Monday, March 31, 2008

Rosebank in Black and White

There are some interesting companies in Rosebank. SASOL and TOTAL to name but a two. It's possible that we will see picketing and protests in the streets in front of these head offices, when fuel prices really start to bite. People will want to blame someone - the government, the oil companies. For the latest energy news visit The Oil Drum.

Which is Rosebank, and which is Ventersdorp?

You had to think about it for a second hey. Scary. While some areas are going up and being revamped, others are decaying, and looking in urgent need to attention.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Rosebank (Photography)

Do we want Rosebank to consist of malls and hotels? Like the transit lounge of an airport? While the area is under construction perhaps we ought to think of the best way to utilise the space that remains. One interesting area is the underground mall beside the AVUSA building.

The Rise and Rise Of Hyper-Localism

Blogs have the potential to instantly shoot out of a home in suburbia, and communicate with micro and macro networks, regional and international. As such, they have a tremendous amount of untapped potential. And as South Africa gradually buys-into broadbank (expensive as it is), the benefits are likely to be felt more and more at a local level. Of course, the quality of benefit depends to what extent the community (and its children) involve itself in...well, itself. Wouldn't it be great for suburbia to inform itself of small but nevertheless pertinent issues: houses for sale, potholes, a school play, a local rugby match or fun run, crime patterns, bargain, garage sales - the options are endless. Blogs like this one are just one instrument in an arsenal designed to connect the home to the community substrate. My Week and are others, along with knock-and-drop newspapers, Mr. Delivery menus and all the rest. The true power of this hodge podge of services will begin to emerge when they take hands, integrate, and then begin to specialise in fulfilling the hopes and dreams of suburbia. Believe me, these are many.

Personally I think this sort of activity has taken a long time to emerge. Home Fulfillment (Mr. Delivery on steroids) has the potential to relieve tons of stress for suburbanites. I developed a business plan to build efficiencies from the home to the supplier. The time is nigh in South Africa that these networks begin to activate, since we cannot afford to live disconnected and inefficiently any longer. I called my Fulfillment provider Rocketboy - the hero your home needs.


Many Gautengers want to leave the country, but they can’t — so, they’re opting for second best. Or so they think. Andrew Donaldson leaves a piece of his mind behind ...
I am moving to the Cape. Not, please note, Cape Town, but the Cape. And I think I’ll leave it at that. I know it sounds vague, but I don’t want people to know where I am. They’ll find out soon enough, trust me, but until then, well, just leave me be.

My reasons for leaving Johannesburg are personal, and therefore none of your business. It’s not crime. I need to make that clear, right here and now. That said, I really don’t mind if you think otherwise. Crime is ... well, you all know how bad it is. You don’t need me telling you that.

But I will tell you what has really irked me about my imminent departure: you bastards are following me.

Read the rest of Andrew Donaldson's Sunday Times article.

My Rosebank says: When I was in Cape Town in early March I realised to what extent the Gauteng diaspora to Cape Town actually is. The local daily - The Argus - reported a great deal of property acquisitions not to overseas tenants, but to Gautengers. This is a highly mobile and highly sensitive market - with the resources to up and go and seek a better like elsewhere. The fact that about a third of the world's biggest one day timed cycling event was also comprised of Gautengers - many of which flew to the Cape - also speaks volumes.

But somehow I think it is a lot of misplaced energy. Many people left Johannesburg to reside in Pretoria's southern satellites, and reasoned a geographical move would wriggle them out of the crime problem. The only price to pay would be a longer commute to work. What they didn't take into account was that Johannesburg was quietly fortifying itself, building up defences, weathering the storm. And so right now, crime has spread to these newly erected less defensible suburbs, and these poor people have long commutes across intersections that are amongst the deadliest in the country.

Personally I have had my place cleaned out by a burglary, and it happened in Vredehoek, Cape Town. So the advice is: don't turn your home into a mini prison. Your home's security is as weak as the integrity of the gatekeeper - not as strong as the steel fence. Join hands with your community, make your house into a home connected to a community. Share information. Have a plan of action for emergencies. It's time to get involved and face up to the here and now, here and now.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Friday, March 28, 2008


It almost looks like the crane is holding the sky bridge in the air.

