Late in September 2012, Freshness was invited to South Africa to partake in the annual STR.CRD festival, which celebrates urban culture through activities in the areas of fashion, music, sneakers, graffiti, skate and dance (you can see our recap of STR.CRD 2012 here). So we hopped on a South African Airlines flight from New York’s JFK to Johannesburg (JNB), a ride that takes just a little over 15 hours direct. Fresh off a long flight into Johannesburg, it may take a minute to realize you’ve arrived in the continent of Africa, but you’ll quickly realize it’s not really what you’ve imagined in this bustling metropolis, as you’ll see in our photo journal from Joburg below.
Two movies, Invictus and District 9, in recent memory may have given you a sense of South Africa, but one was set in 1995 and the other set in a fantasy alien invasion, neither hardly giving you a taste of the modern day land. One will give you an idea of the history of the country and both offer a hint of the amazing people who live there. Known for it’s natural beauty, wildlife and sunshine, a visit to South Africa can be quite an adventure. In this recap, we’ll focus on the limited amount of time we saw Johannesburg–but it was enough to see a bustling city with a lot of character. After four days in Johannesburg as part-guest and part-tourist, we also also took a few days touring Cape Town, which we will take a look at shortly. For now, take a look below at our experience in Johannesburg.
The Melvilla Guest House was our home as guests of STR.CRD. Unfortunately, wifi did not always work while we stayed there, but over all the rooms had a lot of character and were well kept.
The first night’s dinner was held At The Table, which is a pretty interesting venue in a house setting for groups to meet or have an excellent dinner.
Above, Masta Lee and Edson from Patta and Lee Stuart and Joey Elgersam from Bread & Butter.
A trip to Johannesburg can not be complete without a visit to Lion Park, one of the top attractions in the Johannesburg. Short of trying to find a a lion family out in the wild, this is one of very few places in the world where you can spend time interacting with lion cubs (!!) in an enclosed petting area. In there park you’ll also see ostriches, zebras and giraffes, and drive into enclosures of fully grown wild lions and lionesses, a few of which were featured in the film White Lion.
Another popular attraction is a drive through Soweto (South Western Townships) and paying a visit to the Hector Pieterson memorial.
We stopped by Nelson Mandela’s former house as well but it was closed to visitors.
We had a fairly small group during our day tour… Here we stopped by an event welcoming us with local media and bloggers.
Below is the Nelson Mandel bridge at night.
Joburg’s street art scene is pretty lively and we just happened to be in town I-Art-Joburg was going down. We actually ran into Martha Cooper and ESPO who painted several murals in the area of STR.CRD.
One of ESPO’s pieces
Claw Money was in town on behalf of STR.CRD…
Another one of ESPO’s pieces..
The Maboneng Precinct which is an urban mixed-use community including Main Street Life, 12 Decades Hotel, Revolution House, The Main Change and Fox Street Studios came next all well-designed and unique mixed-use spaces that encourage entrepreneurship, culture, urbanism, creative expression and design. It was a great stomping ground during our time there for STR.CRD.
After the last day of STR.CRD, all those involved with the festival were invited to a dinner at Moyo where we celebrated with our hosts and new friends from around the world. Definitely have a meal there while in Jobug.
Many thanks to Hardy McQueen the co-founder of STR.CRD and his amazing support staff who took care of us. Many thanks to Boogy, Lerato and Streetbaus for taking us around. Shout out to our friends and new friends from around the world. Masta Lee and Edson from Patta, Lee and Joey from Bread & Butter, Claw Money and Lisa from New York, Matheus from Mutta Shoes, Fred and Chinier from Oakland and Jesse Boykins III, Melo-X and J.Woo from New York.