sold or hired the place out for the Christian Coffee Shop

Thanks that you still have good memories of when I(we) had the place, great that some relations came out of it - hope I(we)did something good during that time.

We left South Africa - when we where confronted by gunpoint
to either sign over our transport company to 5 of our employees or they would kill our children.

You remember me(us) and like to contact me(us) -
K_Schoenfeldt@yahoo.de

I pray to god and hope that this country will find peace, fairness to all and become the great country for all and which every one would like to see - so we can come back to our home and to one of the most beautiful country in the world.

Regards
Karin Schoenfeldt

Anonymous said...

I grew up between Berea, Bellevue East and Yeoville. Attended school at JGPS.
I was thinking about showing my husband my old house there, but it is not possible now. It makes me sad and angry to see what has happened to my neighborhood.

Does anyone know if Mamma's relocated elsewhere in SA? If so, where?

Anonymous said...

MAN FUCK THE WHITE SOCIETY THEY SHOULD JUST LEAVE AFRICA AND GO WHO KNOWS WHERE THEY ARE ORIGINALLY FROM 99% OF WHITE PEOPLE ARE GAY AND DO DRUGS ...SO WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY DOING IN A BLACK MAN SOCIETY ....

pat said...

Whatever happended to "Rumours" nightclub which, if my memory serves me correctly, was in Rockey Street? I believe it was owned by a guy that used to play sax in a 60's band. The band had a hit with "Spinning Wheel". Too long ago to remember the band's name.

Great all night venue with the whose who of the Jo'burg entertainment world pitching up to boogey the night away. I remember some great all nights (and early mornings there!)

Anonymous said...

I ate many a great pitza with good friends "calzoni" was the name of the special at Mamas Pitzas. We had a ball and laughed with ease. No hassles. As much food and wine as you required whenever. We lived in a commune in Parktown called The Wildwest. That was the late ateys... ! Must be true what they say... Dust to dust...

dengosha said...

I was born at 4 Rockey Street in Yeoville. I left South Africa and went to Australia, Sydney, in 1957. Prior to leaving we stayed at the Stephanie Hotel--does anyone have a photo of the Stephanie? I am writing a book about South Africa--about a young boy who grows up in Joburg and his experiences there. I need photos of places like the Bughouse, Picaddily Theater and such--prefer that the photos are prior to all the crazed destruction. Thanks Dengosha

chris lessing said...

goodness me.What a mess..I lived in Dunbar st.until moving to Kimberley in 1966.I went to yeoville boys and later K.E.S.I was an alterboy at St.Aidens church.Yeoville/Bellvue was a great and healthy place to grow up.I was also a boyscout at St.Aidens scout troop.Soooooooo sad that the area has been wrecked.The new S.A.

Patsy Dunn said...

I had a photographic studio in Yeoville on Rockey Street (above the Standard Bank and opposite O.K. Bazaars). My heart breaks to see what has become of this incredible, bohemian neighborhood. I think I experienced it when it was at it's best. I had heard of how much it has deteriorated but I had no idea how much.

Anonymous said...

How very sad, weep the beloved country!

Anonymous said...

Hi you have a photo of a shop on the corner of Rocky and Raymond Street in Yeoville whish one of your readers said is the old site of Mamas. I can confirm that a friend of mines parents use to own Mamas which was on the corner of Rocky and Cavendish Street.
The shop in question on Raymond Street was called "Rumours".

Anonymous said...

The opening photograph is the front of the building my father had built.Our family lived upstairs.
This is shocking beyond belief.
It makes one have second thoughts about visiting one's childhood memories.

Marcel said...

In August 1994 I took some pictures of Yeoville and Bellevue, and today I posted them on Panoramio, linking them to Google StreetView and Google Earth.

On my Panoramio page I can show you the picture of Mamma's La Lanterna Place in Rockey Street, with - ominously - the last N about to fall off.

Click here for the picture: http://www.panoramio.com/photo/73033203

For more pictures of Region 8 in 1994 and 1996, as well as other pictures of South Africa in the nineties, you can browse through the other pictures here: http://www.panoramio.com/user/4617582?with_photo_id=73033203.

Today, June 5th 2012, these pictures are the first ones to see as you visit the photo collection. Later on, these pages may be older and therefore to be found on pages composed further back into time.

Alex Hutchison said...

I stayed at a hostel in Yeoville near Rocky Street in 1995 that was recommended by locals. It had a pool and with a bar and private rooms next to it. There was a great nite club called the Tandoor. It had a lounge on the roof with no guard rails. There was a great juice bar in the front that sold a drink called a Bombay Crush. It was the friendliest place in the world. People would say hi as you walked down the street.

Anonymous said...

When living in Yeoville, we (my wife and I) frequented the Kentucky in Rocky Street, Yeoville in your pic. Once somebody put graffiti on the wall in your pic : "Die hemel help ons" - was there for more than a year. How prophetic!!

Anonymous said...

I was in Yeoville in 1992. I remember eating falafel in Rocky street. Anyone remember the exact adress?

Anonymous said...

wow..life is valuable..glad my kids were born in the u.k..i loved south africa growing up but soooo glad im gone...ill probably get traitor mail or im glad another white has left....so be it...u still live in a shithole deluded because you can braai in the sunshine.how can anyone with kids be so deluded that its a great country and safe for them.sure bad things can happen abroad too but not to the extent or brutality in africa.so good ridens s.a..memories are what ill e
take my white ass to europe with ....guess what..my doors unlocked...i can walk in the city centre after dark..i can put my son on a bus and not worry (yes ...public transport)

Anonymous said...

Never trust white people. The prime directive of those mutants is to deceive the world and maintain their inferior genetic strain at all costs. That is the real reason for stem cell research and cloning, white people cannot reproduce themselves efficiently like normal black people so they need extra help like cloning, stem cell research and surrogate mothers. In many parts of the world, white people cannot carry their unborn children to full term because they are victimized by photolysis. Solar radiation depleting their foliate levels keeping cell replication difficult or impossible. So what do they do? Find black women or Indian women or other women of color to carry their children to term for them. White people are unnatural genetic defects and freaks of nature who cannot function as normal human beings. They should not even exist within the context that we understand them and they certainly should not be ruling over their black genetic parents. Once you understand these key concepts, you are well on your way to understanding what white people are hiding from you, that you should know.

Anonymous said...

To All the racist whites talking trash, voetsek, and f_ck ya'll. This problem is not a race problem, but rather a problem of lower class disadvanteged people (and amoung them dirt poor whites, ja). When U ran for the hills back then, did U expect the town to stand abandoned as a ghost town?? You left and gave way for poor to poor people who have no knowledge of taking care of buildings and all that stuff. I'm talking kak now, but what I am saying is that everyone is to blame, the ppl who ran (those who have no intention of intergrating, stay where you are), the gov and all those who directly and indirectly trashed these places.

Now, I am a student studying at UJ, and I stay at Mariston Hotel (now Gateway Lodging), this place has held its ground due to the owners who ddnt run with tails in between their legs, it provides afordable accomodation for students and proffesionals alike. There are also various people investing in the city along with the Urban regeneration program. Jozi can be returned to what is was, and even better, its takes a collective effort. Look at places like ponte and end street 120, these places are an example of how jozi can be brought back to life, it jst needs progressive thinking, not backwards racism and blame.

Instead of commenting from ur surburds or from beyond the african shoes, come to town, meet the people, look at the building, invest, live here, spark change. I'll even offer you a free tour into these dangerous places, bring your gun if U wanna feel safe. Viva mzanzi, let's find unity throught diversity, now and forever.

darwinchauke@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

WTF?...you people are putting the fall of Yeoville on the black South African. First of all 80% of Yeoville residents are non South Africans even though black, they come from all around Africa because of the opportunities that a white person portrayed to them.Yes you are the greener pastures they came looking for. A Zimbabwean who came here, got a job for half the decent salary brings 3 more Zimbabweans whom also bring their own....it still continues
A Nigerian brother leaves Nigeria with only one goal in mind, not even a skill for that matter. The goal is to make quick cash "hustling the street" which all it means is "drug dealing". Now who is the customer?, a white guy...yes you.
So now you people drew all these people from their countries to blame the results on the poor black South African!
A black South African man belongs in the township, thats where he has been his whole life, not the surburb that is Yeoville in this case. So since all this is blamed on him...who is getting the credit for all the developments going around in the township, is it the white dude? I didnt think so too.
Go and have a look at where the black guy calls home, it looks like Yeoville in your days after that point that finger at the right direction.

