I’m going to try and give this a bash, have been nagged on many occasions to start a blog. (You know who you are).
I’ve set myself a goal for 2018 and that is to try and find special places, interesting facts, special people who live in each and every suburb of the greater Johannesburg. Have you any idea how many suburbs there are? About 80 plus and that’s not including the townships which I hope to do as well.
If you live in a suburb of Joburg and have something interesting to share please drop me a line.
Johannesburg is known to be the biggest man made urban forest in the world – accordinging to the City of Johannesburg website there are 1.2 million trees within parks and on pavements and an estimated 4.8 million trees in private gardens. One does have to wonder who was given the task to go out and count them all.
Getting back to me and tree hugging – I’ve always felt a connection to these majestic and sometimes fragile trees that we share our space on planet Earth with. Something stirs inside of me making me happy when I hug a tree…or sit under a tree…or admire a tree…or hear the crunch of their leaves under my feet in Autumn…or gaze at their bare silhouettes in Winter whilst collecting seed pods with which to create a land art piece sometime in the future…and then get all excited as the first buds appear in Spring, which will bring admiration from me for those that will put on a colour display of flowers in Summer.
I love the feeling of protectiveness one gets when escaping the harsh sun, trying to stay dry in a rain shower or seeing eggs or babies in a nest that the birds have built in a tree, or the cat that found safety in its branches after being chased by a dog.
For all the above reasons I HUG TREES, it’s a way of saying “I love you, admire you and Thank You.
If you ever have to remove a tree, which sometimes is necessary plant another one. Let’s maintain our status of the biggest man made urban forest in the world.
This is the first in a series of blogs about Johannesburg suburbs wherein I wish to hopefully establish some places of interest. I wanted to start with Cyrildene as this was where my family set up home in Johannesburg, when we moved from Kimberley.
I loved Cyrildene then as we were close to so many amenities; we played down at the Jukskei river which divides Cyrildene from Bezuidenhout Valley, we learned to ride horses in Bedfordview, played and swam at Rhodes Park which is situated in Kensington and climbed koppies at Gillooly’s. We caught the number 22 bus to school or to watch a movie at the Piccadilly in Yeoville, sometimes even walking home from there. Cyrildene in those days was predominantly a Jewish community and I can clearly remember the Kosher foods that were available – baked cheesecake, cheese blitzes, rollmops, bagels and the like.
I still love Cyrildene but for many different reasons now – the fresh veggie outlets, cheap Asian ingredients, authentic Asian restaurants or just walking from one end of Derek Avenue (This is the street where everything happens) to the other to explore and try unknown things like a visit the Buddhist temple for a tea ceremony or to learn to write my name in Chinese script.
I always wondered why the Chinese chose Cyrildene to set up New Chinatown (as it’sreferred to) – the original Chinatown is at the bottom end of Commissioner Street near the Johannesburg Central Police station. I was told that when there was an influx of Chinese into Johannesburg in the early 1990’s, the city centre was no longer a desirable place to start up a business and when Yat Kee Chinese Supermarket (the first chinese business to open in Cyrildene) opened up here in Cyrildene everyone else followed. Judy, who works at the Simplicity tea shop, tells me it’s because it is so central to most places…maybe that’s why my parents chose to live here as well.
Cyrildene is on the eastern side of Johannesburg and is surrounded by Linksfield, Observatory and Bruma. Derek Avenue is safe to walk along although not all shopkeepers are easy to communicate with due to language differences.
My favourite restaurants are Fong Mei at 17 Derek Avenue and Chinese Northern Foods at 20D Derek Avenue.
Another place of interest in the area is the house of L. Ron Hubbard the founder of the Church of Scientology. His house is a historical monument that has been restored to reflect the 1960’s which is when he lived there. One can book a tour of the house at http://www.lronhubbard.org.za
I’m ever hopeful that one day I will get a chance to view the inside of our original home but until then I will cherish some of our happier times living in Cyrildene.