Elevate Thyself

The escalators in the Zone going up to the cinemas must be some of the longest in the country. I mean they are really freakin streeeeeeetched out. Seri-OUS-ly. If you stand on the balcony opposite where the ticketing booth is, have a squiz down. Those baby's go a long way. It's because there's a helluva lot of vertical height between the first floor and the floor the cinemas are on. And I have a bit of a fetish - in the photographer sense - for escalators. I once shot some video in Korea of two escalators right beside each other (from a vertical perspective) with yellow steps, moving in opposite directions. Visual poetry I tell ya. So, ja, the fetish is photographic, I mean I've never fantasied about having sex on an escalator or anything ;-)

What's at the movies this weekend in Rosebank

It's easy to recommend 2 movies this week. Horton and Juno. Both intelligent movies that will make you feel good without feeding you sugar. I'm also cautiously curious about Spiderwick Chronicles and 10 000 BC - the latter I've heard is crap, but the reviewer might be suffering from manic depression.

What I MUST watch is The Diving bell (at Nouveau). I've heard Love In The Time of Cholera is crap, the book sucked despite all the recommendations, but I am still curious. The review got me thinking, and even if the film is a dud, it might be worth thinking about. Watch There Will Be Blood, Atonement and No Country For Old Men if you're in a very bad mood and want to feel even worse.

Go to Ster Kinekor to book.

I heard a rumour

Apparently yesterday behind Bakery Square, somewhere near To Kee Yo (Tok E Yo - Tokyo) in Rosebank, there was some kind of outdoor-in-the-courtyard spin session. I don't know if it was associated with corporate spanbou, or just something for the public - somehow I think the former. Anyone know anything about this?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Big Lungs of Johannesburg

I wonder what this city would be like if you stripped away the forest. I wonder to what extent the world's largest man made forest actually slurps up a lot of soot and carbon in the air (mostly from car but also factory smoke), and turns it into timber and roots. I imagine that each and every day when the forest sighs, huge amounts of fresh air are pumped into the streets of Johannesburg, and without these sighs of relief, Johannesburg would feel oppressive, even prison-like. Instead, if you actually live here, you find it is leafy and pleasant.

One of the concerns climate scientists often express is the 'tipping point' effect of warming, where the planet's lungs - the Amazon - begins to decline as warming breaches a maximum temperature threshold for forest making. If you actually travel to South America, you'll find vast areas around the Amazon that are sort've bushy and grassy, and you'd wonder: "How come there's dense forest right there, and not here?" The answer is that subtle variations are enough to persuade forests not to try. And the concern is that the warming trend may be enough to impact on large swathes of the Amazon - turning it into a carbon emitter.

I'm guessing that Johannesburg is fairly unique in that it is so high above sea level, meaning it will always have a milder climate. So far it seems climate change is going mean wetter weather in Rosebank and greater Gauteng. And if we take this summer - and one swallow doesn't make a summer - but potentially we can look forward to cooler summers.

This might be good news for the big lungs of Johannesburg, and the people who call Johannesburg home.

Here's lookin' at you...

I have respect for these guys. We don't even see them unless we go to a lot of trouble. We just do our thing and the next thing, we're riding the Gautrain like it's always been there.
This chasm is also right beside a route I drive everyday - Oxford Road going past Rosebank's The Zone.

I wonder how they got those massive steel bars into place. Sure they hoisted them with cranes, but did they put them in place before or after they dug the chasm underneath.

Do these guys also work nights?

Road Biatch

I have noticed a disturbing new trend. And I am sure a little browse through a K53 book in the local CNA would stop me from feeling I might be the one going mad, that I learnt road rules different to half the rest of the country.

Seriously. People. Please STOP DRIVING THROUGH RED ROBOTS!!!

And I am hardly raging out through my windscreen just to taxis. This is to the lady in the porche. The guy in his landrover. The kid in the golf… kid?? It seems half of road users these days feel nothing for recognising red robots. (Or “Bus Only” lanes and one-ways for that matter!)

And I am praying I will not be in the car chugging through that green, when you are the one who pops the perpendicular red!

