Melville is my stomping ground. She boasts a number of establishments that I frequent (none of which have painted over windows 😉 ) We love the people at Kyoto sushi, who welcome us with open arms. The charity shops (even those that smell of cat) have provided much of my wardrobe. Picobella and Lucky Bean serve delicious food and helped me to get my 7 year old to sit down at a table and not have to be entertained by a jumping castle. It’s always good to philosophise with Richard at Bookdealers or to pop into Eclipse or Resurrection for gifts. Bambanani has hosted some of my children’s birthday parties (and I pop in there for coffee and free wi-fi when Hellkom lets me down). I was treated by friends to a meal at The Leopard, well-deserved winner of the Bistro of the Year award. Koljander has provided snacks for parties when I’ve been too busy to bake. Dr Kathrada at Meldene Medicross might look too young to be qualified, but she’s nursed my daughters and I through many ailments. I love just about everything related to the Bamboo centre, but that is a whole blog on its own.
Melville might be on the up and up again now, but she saw a sharp decline, starting in the 1990s I think. Those who owned retail property found they had to allow tyre shops and so-called adult shops to rent space, which ruined the villagey feel of the suburb. Despite the decline, or maybe poetically because of it, Melville has continued to attract students and arty types – poets, actors, artists, musicians – even though not many of the local television shows are produced at the SABC offices in Auckland Park any more.
These days, Melville plays host to a few literary and artistic attractions – most notably the Fete de la Musique, an exchange/ collaboration between the French government and our own. Melville once again transforms into a bustling festival town, reminiscent of the Melville Mardi Gras, which attracted people from far and wide in the 1980s. There is music and dancing, food and drinks, the streets are closed off and vendors of all sorts bring out their wares and people of all shapes, sizes and hues come out to play. It’s a wonderfully festive day, which will hopefully continue to draw people back into this lovely old suburb.