Horribly lost in the not-so-nice areas of town, we walked (and then ran) to meet up with the Past Experiences tour group at Park Station. Off we went with a family, a couple of twenty somethings, two women in their forties and our guide.
These tours are intended to leave Joburgers with the desire and knowledge to become inner city explorers without clinging to a group.
Passers by mistook us for tourists. We were fist bumped and pointed at from taxis - the passengers gave us those friendly waves reserved only for people who are not from around here. Granted, we did look a bit out of place.
We spent two hours walking the streets, avoiding manholes, dead locusts and stopping for historical tidbits. Jo, our guide, touched on Adam Levy's upliftment project. With The Alex Theatre, Randlords and a whole bunch of other buildings under his belt, the transformation of not-so-nice to goddamn-I'll-come-back-here is well under way.
We passed The Grove square, which Velo, Ramen and The Lamunu Hotel all share. A big screen TV is smack bang in the middle and apparently often attracts pyjama-clad students who want to catch weekend games.
Our attention was drawn to public art pieces - everything from Newtown's eland statue to walls adorned with graffiti by and steel carved trees, which would probably have gone unnoticed had we been in our normal form of transport.
Jo set us free after two hours to go on our own missions. Some headed to The Origin Centre at WITS, some Kitcheners. We decided to hit Neighbourgoods for some daytime shopping and finished the day off on the rooftop, braving the cold and sipping on frozen cocktails.
Photographs by Daniel Treves.
by Nicole Samakosky