Yesterday morning, on my (legal limit) race to the airport, sometime between sun rising & dawn, every single car BUT mine treated all red robots as yields. And I could not figure it out. People have taken the fear of stopping at a robot in pitch darkness and now seem to be abusing at will. And I am sick of it… because if we can’t even follow road signs, what hope do we have of being law abiding in the slightest…

The Rosebank element? Well, it was with the changing of roads and signs, two-ways becoming one-ways, and “Bus Only” lanes painted on during Gautrain set up, that really made me realise how too many of us feel we are above daily laws. We’ll follow them if we like them. And we do so with such arrogance. But if everyone went through the red, not just you, or down the wrong way, then… it’s about thinking ten steps ahead.

So yeah, that’s me shouting and flashing you down Bolton, cause I’m all for law abiding roads. At the very least.

And that’s me chanting through the window at you, that childhood rhyme…
Green means Go
Yellow means Slow
And… Red….means…Stop!

Argh. Traffic time. I’m sure my second post will be much chirpier.

Runner's High

Rosebank is pretty high up. If you're driving from pretty much anywhere, you have to go uphill to get here. Since my commute is from daar anderkant die M1 highway, I have run to work up Glenhove and it is a killer. It just goes on and on, up and up, with everyone gawking at you in their cars. The problem is when you are in Rosebank proper, you feel like the guy in Enemy of the State - that you have to dodge traffic, that their is a national conspiracy to KILL you.

I'd like to cycle and run to work, but until there are more people like me (so that I'd have reasonable safety in numbers), I guess I'm gonna have to guzzle gas, sit like a lazy arse in traffic, mumbling and grumbling, going nowhere slowly.

Meanwhile, it would benefit us to consider running to work (if you like 7km or less from work), as this article from the New York Times illustrates:

Yes, Running Can Make You High

With everything that's going on, everyone who runs to work I think deserves a medal.

$4 in one day

On 94.7 yesterday they were just giving through the financial indicators. The oil price which seemed to be sinking under $100 suddenly skipped back up $4. This is SCARY! With the price close to its all time high, if it can so easily skip upwards, it means it can easily skip even higher.

The implications for every $1 increase in the fuel price are important. It means everything else becomes less affordable, principally food. And even if you live in Rosebank and you reckon you can handle these little increases, many can't. Those who can't may resort to foul means to get what they want, and you might start to see them in a parking lot near you.

So these price increases really are everyone's problem.

WARNING: Speedtraps in Oxford Street

I just dashed off to pick up my bike (a good clean and a bit of maintenance costs almost R1000 btw)and traffic cops on Oxford Road (on the way to Illovo) were feasting on newly caught prey. But on the way back the guys were shooting lazer beams at us as well. So beware, between Rosebank and Illovo, but more on the Rosebank side, the guys are trapping.

Another precaution is for Jellicoe Road. As you're heading up to Oxford, crossing the intersection (after Bath) the right hand lane has a major undulating dip. Not a good spot for the finish line of a car chase.

Quote of the Day

“For the first time in my career, we could push the animation to all kinds of crazy places just as Seuss pushed his work into some wildly imaginative areas."

Jimmy Hayward, co-director Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who

It is amazing when we have the license, creatively, to do what we imagine. In terms of movies, architecture, the way we live our lives. Howard Roark in Fountainhead comes to mind, so does Richard Branson, but I guess there is also a Stephen Kingish dark side to this. We can imagine, but we need to be disciplined about it, and of course, discipline impacts on flights of fancy, sometimes tethering them to the ground like kites. But how long would a kite fly if we snipped the tether?

Rosebank is still very much 'Under Construction'

I grabbed my camera on my lunchbreak yesterday, and whilst taking the first few pictures of the massive big hole next to The Zone in Rosebank, I found myself chatting to one of the construction workers. He told me they are building a hotel, and a shopping, ANOTHER mall. What about the defunct mall next to the AVUSA offices?

I reckon the defuct mall should be converted into a Food Hall, with lots of smallish restaurants (like King Pie) etc for staff from Total, all the AVUSA people and shoppers.

Instead of a hotel, what about a gym, or a park, or some sort of area for relaxation...even an aquarium. I guess they could always build a pool deck on the roof...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Why Care About Your Own Community?

