Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Back to the future. I visit the Johannesburg Civic Centre.

Travel & Things is not always on trips out of Johannesburg.
Occasionally I venture into parts of our city that I have no
 been to since I lived in the middle of town back in 1976.
Such a visit took place recently when I visited 
the Civic Centre and the surrounding buildings.

The building was opened back in 1972,
but very little seems to be known about who the architects were,
who built it or if there have been any major changes in the past 47 years.
And given the levels of corruption currently being exposed,
I wonder how often this box has been used...

The building is a monolithic tribute to an era of architecture
where Government buildings were designed to dominate the skyline.
It was not about the aesthetic, but more about an embodiment of power.

The early morning sunlight casts interesting shadows between the pillars
of walkways that connect various parts of the building.
And although it looks deserted,many people use this as a through-way
from Hillbrow to Braamfontein.

There is an outdoor gym situated in the grounds.
Built on artificial grass, it serves both adults and children.

This abandoned artwork (in the style of Gordon Froud)
lies alongside the pathway that runs from the Ria Vaya bus-stop
to the entrance of the Civic building.
There is no plaque to tell passersby who the artist might be
and I have to believe that it is too heavy to be removed
and sold off for scrap...a fate that has befallen many
 of the statues in the area.

Looking towards downtown Johannesburg as the sun creeps higher.
In this light,the buildings,many of which are in a state of disrepair, 
do not show of their cracks and general lack of maintenance
in the harsh light.

At least the art work on the side of the Rea Vaya bus stop
has not been vandalized or sprayed with graffiti.
This rapid transit service runs throughout central Johannesburg 
and as far as Soweto, was opened in 2009.
The one disconcerting note is that the traffic in the area
 seemed to ignore both the pedestrian crossings and the traffic lights!
And that makes crossing 4 lanes of traffic a daunting task.

This rather imposing statue can be found outside 
what used to be known as the Civic Theatre.
The group of four theaters was built in 1962,
refurbished in the late '80's and re-opened in the early '90's
Re-branded in 2009 it is now known as the Joburg Theatre, 
and is home to many local
as well as international productions.

"Reflections"
I wondered what goes on behind theses closed windows.
This is the headquarters of one of South Africa's largest trade unions

I stopped to chat to Kabelo who was setting up shop.
He was hoping to sell his scones and soft drinks to the people
that were walking to work.

This might look like a crushed can of some description.
but it seems to be the remains of a pole that was cut
and the remnants subjected to the pressure thousands of tires
that enter and exit the car park it once guarded.

The person walking through the pillars gives a perspective
of how huge the building actually is.

In theory, this might have been a good idea.
But the filth that lies close by shows how society as a whole 
is both wasteful and disrespectful of their surroundings. 

Near the corner that leads to Constitution Hill
where the Constitutional Court as well
 as the Women's Jail are situated.
The former is the highest court in South Africa,
the latter was home to many activists and "enemies of the State".

The door of that guards the entrance of the jail.
Although a tourist destination. I was there at 07h00
and it only opens to the public at 09h00.

The anarchic window opener...
there is always one!
The Civic Centre building has hundreds of windows.
If each office has three windows, then you can do the math
as to how many offices there actually are.
But are they all occupied? 
And if so, how many people actually work here?

I noticed this on a door on the 2nd floor.
Surely they are aware that South Africa is currently preparing
for the 2019 General Elections?

Aside from the office that I went to opening 10 minutes later than expected,
the staff that I interacted with were pleasant and efficient.
Not at all what I was expecting, 
as I had been told that the queue could be horrendous...
But as can be seen from the photograph, 
there was not a soul to be seen.
In and out in less that 10 minutes!

Time to take the stairs as the elevators seemed to have a mind of their own.
Over the almost half a century that the building has been occupied,
I wonder how many feet have trod this stairwell...
Actual time from leaving home to completing my business:
Two hours
Actual time in front of staff:
5 minutes
Overall experience:
Timeless!


 

The latest addition to my sponsors list...
The Olight SRS2UT Intimidator.
Marketed locally by:

My camera brand of choice for more than 4 decades!
Photo:

Photo:
When it is time to print out my special images,
this is the company that I rely on to do that.

Bush gear to make me blend in...
in comfort and style.


I have worn these shoes in the jungles of India
and on the beaches of Croatia.
Not to mention, many game reserves in Africa.
They are probably the most comfortable pair of shoes
that I have ever owned.

Photo:
When I get home. I rely on this ISP
to provide me with high speed fibre connectivity 
to enable me to get my postings published in record time.

Photo:
This powerbank is my constant companion
 while I am travelling.
It can do up to 4 full re-charges of my phone before
needing to be charged.
Supplied by...


When offered an option...
ALWAYS be Batman.
The newest of my travelling companions.
To find out more about the collectible Funko range of figurines,
visit:

My new addition, this awesome laptop bag from Solo.
Padded for protection and with enough pockets to keep
almost everything INCLUDING the kitchen sink in,
this is definitely an stylish addition to any business presentation.
Be it in the boardroom or the bush.
This bag can also be worn as a backpack. 
There are straps in a hidden compartment that can be deployed
when you need both hands for other purposes.
To find out more about the stylish Solo range,
visit:


A new "tool" in my camera bag.
This locally made product was indispensable when using a long lens.
The ball and socket might look simple...and it is, 
which is why it should be in the gear bag of every serious photographer.
This locally made, deceptively simple device is ideal 
for tracking birds in flight or animals in motion.
The base can be used on a beanbag or a tripod,
with the ball being fitted to the camera.
The simplicity of the device allows to to move from supported
to hand held in a fluid motion.
There is also a version that can be used on a car window.
To see more about the product, 
visit their Facebook page:
Or order directly from:





All images are the copyright property of
  
and may not be used without permission

No comments: