Thursday, May 31, 2007

Viva los Jozi

Today is my last day spent in Johannesburg. This is my catchup email after relatively cold evenings last week in Durban and cold fireplace-required evenings in jo-berg. My lovely friend, Natasha, had put me up at her house of a million random people (the house has people coming in and out all the time and we are both unsure who really lives there). I wish her all the luck in her move to the new pad tomorrow! The neighborhood she lives in is Melville, a very up and coming trendster street with funky ceramic and bead shops, evening bars and morning cafes that remind me of an incredibly small version of Montreal by day and night. I also had the chance to be taken over several extremes of the city - the industrial Midrand area (big, boxy corporate headquarters of multinational companies), Rosebank mall (atypical mall like every other outdoor type mall), and the all eccentric Yeoville (high adventure area but typical of immigrant [this of a north Africa type] ville with much needs for social services). Memory: walk up a flight of stairs to a home converted to Ethiopean restaurant with men sitting on the couch and little girl bouncing around the home/converted food place. thanks tash

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Back in Durban - one week later!

Yes, I have been slacking on the entries after I arrived back in Durban last, last Sunday. I have been trying to settle back in to the University system and as expected deal with the usual one-day logistical nightmares of UKZN - getting renewed student card, organizing an office, getting internet access, etc. But luckily it was one day and not an enduring process as one experienced last year during the strike, so I'm relatively happy about that. My birthday had recently passed so I had the chance to dine with some UKZN friends and Sean at a Moroccan restaurant called Fabulous. As fabulous as the food was, the service was pretty dismal - example, not allowing Lauren's vegan cake into the premises UNLESS we paid a "cake fee". Crazy. Anyways, I liked my chicken tagine and can say it was comparable to the Moroccan version but it looks like the lamb shanks and ostrich were the actual tasty winners. The weekend was spent reviewing notes and surfing back in town. Durban had some big canoe festival going on last Sunday, so while waiting on the surf break, we watched several hundred race canoe paddle out of the waterfront, of course, with a few overturned boats not quite making it past the break. too funny!

The university has its usual stream of School of Development Studies seminars and workshops going on: today, Professor Vishnu Padayachee will host "Capitalism of a special type? Trajectories of capital accumulation in South Africa" at noon today. I just might attend.

Duduzile Khumalo from the Centre for Civil Soceity hosts on Friday: "Social and cultural benefits of Umgeni River that have been lost to the Inanda Dam"

Her description: "Dudu Khumalo is a community activist working mostly with rural and townships organisations. She has worked with the South African Municipal workers union (SAMWU) as an Organiser and as a co-ordinator for Water and Sanitation issues in the SAMWU KwaZulu Natal Province. While at SAMWU she also helped to co-ordinate Women's issues within the Union. She is currently at the Centre for Civil Society as a community intern."