One of the main reasons this blog was started was from the need be the difference, to make a difference. This quote: 'You make a living by what you get, you make a life by what you give' - Winston Churchill, sums it up perfectly. By taking care of others, we take care of ourselves, and increasingly I believe our societies are self absorbed to the point of delinquency. Narcissm is a clinical condition, and it underpins many of the depressed people we encounter.

We don't have to care about other people to heal ourselves, we just have to start noticing the world around us. It might be that a beetle shares our living space, or the way the light falls on a cluster of leaves on a particular morning. It starts with the knowledge that the place we live is in the here and now. Here everything happens.

So what impact are you making?
“If I was a student, I would march against myself.”

Could this happen to Rosebank?

From this...

to this...

The above image is from Ventersdorp; a grim dorp with too many funeral parlours, and buildings that are literally hollowed out skeletons in the main street.

Now you might think country dorpies are dead, and those that aren't are dying. But the future is farming. Major production in the future is likely to be agriculture - not only for food, but also fuel. A recent article in The Economist confirms the 'safe haven' status of farms, as opposed to say, gold.

What if urban water supplies became poisoned, and we found ourselves stranded without fuel? Wouldn't city environments quickly convert to chaotic crime-filled slums (like New Orleans), prisons for gangs of have-nots to prey on the haves?

In Rosebank's favour is that it is to some extent a walkable community, and it is not entirely 'built-up'. But if it ever became an island, isolated because of say - a temporary shutdown of electricity, or motor fuel - how long could it play survivor to its hosts? How long can any urban setting? And if these scenarios develop - and we're seeing them happen more frequently, what structures and systems are in place to mitigate? Who will rescue us if not we ourselves?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

South Africans - we're all about give and take

This article in the Sunday Times (by Bobby Jordan) is unusual if only for the balanced opinion - for once (by a South African) - of that strange mixed bag, the South African tribe. We're schizophrenic at the best of times; given to melancholy and hopelessness, other times we're exuberant; our optimism seems unquenchable. The issues in this country are numerous, aren't they. So naturally, we ought to despair at times, and at other times, be happily triumphant.
We are a country of brutes. Our rugby players and criminals, our car guards and (some) taxi drivers are evidence enough. But we also care, don't we? Look at all our sensitive nobel prize winners - in our leaders and writers. Look at our activists, and our artists.
This is a country that demands one thing of us: our humanity. It demands so much at times it feels like too much. I know. At other times, most of the time I hope, the demands we make of each other are demands we hope or intend to meet, if not now, then perhaps one fine day.

Brrr - Just down the road...

These are images from the M1, at the bottom of Glenhove Road heading towards central Johannesburg.

I'm not usually a fan of advertising, and outdoor is usually URGLLLY, but here is what I consider to be something that brightens up the highway - a pretty grim and sterile place at the best of times - with a festival of color. That is advertising's greatest gift when it works; where it artfully decorates the environment, instead of littering our environment with loud, intrusive clutter.

Rosebank Blog Banks on Big Hitters

Have you been invited to the Rosebank Community Blog?

My Rosebank is a new social networking blog ‘for the residents and workers of Rosebank, Johannesburg.’ If you’re part of the Rosebank community blog you’re in good company. South Africa’s blogging heavyweights Jon Cherry, Matthew Buckland, Mike Stopforth and many other opinion leaders in the blogging community have been invited.

Why Rosebank?

The blog itself states that ‘Rosebank attracts some of the most well heeled visitors, online as well as off. This is the intellectual cutting edge of online South Africa…It's also a place that's not difficult to get excited about.’

Stylish, secure, with numerous eclectic restaurants, Rosebank’s sophisticated cosmopolitan community is in many ways a test case for where South Africa may be headed.

What is the blog for?

The blog describes its function as establishing a community consciousness that can make a difference to the community it represents. It says: ‘At a time when we are at the mercy of government…volunteer networks become not only useful, but essential and vital. ..To the extent that communities develop strong relationships (through regional virtual and real networks) communities can wrest back control of their own environments...’

What's in it?

My Rosebank contains photographic and textual references to Rosebank’s urbanity, with brief mention made, for example, of Cinema Nouveau and The Grace Hotel. It has an image menu intended to guide contributors towards commenting, measuring and rating various aspects of their experience living and working in Rosebank. Would-be contributors are emailed these images to maintain ‘standards and consistency’ to allow them to blog freely on the site in a so-called ‘wall-less garden’.

