BOOK REVIEW: New Joburg guide unearths historic treasures, quirky artefacts and the complexity of history’s telling
A book to carry with you as you seek out the gems many will pass by
Secret JohannesburgCI Bell and Lisa JohnstonJonglez Publishing What is history, if not a fable agreed upon? Whether this delightfully acerbic piece of cynicism was first noted by Napoleon Bonaparte or Voltaire, or in 1728 by Bernard Le Bovier de Fontenelle, is a moot point that does not detract from the power of the question. Mounted on the rocky slopes just outside the bustle of central Johannesburg are magnificent mansions packed with forgotten Victorian and war memorabilia, tucked beneath giant oaks that cast shade long before the Hillbrow Tower was imagined or Ponte flickered in the semi-dark night.
A few minutes from the order and decorum of stained glass and imported timber is the vibrancy of a pan-African city, or semi-ruins from an abandoned heyday, depending, of course, on the tint of your gaze. Secret Johannesburg is a fascinating guide for people who wish to discover the hidden face of one of Africa’s biggest cities. The book is small, so it is easy to carry while u...