JOBURG “Through My Lens” by Brian Koping
With so many meticulously researched and painstakingly documented books on Johannesburg available, why did I feel it necessary to produce yet another? Johannesburg, or “Jozi” as it is affectionately called, is a dynamic city. It has undergone numerous changes in its lifetime of little more than a century, and the city centre and surrounds are presently undergoing an incredible R800 million metamorphosis which is presently becoming apparent.
The past two decades saw the steady decline of these areas with urban decay the order of the day. Town, per se, was not a place to be visited and going into Hillbrow was totally beyond belief, as was visiting Berea flatland.
This is changing rapidly as the result of concerted activity by Blue IQ, The Johannesburg Development Agency, the Johannesburg City Council and members of the business community. There is a move afoot to reclaim Hillbrow. Penthouse apartments are being created in the City Centre and Braamfontein and are being bought for astronomical sums. The face of the city is changing. The change is being spurred on by the advent of the Soccer World Cup to be held in the Republic in 2010.
When the changes are complete, I feel “Jozi” will be a very different place, hence this book to mark the transition from the “Jozi” we knew to “Jozi” after the extreme make-over.
I arrived in the city in 1956, and over the years documented aspects of interest. I write neither definitive history books nor political prose. I like browsing though short items of interest and enjoy looking at pictures. That is what this book is all about. There will obviously be gaps as coverage makes no pretence of being a total blanket of information on the city.
I hope that those who take the time to peruse these pages will experience the same enjoyment as I did putting them together. This book is my view and experience of “Jozi”, past, present and future that I would like to share with you.