It’s not my headline, but this is the third or fourth time I’ve written about the Tshimologong Precint in Joburg, and definitely the best: The grand vision for a homegrown Silicon Valley in one of Joburg’s most notorious neighbourhoods | ZDNet.
I’m currently involved in a campaign to try and stop a road being built through a local nature reserve, and one of my concerns is that whatever gets put in the plans won’t matter once building commences. Because roads are really badly made in Johannesburg. When I lived in Shoreham, a 100 yard pedestrianised area took nearly a year to finish because of the incredible layers of engineering and planning that went in to it. That was ridiculous. But so is the picture above. It’s the new intersection between Maxwell Drive and Old Pretoria Road – finished about three months ago.
This weekend it rained. Quite heavily. It’s the first rain this road has seen. And already it’s too flooded to drive on, causing traffic to back up and – eventually – the lights will fail.It hasn’t rained for 12 hours, and the pool of water is still there.
Quite how that happens is beyond me. It rains heavily for six months of the year here. You’d think someone would have remembered to put the storm drain in?
So yesterday was a bit of a breakthrough. After only a year of trying, I made some things with my 3D printer. The first (above) is a mount for the electronics. I found out that the reason I was only getting half-prints like this:
Then I made this:
It’s a waving octopus from Thingiverse. With his head caved in because I didn’t use enough infill, I think. Also, I think the extruder temperature is a bit too high, and the extruder itself was set a little low and melted some of the layers at the top.
Alien-looking rocks on Salt Rock beach, a set on Flickr.
While on holiday just north of Durban, in a little town called Salt Rock (complete with ‘Salty’s’ – the hard drinking bar for salted types) we came across a small area of these rocks.
They were just under a headland, so I assume the odd patterning is a result of multiple currents in the undertow and some pumice-like lava rock. I can’t find anything online which explains this kind of wear (primarily on the land-facing side of each rock), but it certainly looks cool.
I read this piece by Jay Naidoo at the Daily Maverick earlier, and there’s a quote in it from Nazma Akter, the general secretary of the Sommilito Garments.
Sramik Federation, turned to me and said, “We need people in the West to understand that there is nothing free. When you buy cheap clothing or buy one and get one free, realise that nothing is free. Someone has to pay. Here it is the workers with their lives. Our lives are cheap. While we know we have to fight for union rights here, our struggle is interconnected and global.”
It’s been going round in my head ever since, so I had to put it here to exorcise it somewhat. It should be printed above the doorway of every Truworths, Topshop and Macy’s in the world.
It’s soon going to be a year since I moved to South Africa, and I find I’m really having to fight the temptation to normalise so many of the things that are wrong here. Most of all it’s the constant refrain that somehow, economics justifies paying people less-than-subsistence wages and only by allowing economics to run free will they be saved.
Meanwhile, the relatives of the Marikana were just told that they have to pay their own legal expenses to be represented at the inquiry. Despite the fact that the only reason they’re there in the first place is because the family breadwinners were shot down by the police. And yet no-one seems outraged by this.
Microlighting in Johannesburg, a set on Flickr.
So this was my Christmas present from Tamsin. Which I finally cashed in. Today. A microlight flight over the outskirts of Johannesburg/Centurion, in a pretty spectacular part of the farm belt.
Back in Brighton, we’d watched people doing some new hang-gliding/microlighting crossover thing off of Devil’s Dyke, and I mentioned I’d always fancied trying it. And now I have. Lovely.
Views were amazing, but the headwinds were pretty strong – which meant the whole ride was quite bouncy. Got some good pics though.
Also, I saw bees. Apparently, they’re kept to pollinate the maize fields, and the hives are usually moved the hives down to Cape Town this time of year for the winter crop down there (it’s too dry in Joburg to grow maize at the moment). Which seems like a long way to take bees for a holiday to me.