Saturday, July 29, 2006

The View From the Gauteng Legislature Building

It's a funny thing, the New South Africa. After taking over the old Johannesburg City Hall complex and turning it into the legislative assembly for the new 'Gauteng' province (essentially the old Witwatersrand region), presumably to make it pride of place for the province, they seemed to have forgotten what is all around them.. When one stands directly in front of the Legislature building, this is the view one has to the north (note the flagpoles!)


And below, a closeup of the view:

And below this is view one has to the east, or directly in front of you (the old Rissik Street Post Office. In 2003, the building, which has been empty since 1996, had its clock hands, bell and the entire copper dome stolen.) Below, some close-ups;


And below, this is the view one has to the south, I think it was a department store in the 'bad" old days, but now it's just another empty ruin, partially occupied by squatters.

19 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not too computer literate with the data you mention.
The Department Store was The Belfast corner President and Market ,sister of Greatermans Store,President and Joubert and Ackermans, in Rissik Street.

3:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding the Legislature Precinct. Firstly, the plans, in existence, to improve the area are massive and require great care to ensure money is not wasted. (Some of) The buildings you refer to in these pictures are heritage sites, they are protected and can't just be developed by anyone. It is frustrating that plans and talks have to occur before the public sees action on the ground. But if there were no regulations in place we would have lost these invaluable historic buildings. The degredation of the city has happened, the rejuvenation of the city is happening right now.

3:08 PM  
Blogger AmaKya said...

The first building is the Barbican Building built by my Grandmonther and her brother, Alice Fabic and Henry Hiemann. It was sold in the late to early seventies. To see it in such a sad condition is indeed very troubling.

Peter - San Antonion - USA

11:24 PM  
Blogger The Real Realist said...

Anonymous said...
Regarding the Legislature Precinct. Firstly, the plans, in existence, to improve the area are massive and require great care to ensure money is not wasted. (Some of) The buildings you refer to in these pictures are heritage sites, they are protected and can't just be developed by anyone. It is frustrating that plans and talks have to occur before the public sees action on the ground. But if there were no regulations in place we would have lost these invaluable historic buildings. The degredation of the city has happened, the rejuvenation of the city is happening right now.


You miss the point: Why are these buildings now in the condition they are?
When I used to work in JHB CBD 1985-1988 they didn't look like that.
What has changed to make them into ruins? I think you and I both know the answer to that.

12:33 PM  
Anonymous qynch said...

Barbican was a grand buidling, NE of the City Hall; i spent many minutes in the Rissik st post office mailing and enjoying the cool interior.
Opposite the Rissik ST PO was the Old Pub and National Bank building

10:13 PM  
Anonymous Joburgboy said...

What has changed to make them into ruins? I think you and I both know the answer to that.

What has changed, is that reality hit.

Those squaters were always there, but they were swept under the rug and kept at a safe distance from the city. Far enough to be kept out of view, but close enough to ensure that people got up at 5 o'clock in the morning to sweep your kitchen floor.

So sorry, 'realist,' that your darling department store has disappeared from there, but at least some people have a roof over their heads. But I don't think you even think about that, do you?

And by the way... worried about the department store going away? I invite you to open your eyes and observe the amount of growth that is taking place in the retail industry in this country. And I invite you to participate in it. Because at the end of the day, you're the one that's missing out.

And Peter from San Antonia - the Barbican is now owned by Old Mutual, who are hanging on to it for a developer to seize it. And trust me... that will happen soon.

10:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have left SA, and now reside in NZ(22days), I dont want to keep coming back to these websites, but its like watching a train crash, you know the train cant get off the track and people will die, but you just keep watching-hoping something will save those poor people. I dont "get" these "positive" idiots like one or two of the above, but just remember that in America allmost 50% of the people disagree with Mr Bush, and they all have access to the same set of facts. I believe this has to be a personal choice and leave "patriotism", "racism", in fact all the isms out of it. At the end of the day on the Uvver hand Daryn, everyone has his own reality, and nobodys "reality' is invalid to that person. You gotta do whats best for you and your famly. I have - and I must admit people over here just look at you blankly when you try and tell them your story, I've stopped now, and am trying to move forward with my life, believe me, nobody else gives a damn. It's that old traincrash story all over again, they will watch in morbid fascination, but at some level, they are actually glad it's happening, coz after all - out there in SAFRICA are some people even worse off than what they perceive themselves to be. To the guys who believe there is a future in South Africa. There are 6 million (dead)jews who thought there was a future under Hitler, who knows how many people in Zimbabwe, Uganda, mozambique, Rwanda, DRC, Sudan, Ethiopia, Bosnia, Serbia........etc etc the list just goes on. As someone once said, If it looks like a turd, smells like a turd and has flies on it---what kind of twat calls it a rose. maslow or somebody else had a lot to say about what humans need to find happiness. I say that human beings are incredibly stupid and have a boundless capacity for self deception (must be that id,ego,superego whatever. I love looking out my window with no bars on it.

2:12 AM  
Blogger Zappy! said...

I Sorry For your country, but history repeats itself, I'm an Iraqi, my country used to be butiful too..once know when I see these pictures it breaks my Heart, I always thought that SA was a wonderful country, until I saw so many SA's in Baghdad, and how edgy they are.

Ignorance & poverty are the main cause of the falling of nations.

Zappy!
Baghdad- Iraq

10:08 AM  
Blogger Zappy! said...

I Sorry For your country, but history repeats itself, I'm an Iraqi, my country used to be butiful too..once know when I see these pictures it breaks my Heart, I always thought that SA was a wonderful country, until I saw so many SA's in Baghdad, and how edgy they are.

Ignorance & poverty are the main cause of the falling of nations.

Zappy!
Baghdad- Iraq

10:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you been IN the Legislature building? I had the unfortunate experience of doing that a couple of years ago. The main entrance was locked and you went in through a small side entrance. The place stank of urine, was unpainted and filthy. Needless to say the service matched.

We left SA 3 years ago. We've never regretted it

wislon32

8:43 AM  
Blogger anrol said...

what would be interesting would be to get some older pictures of these buildings - how they were in their glory days. the steady decline is excaptionally noticeable, everywhere you look. Has anyone seen or read anything about the Ponti lately - the central core is basically the rubbish tip for the inhabitants.

A trip through time, with regards to pictures, would be quite interesting I think. I really like this website - and the photo stories are good, they open your eyes to the dereliction that we have in this country.

The bits and pieces about the buildings being heritage sites is even more saddening - if these are heritage sites, why are they not being cared for, or at least maintained? Surely that would increase tourism, and employ some of the unemployed to clean the streets, pick up rubbish etc.....

There is one building in town that always blows my mind - I am not sure what it is called - but I call it the Triangle building - the road splits and runs on either side of it, the architecture is beautiful. I think we as South Africans, all of us - pink black yellow and white, green - whatever colour - need to stop looking at everything in terms of what it stood for - look at it as what it is, which in alot of cases is fantastic architecture.

10:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

could you please enlighten us as to the goings on in durban.Does the gorgeous city of Durbs look like Joey's.I may be out the country but is there ever a place like home.............

12:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The author of the first comment has a bad memory and wayward geography. Belfast corner was in Rosebank (later becoming Greaterman's corner). The building in the view looking south was, in the late 1970s and 1980s, a branch of Woolworths.

7:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Durbs doesn't look to great either. Last time I went there before emigrating 2 years ago. The whole Marine Parade area looked like it needed a good cleanup and a coat of paint. It appears that most people nowadays rather go to Umhlanga.

5:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joburgboy! Welcome to Texas... Now go Home! It`s San Antonio that Peter lives in, not San Antonia...

8:04 PM  
Anonymous neo said...

When were these posted??? it seems to be a while back!!

Neo

2:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WELCOME TO DETROIT!!!!!

9:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

amongst the ruins of civilisation

all beauty and greatness of western european spirit under de-construction by liberalism

2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny anonymous, we have buildings in Winnipeg that are marked as historic sites and are sitting vacant (for sometimes up to 5 years) until they are brought up to fire code, no smashed windows though. I guess people back in Joburg just don’t give a shit about history.

To state that one only sees improvement once action on the ground starts is ludicrous. Its people that destroyed the buildings in the first place, its nothing but vandalism. Get your head read.

6:31 AM  

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