Friday, March 11, 2011

A mini Hillbrow sneak peak!

I'm assuming you all know that Hillbrow is bad. It's terrible, not worth a visit, dead to the world and oh're going to get shot if you go there, right? wrong! A while back I fancied a trip to the Brow and an extremely fantastic, culture-loving, diverse friend of mine agreed to accompany me. So it was that Mark, Dirk, Maxine and I ventured in the deep, dangerous depths of Hillbrow...only to find that it wasn't so deep and dangerous at all. In fact it was pretty damned marvellous!

Hillbrow was a bustling middle-class neighborhood until the end of Apartheid rule. Hillbrow's then white middle-class fled to the suburbs, making way for immigrants from across the country and the disadvantaged black community. Unfortunately, the population soared, crime grew rampant and it became a no-go area for visitors. Thankfully, things are changing and it's great to have witnessed the positive, friendly atmosphere first hand!

We had barely been walking for 3 minutes, when Mark jumped across the street to two men who looked...well, lets just say I wouldn't want to run into them in a dark ally.  It turned out that they wanted photographs and we landed up practicing our gangster poses for a good few minutes before moving on. We'd barely gone another ten meters when I had to stop and do a double-take at a fruit stall where they had the most amazing watermelons for R2.50. Yes, Please! I also poked my head into a few shops and loved the combo deals that they had packed out and the client service was something else!!!

There were fascinating objects, little shops and people around every corner and my heart felt so light being around those fantastic people. You can see that life is difficult, but somehow they have a permanent smile on their face and a welcoming hand to anyone and everyone. On our way back to the car, we passed a man making chicken on the side-walk and we had a great little conversation with him about his chickens, which unfortunately didn't quite grab my fancy. None the less, we all parted in laughter.

Further down the road we were again stopped by some rather eager photographic-subjects. They were picking up the refuse from Hillbrow and surrounds and took a 5 minute break to allow us to mingle and gave us some awesome photo opportunities!

From the people, to the shops, to the buildings Hillbrow was worth every second. I would definitely recommend stopping by if you're in the 'hood'

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