I spent the past week working in Johannesburg. Since moving to the farm my office stamina has seriously diminished, but it is always good to spend time with my colleagues and to feel connected again. Time in the city reminds me how lucky I am to have the opportunity to move between my two worlds, but it also reminds me how stressed my life used to be. Working remotely shields one somewhat from the relentless day-to-day demands of the office, and of course living on the farm takes one away from daily irritations like traffic.
Below are some photos of central Pretoria from the 20th floor of our building. The big black building on the left of this photo is the South African Reserve Bank.
We also have gorgeous views of the Union Building, which is where the office of the President is located. The beautiful sandstone building was designed by Sir Herbert Baker in 1910 to commemorate South Africa’s Union-status.
After work I am usually busy catching up with friends and family. This week I managed to see quite a few people. The best way to see my sister is to join her on one of her power walks through the suburbs, usually on a Sunday. For added cardio, she usually includes the Westcliff steps in her walk. I love going with her, if only to catch glimpses of the gorgeous views over the city.
I grew up in a neighbourhood called Saxonwold, which has very beautiful tree-lined streets. It is also situated next to the Joburg zoo, which is like a great big park. One can often hear the lions roaring at night and spot game through the fence whilst walking. The Anglo-Boer War Memorial is situated at the top end of the zoo and forms part of the Museum of Military History. The memorial was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, who was a contemporary of Sir Herbert Baker. He also designed India Gate in Delhi, which looks very similar. The memorial was originally dedicated to the British soldiers who died in the second Boer War, but in 1999 it was re-dedicated to “the men, women and children of all races and all nations who lost their lives in the Anglo-Boer War, 1899-1902”. One of my very favourite views in Joburg is the Angel at sunset. Somehow it always makes me feel at peace.
Most of my Joburg family live within a 10 minute radius of each other in this area, including my grandparents, Koos and Hannatjie van der Wat, who have lived in the same house in Saxonwold since 1955. My grandparents are truly amazing and we are so lucky to still have them in our lives. My grandmother turned 89 on 2 July and my grandfather will follow her shortly on the 11 August. I had dinner with them at my uncle’s house on Thursday night and I can’t believe how great they are looking. So stylish and elegant. This year they have been married for 64 years! My grandfather only retired from his work as a gynaecologist last year. My grandmother is an artist and she is still painting and exhibiting. What amazing role models to have in my life!