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Johannesburg

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Su Shi

185 vizualizări

Johannesburg 28/04 - 10/05

Rau famat, cu cea mai mare rata a criminalitatii din lume, Johannesburg se afla pe ruta noastra inspre Botswana. Un stop necesar pentru a ne dota cu piese de schimb pentru partea a doua a turului Africii si pentru a aplica la cateva vize in vecina Pretoria (capitala de jure a RAS). Tot ce stiam despre Johannesburg anunta un loc insalubru si nesigur, infractori negri printre gunoaie, ceva cam asa:

Jozi City was on our exit route towards Botswana. A must stop to shop for parts for the second half of our African tour, possibly service the bike (pushing 50K now) and apply for visas in the the jure capital of SAR, Pretoria. All the previous information on Johannesburg spoke of a somber, dirty place inhabited by dangerous black hooligans, something like this:

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Dar capitala de facto a RAS arata mai curand asa:

But the infamous de facto capital of SAR lookes more like this:

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Energia vibranta a hubului industrial si comercial al tarii ne-a captivat. Aveam nevoie de un loc in care sa stam pentru cateva zile, si cu proverbialul noroc al calatorului, am nimerit peste unii dintre cei mai faini oameni pe care i-am intalnit pana acum. Mircea, prietenul si gazda din Abuja, sugerase inca din septembrie trecut sa mergem la ei. David, Sam & Layla, impreuna cu amicul Roberto si ‘mortalii’ caini Vincent & Kelly ne-au facut sa ne simtim ca acasa: numai voie buna, mancare excelenta, braaiuri nemaipomenite si o atmosfera de familie. Multumim, prieteni!

The sprawling industrial and commercial hub of SA and a true African metropolis swept us up in its vibrant energy. We needed to a place to stay, and after a short but depressing mishap, boy, were we lucky to land at David, Sam & Layla’s place in Bedfordview suburb. Mircea, our Abuja friend, had suggested to visit them since last September. We cooked, braaied, watched movies and generally hanged out, enjoying one of the best companies we’ve ever had. So our couchsurfing stint in SA would end in a blast after all: fun, good food, happy days, a true home away from home. Thank you dear friends: David, Sam & Layla, Roberto and the cutest dogs Vincent & Kelly. We miss you already!

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Joburg este supranumit ‘orasul de aur’ din cauza industriei mineritului. In curand aveam sa ne facem o idee de amploarea afacerii. De la terminarea apartheid-ului, companiile, banii si albii au abandonat cladirile din centrul de afaceri si isi construiesc incet incet un altul in Sandton, un cartier de fitze. Asa ca centrul ‘istoric’ nu arata prea bine: cladiri prost intretinute, locuite ilegal, geamuri sparte. Efectele previzibile ale unei tranzitii nu foarte domoale catre o administratie noua, ne-educata si ne-pregatita sa faca fata volumului de responsabilitate. 

Joburg is also nicknamed ‘The Gold City’ because of the bustling mining industry. We would soon see why. Since the end of apartheid, the downtown businesses have been moving to Sandton, the new posh suburb-to-be, where luxurious malls and office towers speak of money and power. The buildings ‘abandoned’ by the whites to the blacks don’ t look so good: broken windows, squatters, bad maintenance and poor management, but all too predictable as the power transitioned to a miss educated and incipient political and administrative class. 

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Dar semnele pozitive ale schimbarii se vad peste tot, si ca sa avem o prespectiva de ansamblu, am urcat pe ‘acoperisul Africii’, pe platforma panoramica a turnului Carlton.

Signs of good things to come are evident though every way you look, and to get a better view of it all, we climbed on ‘top of Africa’, the Carlton tower.

