Soweto Diary

“In judging our progress as individuals, we tend to concentrate on external factors such as one’s social position, influence and popularity, wealth and standard of education… but internal factors may be even more crucial in assessing one’s development as a human being: humility, purity, generosity, absence of vanity, readiness to serve your fellow men – qualities within reach of every human soul.” – Nelson Mandela, 1977.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen me explore Soweto a short while back with my friend Idil while she came to visit in December, which now seems like aaaages ago.

 

We started off at 8115 Vilakazi St, Orlando West which was Mandela’s house before he was arrested and imprisoned for 27 years. The humble red brick house is a must visit if you’re exploring Johannesburg, not just because of the history but also to experience the rich culture that is Soweto.

Soweto’s vibrance comes out in how the people hang out on the street, playing music, roasting meat and talking. Children and performers give a show on the pavements with their dances and songs. There are souvenir vendors all along the streets displaying their wares at a fair price. In that sense, it’s not like Kenya where I can haggle for a better price for close to ten minutes at the Maasai Market. I truly do miss Nairobi, Nairobae as the cool kids on Instagram would say.

In some ways, Soweto does feel like home. In its realness, it’s people and the sense of community.

 

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How gorgeous is Idil?!! MashaAllah!

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On display in the house are Nelson Mandela and Winnie Mandela’s accolades, awards and honorary degrees. Most of the awards were actually Mama Winnie’s, she went on to fight for freedom while her husband was imprisoned until the last minute when apartheid was abolished.

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Courage..

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Liberation..

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We walked up Vilakazi Street and managed to get a spectacular view of Soweto and The Orlando Towers. We immediately decided, on complete impulse, to try something different from our usual art gallery, museum, chilled type of vibe and instead be crazy and go bungee jumping or free falling at the Orlando Towers just fifteen minutes away.

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They sent us videos of us free falling and it’s hilarious! You can see the exact moment shock takes over when I realized he’d released the buckle and I was falling down 100 metres onto a not so inflated bouncing castle. Unforgettable.

Hope I’ve convinced you to visit Soweto!

xx

Seize the Day

2019 is here and to my utmost surprise, I find myself calm and very rational about things.

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Equipped with new notebooks and stationery, I set out to be more practical with how I plan this year. The state of mind I choose to have in 2019 is not to think of it so much as new but more like progress. After reviewing my 2018 goals, I created an Annual ‘Road Map’, something I picked up from Monash which, in school is basically a diagram of the week and each day’s goal. My variation has space for about 5 targets to be clearly described for each month. It’s also helped me set some financial goals, like say for example taking a trip to Cape Town in April during the Easter holidays.

Curiously, besides wanting to get a new lens and tripod, the one thing I couldn’t see how it plays out in the future was this space..

I could think of a few reasons why; like maybe how I feel that I haven’t established myself in the blogging world. That one time I got nominated for Best Travel Blogger in 2017 was long time back. I’m not popular, and most times I’m happy with the privacy but other times I wonder if anyone really knows of my work. As a creative, progress is so important to me, so many at times it feels like I don’t know what I’m doing or where I’m going with it but I do know it brings me so much joy. It keeps me creative, having to learn new things, techniques, discover new places, discover myself. Become more, and do more. I religiously read each month’s Conde Naste Traveller magazine, cover to cover, and delve deep into the exquisite text and images. It transports me to another world, and I hope that is what this space can be for my readers.

These wonderful photos were taken by SLR Photos SA who reached out to me to collaborate on a street style photoshoot. I suggested The Marc as the venue, it has become one of my favourite places to hang out, with quiet coffee shops and restaurants in the heart of Sandton.

Go show them some love on their Facebook and Instagram pages @SLRPhotoSA, and while your at it find my social media handles at @pilgrimchic on Instagram and Facebook.

Let’s seize the day!

Market on Main

Maboneng, it’s always a pleasure. You’ve never let me down.

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A few Sundays ago, my friend Idil and I sauntered over to Market on Main, a dream vibey space in the heart of Maboneng.

We’d started the day off a little bummed out that we couldn’t go to the Neighbourgoods Market as we wished to, turned out it only opens on Saturday. The idea was to head over to Maboneng as we figured out our next move, only to walk along the art-filled streets, from jewellery and clothing to live dance and vocal performances, drawing us to Market on Main, which – get this – opens only on Sundays.

What great luck.

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The pursuit of beautiful photos can often lead to awkward social situations – I’ve had to learn how to pose quick-fast and know what my best angles are.

One such awkward social situation at first, later turned out to be a lovely encounter. I was busy posing and shooting photos at a cute little shop’s stoop when the owner, Mary, walked up to me, perhaps intrigued or most probably concerned about this girl making strange movements at her shop entrance. We ended up chatting and when asked where I was from, I proudly responded in my best Nairobian accent. “Me I’m from Nairobi, Kenya”. “Wacha! (Stop!) Ata mimi pia ni mKenya!”

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If you pass by Market on Main, drop by Mary’s store HelloAfrica. It’s so wonderful to run into someone from home you can connect with. A few Swahili words here and there can be the little boost your day needs. Also, you’re sure to find something cute or quirky that will tickle your fancy.

Reclaimed lofts characterized by the rustic unfinished decor, give off an old school hippie vibe. Coupled with different kinds of people, products on display, sounds and smells, the Market is a great Sunday plan.

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You get to see unique views of Maboneng from fire escape staircases and balconies upstairs, and appreciate its regeneration as an urban space.

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Location: Arts on Main, Maboneng.

Open on Sundays from 10 am – 3 pm.