Have you ever driven through the Joburg CBD and wondered how its teeming pavements and hodgepodge of skyscrapers were once a small, dusty camp of miners’ tents? Or meandered down a jacaranda-lined suburban street and thought about the old houses you pass? Joburg nut Marc Latilla did, and in between posting on his popular history blog, Johannesburg 1912, has put together a delightful coffee-table book all about the 132-year-old City of Gold.

What is particularly cool about this new volume, titled Johannesburg Then and Now (published by Penguin Random House SA), is that Latilla illustrates the passing of time through comparative photos. He has painstakingly sought out old snaps from various archives and juxtaposed them with new images. So, for example, there are two shots of the Barbican — built in 1929 and once the tallest building in Joburg.

It’s pictured in its sepia heyday and then recently, following a huge revamp that pulled it back from demolition by neglect.

Latilla has also unearthed original images of Joburg landmarks such as the Rand Club, Turffontein Racecourse, Market Square and Park Station. The pictures of the stately, mothballed part of the latter are particularly fascinating — a glimpse into an almost forgotten world. He has peppered the pages with snippets of history and lesser-known facts. This book is the ideal gift for Joburgers, the inquisitive and anyone with a penchant for the past.

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