Created by a Marketing and Communications Specialist at AVUSA in Rosebank, the My Rosebank blog is likely to be a virtual template for other brick and mortar communities such as Melrose Arch and Century City. Another new AVUSA product, has created suburban sites such as and It is possible that the blogging community will soon embrace and integrate with these hyper local networks.

My Rosebank and similar blogs stimulate their communities to become increasingly self aware. This community consciousness improves the lives not only of neighbours, but also potentially the lives of non-human neighbours living in the organic systems around homes and businesses.

My Rosebank hopes to cultivate a strong sense of community by inculcating in particular the sense of the human being as gardener and life giver. The blog asserts optimistically: ‘It can start right here, with you, and with me.’

To join My Rosebank email or go to leaving your email address in the comment field

The Grace - Ideally Situated

The Grace is an ideal choice for guests seeking a sophisticated city hotel with the highest levels of service and luxury, as well as that personal charm found only in small establishments.

Set in the heart of stylish Rosebank, a secure, leafy suburb that is cosmopolitan and rich in eclectic restaurants, shopping, cinemas and culture.

The Grace has easy access to Johannesburg’s most prominent businesses and the International airport.

The Grace hotel epitomises the elegance of the Rosebank village. It is not overstated, and yet it is rich, luxurious and above all, practical. It has three of the most vital urban qualities: location, location location.

For details on The Grace, go here.

Hotel Edifice in Rosebank (PHOTOGRAPHY)

Have you ever stayed at The Grace? If so, please share your experience with us. If not, I guess I'm going to have to spoil myself rotten in the name of developing this site.

Staggering the Holidays

I had to drop off my bicycle in Illovo on the way to work today. I'd expected a traffic nightmare, but it was actually remarkably quiet. Oh ja! A LOT of people are still on holiday. Great! Stay on holiday!

Now would anyone mind if we stagger Easter, Christmas and New Year. It would mean we could send a constant stream of traffic to the country's beaches while the rest of us can get to hurt unhindered. It makes perfect sense. Why queue to get to work, queue to go on holiday, if we can keep the system rolling and so avoid Bottlenecks.

Right so if no one minds, I am going to take my Christmas holidays around December 25, and New Years around New Years. You guys can sort out your own pseudo year calendars with pseudo New year's ;-)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Faulty Traffic Lights Doubling (Troubling) Your Commuting Time?

Call the JRA on 011-298-5000 or email them at

Have you been invited to my Rosebank?

You'll be in good company if you are. Jon Cherry, Matthew Buckland, Mike Stopforth and many other opinion leaders have been. If you are part of the Rosebank community, or have something meaningful to say, leave your email address in the comment field below and we'll be in touch.

The rationales behind the starting of this community are multifaceted.
1) Online social networks
Everywhere and nowhere

This particular article is fascinating for so many reasons. Here's a favorite quadrant of text:
We will look back to 2008 and think it archaic and quaint that we had to go to a destination like Facebook or LinkedIn to be social,” says Charlene Li at Forrester Research, a consultancy. Future social networks, she thinks, “will be like air. They will be anywhere and everywhere we need and want them to be.” No more logging on to Facebook just to see the “news feed” of updates from your friends; instead it will come straight to your e-mail inbox, RSS reader or instant messenger. No need to upload photos to Facebook to show them to friends, since those with privacy permissions in your electronic address book can automatically get them.

...avid internet users often maintain separate accounts on several social networks, instant-messaging services, photo-sharing and blogging sites, and usually cannot even send simple messages from one to the other. They must invite the same friends to each service separately. It is a drag.

Historically, online media tend to start this way. The early services, such as CompuServe, Prodigy or AOL, began as “walled gardens” before they opened up to become websites. The early e-mail services could send messages only within their own walls (rather as Facebook's messaging does today). Instant-messaging, too, started closed, but is gradually opening up. In social networking, this evolution is just beginning.

E-mail in the wider sense is the most important social network,” says David Ascher, who manages Thunderbird, a cutting-edge open-source e-mail application, for the Mozilla Foundation...