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Si am vazut metropola

And gazed upon the metropolis through the looking glass

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O textura urbana care aminteste de New York, siganlistica stradala de calitate, amenajari pietonale, infrastructura in curs de reorganizare, transport urban haotic, dar functional

Urban texture reminiscent of New York, solid street signage, pedestrian developments, decent infrastructure, public transport chaotic but working

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The famous Smal Street, the narrowest in Africa, leads into the Carlton mall, an engineering masterpiece

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Am trecut si pe langa Soccer City (fostul Stadion FNB, renovat pentru Cupa Mondiala)

We drove by Soccer City (former FNB Stadium, upgraded for WC)

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Acesta este Soweto/ This Is Soweto

Cel mai celebru loc din Africa de Sud si din Johannesburg este insa Soweto, celebra suburbie de unde a inceput si a fost purtata lupta impotriva apartheid-lui. Soweto este un acronim, compus in epoca underground din cuvintele ‘south’ (sud) ‘western’ (vest) si ‘township’ (cartier). Istoria locului incepe in anii ‘30, cand primii oameni au fost mutati fortat in cartierul Orlando, in cadrul procedurilor de eliminare a ‘zonelor negre’ din centrul Johannesburg-ului. In 1976 Soweto a fost locul de nastere a frondei tinerilor, care mai tarziu a cuprins intreaga Africa de Sud. Mega-suburbia de azi este locuita de peste 2 milioane de oameni de-tribalizati, care vorbesc propriul dialect si afiseaza un stil urban propriu, departe de imaginea din trecut. Pana in Joburg ni s-a spus ca Soweto e prea periculos, dar familia Jones, care s-a mutat din Durban pentru a locui in eclecticul oras al tuturor oportunitatilor, s-a dovedit mai cu picioarele pe pamant, si ne-a invitat intr-o plimbare de sambata, ca ne vedem singuri cum sta treaba. Fara arma la picior, fara paranoia, fara false asteptari.

Possibly the most infamous place in SAR and Joburg is Soweto, and most of the struggle against apartheid was fought in and from here. The name Soweto is an acronym, made up - in apartheid days - from the first letters of the words ‘south western township’. Its history started in the 30s, when the first people were relocated in Olando township, in an attempt to remove ‘black spots’ from downtown Joburg. In 1976 this was the birth place of the student uprising that later spread across South Africa. The sprawling cluster of townships is today home to over 2 million detribalized and largely streetwise people - the biggest black urban settlement in Africa. Luckily the Jones are cool with that - they have actually moved from Durban to Joburg and like it here, so they were the best guides into the contemporary Soweto. So we hoped on, David, Sam, little Layla and us two, on the family ‘bus’, and took a long Saturday drive through Soweto. No guns, no paranoia, no expectations.

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Daca te astepti la mizerie si bande de delicventi, Soweto dezamageste. Strazile sunt asfaltate, casele variaza de la din ce in ce mai putine baraci improvizate, pana la vile de bun gust. Am vazut capitale africane care aspira la un astfel de context urban, ca sa nu mai vorbim de anumite orase de pe la noi. In fata restaurantului celebru in toata lumea - parcare pazita si un autcar de turisti care benchetuiau inauntru la un fantastic bufet agrementat cu muzica live.

If one expects decrepit misery and menacing gangs, Soweto will disappoint. Homes are ranging from makeshift shacks to extravagant mansions, and a local lingo - tsotsitaal - an eclectic mix of several local languages, Afrikaans and street slang - has been developed and is used mainly by the young. We have seen far worse looking African capitals, not to mention certain East European towns. We parked in the guarded (!!!!) parking lot in front of the famous Wandie’s. Inside a bus-load of tourist were enjoying the excellent buffet with live music.

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Mancarea: fusion sud-african cu bucatarie zulu si xhosa. Chiar si inghetata cu fructe la desert. Noua nu ni s-a parut deloc inspaimantator. Ne-a placut in special atchar, o salata iute de morcovi murati.

The food was a fusion of south-african and tribal cuisine. Even ice cream and fruit for pudding. Not threatening at all. We loved the atchar, a spicy pickled carrot relish.

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Casa lui Mandela nu ne-a inspaimantat mai mult. E adevarat ca a fost reconstruita si transformata intr-un mic muzeu demn de orice tara occidentala. Asta i-a luat ceva din autenticitate. Se afla la intersectia strazilor Vilakazi si Ngakane, chiar in Orlando Vest, cartierul cu care a inceput istoria Soweto, unde mai exista cateva baruri traditionale (shebeen), din pacate si acestea adaptate pentru turismul de masa. Casa a fost construita in 1945 si Mandela s-a mutat in ea in 1976, insa  locuit aici sporadic, intorcandu-se pentru 11 zile dupa eliberarea din inchisoare din Insula Robben in 1990. 

