Jozi rules: Blowing hot and cold about SA’s coolest city
Two tales of one city: new book highlights the ultimate love/hate relationship with the City of Gold
Bradley Kirshenbaum is the man who put the “Oh!” into Jozi. The creative brain who, close on 15 years ago, stylised the city’s skyline, slapped a copyright on the graphic, and registered the trademark “Love Jozi”. He saw something in the rancid old bat of a city that most didn’t: its coolth. He started out with a witty T-shirt brand and, along with his partner Jacques van der Watt, expanded it to a gift and product range. Not only hip, it was also cool with a conscience, its view slightly askance, both urban and urbane.
They planted olive trees in the inner city, summoned growers and designers to form the Market on Main in Maboneng and for once, on weekends, people flowed in from the suburbs instead of the other way around. The energy around it pooled and spread out, and suddenly it seemed certain words were in the air: rejuvenate, regenerate, revive, renew. Downtown Jozi was being resurrected.
More than a decade later, the time was ripe for a book to chronicle Love Jozi’s reflexive relationship with the city. It is titled, not surprisingly, I Love You I Hate You: A Book About Love, Hate, a City, and Lots of T-Shirts...