2) At a time when we are rather at the mercy of governments and other civil authorities, volunteerism, activism and volunteer networks become not only useful, but essential and vital. We need civilians to aid in our own policing and protection, we need whistle blowers in our communities to alert us to problems with our food, and water and power supply. To the extent that communities develop strong relationships (through regional virtual and real networks) the communities can wrest back control of their own environments from 'administrators'.

In a recent article in The Star (MAKING A DIFFERENCE IS YOUR CHOICE) Mixael de Kock describes the enormous impact of volunteerism on the way society progresses. We have reached a juncture now where volunteerism needs to be resuscitated. In modern times volunteerism has died. The post-war (WW2) period saw its golden age.

Volunteerism asks us to be less self-centred. It asks us to put ourselves in other's hopes, including the flowers, the birds and the bees. What is happening to our water? Wouldn't bicycling to work be better? Mixael writes that we worship the free market, but the free market is a concept, not a human being.

It is now time to be human beings again, and human beings need to start doing what they were born to do: become self aware communities that improve the lives not only of other human beings, but every other life they touch.

3) A wonderful contemporary example of this vital embracing of our own (and other seemingly unrelated communities) is embodied in the Blue Sky Studio flick HORTON HEARS A WHO. 'A person is a person no matter how small' and 'Just because you can't see someone doesn't mean they aren't there...' are epithetis in this film that perfectly fit this ethos of a 'volunteer community'.

This is the human being as gardener and life giver. And it can start right here, with you, and with me.

What better time to start this process than during Easter, when we contemplate new beginnings, birth, in the context of death. This is the basis of all religions, it is merely a matter of semantics.
Join us by leaving your email address in the comment field.

Cinema Nouveau Rosebank - NICE!

This must be one of the most accessible cinemas in the country. I mean in terms of distance from parking your car to nabbing your ticket. Some of the best movies I've seen this year I watched at this cinema, including INTO THE WILD, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN and ATONEMENT.

Unfortunately if there is load shedding, this cinema is not an option - something management might want to work on (how much would it cost to have a few generators keeping only the projectors going?)

Another gripe is that you're sledom able to arrive 10 minutes beofre a show and just grab your ticket and popcorn. The queuing is enough to make you scream. I missed the first 15 minutes of NO COUNTRY and MICHAEL CLAYTON for this reason.

Tip: Buy your ticket online, by going here.

Meanwhile, go here to simply view their schedule.

My recommendation for best movie right now? Easy: JUNO.

Why Rosebank?

Rosebank attracts some of the most well heeled visitors, online as well as off. This is the intellectual cutting edge of online South Africa. It's a place where big and small ideas are born. It's also a place that's not difficult to get excited about.

A Rose Garden Without Walls (and the first of many)

Social networking with no boundaries, and no borders. You can be part of the Rosebank community, and all you need is an email address and the enthusiasm to be part of South Africa's most vibrant and active hub of internet business activity.

Rosebank is where it is at. It is the HQ of such diverse companies as SASOL, the Media Houses of the Mail & Guadian and of course, AVUSA. The GAUTRAIN will make a beeline for Rosebank (coming in from the airport), and why not - THE MALL and THE ZONE boast some of the country's finest fare and food.

In terms of entertainment, the cinemas in Rosebank boast cutting edge technology, including the capacity to flight 3D flicks (a la Beowulf).

This is the raging heartbeat of the country. It is a dynamic that is under construction, with road works sidelining plenty of traffic, but traffic converges on this centre of commerce (and e-commerce) none the less.

But who are the Rosebankers? Who are the modern South Africans, black and white, online and off, that are the Rosebank Community?

We are a community filled with vitality, bright ideas and valid criticisms. Is the intelligence employed here, the architecture and the engineering that sprouts in this garden, that feeds into the rest of Jozi, and down the arteries of the M1 and N1 into the rest of the country. Be part of the collaborative process. Making a difference is your choice. Be a connected part of the garden. And let's see our garden grow.

If you would like to participate in this community we'd ideally like you to work in Rosebank right now, or to live here, or both. You're also qualified if you've visited, or worked, or lived here at sometime recently. And believe it or not, if you're particularly interested and enthusiastic about this community, we also want you to be part of it.

Depending on the popularity of this site, membership may be capped on further notice.