The Mandela House looked even less scary. It true that it’s been rebuilt and re-opened as a world-class museum in 2009. Located at 8115 Orlando West, the first township of Soweto, where few authentic shebeens (bush bars) still exist. The house was originally built in 1945 on the corner of Vilakazi and Ngakane Streets and Nelson Mandela moved here in 1976, but spent little time living in the house in the ensuing years as his political agenda became all-consuming. 

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Nascut in 1918 in Mvezo, langa Qunu, fiul mainii drepte a sefului din Tembe, Nelson Mandela a fost de mic educat in Transkei pentru a deveni la randul sau o capetenie. Mai tarziu va deveni membru fondator al ligii de tineret a ANC, actualul partid la putere in RAS. Rolul sau in reformarea partidului in anii ‘40 si in initierea luptei pentru incetarea apartheid a fost esential. In 1994 Mandela a devenit primul presedinte democratic ales in sufragiu multi-rasial si personalitatea-cheie pentru a unifica o tara si o administratie puternic divizate. Astazi castigatorul din 1993 al premiului Nobel pentru pace (distinctie pe care o imparte cu fostul presedinte sud-african de Klerk) este unanim recunoscut ca un pacifist si negociator de elita. In ‘The Long Walk to Freedom’ Nelson Mandela vorbeste despre aceasta prima locuinta din Soweto: ’ Era departe de a fi ceva grandios, dar a fost primul meu camin cu adevarat al meu si am fost mandru de el. Un barbat nu este barbat decat atunci cand are o casa a sa.’

Born in 1918 at Mvezo, near Qunu, son of a chief councilor to the paramount chief of the Tembe, Mandela spent early childhood in the Transkei, being groomed to become a chief. Later, he become founding member of the youth League of ANC, invigorated in the 40s the present SA ruling party and became a key figure in the uprising and subsequent fight for freedom and reconciliation during his imprisonment on Robben Island and after  his february 1990 release, when he returned for a brief 11 days to 8115. In 1994 Nelson Mandela became SAR’s first president voted in democratic multi-racial elections, uniting both the country’s racial groupings and a fragmented public service. Today the 1993 Nobel Prize winner (award shared with former SA president F. W. de Klerk, a key figure in ending apartheid) symbolizes the struggle of oppressed people around the world, and is universally considered a quintessential peacemaker & negotiator. In ‘The Long Walk to Freedom’ Nelson Mandela said about this house: ‘It was the opposite of grand, but it was my first true home of my own and I was mightily proud. A man is not a man until he has a house of its own.’ 

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Sunt nu unul, ci chiar doua shopping mall-uri in Soweto.

There are not one, but two shopping malls in Soweto.

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Iar cel mai infricosator lucru despre Soweto din zilele noastre este probabil bungee-ul dintre cele doua turnuri de apa mazagalite de artistii graffitti locali

And the scariest fact about Soweto might possibly be the bungee hung between the two graffitti-ed water towers

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Calatorului ii sta bine cu drumul/ Time To Go

OK, eram plimbati, odihniti, mancati, cu macar o viza rezolvata. Mai aveam de lipit cortul, in care ploua de luni de zile, asa ca am luat niste musama din mall-ul indian si am tras niste prenandez.

OK, we were well trotted, rested, fed and with at least one new visa sorted out. Our next task was to patch the tent, that has been leaking for months. So we bought some waterproof material from Oriental Plaza and glued it on the damaged seams.

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Nimeni nu se bucura de ramas bun

Nobody was happy to say good-bye

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Un ultim potje de miel - tocana traditionala gatita cu orele la ceaun

A last finger-licking lamb potje - traditional South-African hot pot slowly cooked for many hours 

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Si o luna bizar de stralucitoare, se pare ca nu a mai fost asa de sute de ani

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Apus peste Johannesburg… Ne va fi dor de acest skyline.

Sunset over Joburg… We’ll miss this skyline.

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