I have never really been a fan of Johannesburg. There’s something scary about the city limits being that expansive and about never knowing quite where you are because there is no presiding mountain to light your way. I also think that in the past, I have always been to the North and to visit family, so I didn’t get to see other parts of Jozi that appeal to my sense of being. Until now…
One of the places I visited this weekend was the effortlessly epic Love and Revolution in Melville. Owned by my two favourite people, this political bookstore, slash coffee shop, slash place to meet spirited individuals is a reflection of who they are. It’s a space that’s bursting with personality, conscious energy, honest food and heavy handed drinks. It’s a place to chill out with your laptop and a bottle of Coke-a-cola, with well-worn Converse All Stars on furniture that should be in someones lounge. It’s where all the inner-city kids in Jozi seem to hang out. The artsy crowd, the triumvirate of film-media-fashion and those that simply feel a kinship with that kind of free-thinkingness, seem to gravitate to 7th Street. And stay there all afternoon until they all decide to change venues. So the friends you met over a toasted cheese sandwich this morning end up being your dinner companion, that buy you your first tequila…and hold your hand through to the last. For lack of a less pretentious term , it’s a completely organic space that grows with and through the truth of those that go there.
So about the restaurant side of Love and Revolution. Their menu is concise and you probably won’t ever get the exact same sandwich you did the last time because they source whatever is freshest or in season. On the contrary, you can always bank on the knowledge that there will be freshly baked rye or ciabatta with a single serving of freshly brewing fair trade coffee, courtesy of Bean There. You can also rest assured that if you order a Bang Bang cocktail that there will probably be just over a tot waiting to warm you from the inside.
At Love and Revolution, nothing is exact, nothing is measured, it just is. That goes for greetings, hugs, warmth and good energy. And I have to admit, being there, laying on the two-seater on 7th, has changed my view of Jo’burg.
So while I do love Cape Town and our beautiful array of mirrors and smoke and familiar layers of Eurocentrics, Jozi is the quintessential African city. My brother described it as “the ugly sister that had to make up for it with personality”. And I couldn’t agree with him more. Jozi, you have not seen the last of me.
Love and Revolution supports local talent. So drop by and enjoy Buskers Sundays, poetry readings or perhaps a gig by Uju. Check out their web site or Facebook page for all the latest details on what’s happening in the South of Jozi.
Shop 4B, 7th Street, Melville
011 482 1037