Tag Archives: Johannesburg

Hunting Johannesburg’s first serial killer.

Mavis Davids struck a deal with the stranger in the big black car. Then she opened the passenger door, got in, and disappeared into the night. It was 1937 and in Europe Hitler’s land grab continued, South Africa still struggled … Continue reading

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Behind bars for ‘a sliver of green’

There was enough grass to roll a spliff the size of a toothpick. Maybe half a toothpick. Not enough for a drag, or even to get high on. But that sliver of green, clinging to the bottom of the stamp-sized … Continue reading

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Bird mystery solved.

Mysteries in blurred photographs do sometimes get solved. Last week I posted a picture of a strange bird sitting on the wall of my garden. It didn’t appear in any local bird book and when I approached a couple of … Continue reading

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The Sandmen of Kya Sands

Their battle honours stretch back over a century, but on this night the Rand Light Infantry were on a different mission. Rioting had broken out in the informal settlement of Kya Sands to the north west of Johannesburg. Foreigners had … Continue reading

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Crime stories and tales cops tell

Empty bullet casings litter Sauer street, blue lights flash and a dejected robber sits handcuffed in the back of a police van. Cops and robbers had had a shoot out in the centre of Johannesburg, two people injured and a … Continue reading

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Revealed: How the cops tamed Hillbrow

Hillbrow on New Year’s eve is the stuff of journalist war stories. Media contingents squeeze into armoured Nyala vehicles then under heavy police escort head into the flatlands of Hillbrow. Fridges would fall from the high rises, bullets ping off … Continue reading

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Getting the crime in the quietest city in the world

  There is a ritual on the night shift at the paper. The night reporter has to do crime calls. What it means is phoning police spokespeople across the city of Johannesburg and asking them if anything is happening in … Continue reading

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Two victims of the fireworks on Grayson drive a pair of dogs, mad with fear

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Big fat Joburg

Vanity plates, cars the size of tugboats and egos bigger than orbiting planets. That is Joburg baby but then the men and women of this mining town have always had an inflated sense of importance, as writer Herman Charles Bosman … Continue reading

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When the census man returns. Part two, the mystery.

  Festus’s eyes had followed me for days. They stared at me as I walked up the street, and when I left the front gate. His eyes were on a poster, placed on a street lamp directly outside my house. … Continue reading

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