You people made a mess of your own neighborhood and fled, whereas the township is getting higher standards.
It is now the duty of people like us who have to clean what you created.
I choose to stay in the shit place you created, not being as much of a corward as you are...reason is to get it into the shape you all liked, not going to happen overnight but will happen.

Anonymous said...

Any one play league Table Tennis at the Yeoville Recreation Center? I used to live in Bez. Valley and come to the Rec. Center 3 times a week at night for practice and league games. Neve felt threatened or scared. Also used to swim at the pool when I was young

Anonymous said...

I AM SORRY TO BRING MORE BAD NEWS BUT MELVILLE HAS ALSO FALLEN! All the students flood down in the evening shootings fights drugs. they even set fire to a few of the shops.
So the next generation moves on to find a new happy place only to be followed by the scum!

Anonymous said...

JOHANNESBURG looks a lot like Detroit and Haiti...

Anonymous said...

I used to live in Dunbar street back in 1975-78. I remember a lush green suburbd, clean houses, clean roads. And of course all of Yeoville, where I went to school In Barnato Park. My friends and I used to walk around Hillbrow and Yeoville and all around. I dont care if white or blacks live there, but I wish they were more considerate of their enviroment. It really pains me to see all the dirt and delapidation of Johannesburg. And for those who argue about whether its better for whites to leave SA, or not, I still remember the words of an old african maid we had: SA will be gone when the white people move out. She was 67 back then the most mellow and kind person I have ever met. Linda, I miss you still. May God rest your soul.

Rochelle Redgard said...

hi
i am doing research on Yoeville in 1986. I have to reconstruct one of the uses and your images are helping a lot.

The house in your blog on Lower Rockey Street.
Is the remain of a house that would have been around during the 1980's?
regards
rochelle

Anonymous said...

I'm a black South African from Durban KwaZulu-Natal. It's true Johannesburg is very hectic and filthy. Too many people can't breathe ....

HAMEED khan said...

This things is so nice so sweet,
Africa real estate

Anonymous said...

falafel at Bapita, I worked there.

Anonymous said...

Just wondering if anyone remembers the name of the performance poet who used to appear at Rumours on Rockey Street in the 1980's.

Kristina H said...

Thank you so much for your blog. It is an absolutely beautiful disaster.

Anonymous said...

As an Asian who has lived in quite a few cities across three continents, I can safely say that having a black population will inexorably lead to higher rates of crime, squalour and urban decay, to name a few. There is a great deal of evidence to substantiate this claim and it is not racist to say so. It is the way it is, whether it is Europe, the US, or parts of Asia where they have pockets of blacks. I wish it were not so and that we could all be the same regardless of colour but that is a pipe dream. Blacks have demonstrated time and time again that their presence is destructive to society and that is why Asians abhor living next to and mixing with blacks, especially if they can help it.

The change must come from blacks themselves and there are enough resources to enable them to do so but the willingness has to be present, as well as the need for self-criticism and constant improvement. To those here who say that it is a black-white thing, they have no idea what non-whites think of blacks. If you thought whites were racist, I'm afraid billions of Asians, Arabs and muslims will have a surprise for you. We want a prosperous, crime-free society for our kids and having blacks around in large numbers will not help.

Drmwvr said...

this really created an interesting forum for discussion...the reality is separate nostalgia from reality and the poor suffer... assist those less fortunate...as poverty creates crime...feed thine own...

natasha johannes said...

I lived and loved yeoville one apon a time in my life....I can honestly say that the streets of yeoville made me the woman that I am today. I left high school (cape town ) in 1998 and literally grew up on the streets of Yeoville. It taught me how to be loved...and share love. It showed me friendship, trust, loyalty and just what it felt like to be free...and happy in your own skin. going through these pics...it ripped my hart out of my chest. I have the most beautiful memories on those streets... with my crew...Ananda, Val, Chantell, Allison, Sweety, Eugene Paramoer, Jean Booysen, Gail Reagon...and many more,,, you all taught me valuable lessons....thank you . Natasha call me on 071 791 6656 should any of you want to reminisce...