The Grandest Urban Slum In The World

“On the 13th and 14th floor, you could get anything from a blow-job to an acid trip in a few minutes. Essentially, the building was hijacked.”

In his penthouse apartment on the 52nd floor, Mike Luptak is talking about the bad old days when Ponte, the tallest residential building in the southern hemisphere, fell into the hands of drug dealers, gangsters, pimps, and prostitutes. The inner core of this 173-meter high concrete cylinder became a giant rubbish tip piled up as far as the fifth floor. Among the refuse and junk were, so legend has it, the bodies of residents who took a suicidal leap.

A great deal has changed since then. Featured in newspaper articles, photography exhibitions, documentaries, and movies, Ponte has come to symbolize the rise and fall and rise again of South Africa’s commercial capital. It is part of an innery renaissance in recent years that has seen previous no-go areas turned into gourmet food markets, artists’ studios, and trendy apartments.

The young middle class is moving back into Ponte 40 years after it first opened its doors amid a surge of optimism and wall-to-wall shag carpeting. Johannesburg, an economic engine and magnet for immigrants, can claim to be the New York of Africa, so this audacious experiment in skyscraper homes, designed by 29-year-old architect Rodney Grosskopf, was the height of aspiration for apartheid’s ruling white minority.

“Through the 1970s, this was the crème de la crème of living,” says Luptak, 30, who gave up his job as a chartered accountant to run youth projects here. “If you had this address, you were part of the in-crowd.”

In those days the surrounding area, Hillbrow, was a vibrant multicultural hub of bookshops and cafes. But not for long. By the 1980s the middle class was fleeing to the suburbs, and by the 1990s Hillbrow – home to immigrants from the rest of Africa – became rife with drugs, poverty, prostitution, gun crime, and urban degradation, and Ponte was dragged down with it.

This was, perhaps, the tallest and grandest urban slum in the world, a gravity-defying dystopia that might have sprung from the imagination of a science fiction writer. It is said two floors were stripped bare and, along with the downstairs parking lot, became an informal brothel. Luptak adds: “From a kitchen sink, there was a tomato plant growing with tomatoes the size of tennis balls.”

By the late 1990s, there was talk of turning Ponte into a prison. But then, in 2001, it began a journey to redemption. Its owner, the Kempston Group, hired a husband-and-wife management team, Elma and Danie Celliers, to set about its rehabilitation. A decade later, almost all 54 floors had been refurbished, many from scratch, with around 2km of electrical wiring and sanitary piping used on each. Eight lifts had been refurbished.

Quinton Oosthuizen, construction and maintenance manager for Ponte, who led the team clearing out its central core, told South Africa’s Mail & Guardian newspaper: “It was nasty; we pulled out some very funny things. Anything from mattresses, rubble, loose steel, kitchen and bathroom fittings – even dead stray cats.”

To stand in the core today craning one’s neck is to feel like an ant gazing up the inside of a monumental concrete tree. At the top is a blue disc of the sky. Ponte is now home to up to 3,000 middle- and working-class people including young professionals, students, and Congolese, Nigerian, and Zimbabwean immigrants.

Luptak’s 120-square -meter home is pleasantly furnished with porcelain tiles, wooden floors, a granite kitchen top, hanging plants, three chandeliers, a flatscreen Samsung TV with a sound system, and a framed picture of Jimi Hendrix. His north-facing window offers a stupendous view, including the FNB stadium that hosted the 2010 football World Cup opening game and final. For this, he pays just 5,100 rands (£279) per month.

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Best Institutes For Online MBA Programs

A lot of colleges are starting their programs with many students across the world. The benefit of these universities is that the students can enroll. Listen to classes from the comfort of their homes. This is done through online classes. So here we give you the top three MBA online programs for January.

Top Three MBA Online Programs

1. Lehigh University

The Lehigh MBA offers total adaptability to go to nearby. Through distance-empowered live classes on a case-by-case basis. Understudies register for courses at their own speed with sections focuses on fall, spring or summer. Lehigh’s thorough educational program, planned by staff with genuine experience, and little classes along with our gifted proficient understudies, give an exceptionally captivating scholastic setting.

50 best colleges for online MBA

2. University of Washington

The Hybrid MBA Program is a work-viable, all-day alternative from the highest level. Licensed University of Washington Foster School of Business. Instructed by Foster’s great MBA personnel, this two-year, group-based intuitive program is intended for mid-vocation experts. They need adaptability not offered by customary programs. The first of its sort offered by Foster, the Hybrid consolidates the thoroughness and notoriety of a Foster MBA. The advantageous timetable of online coursework and quarterly in-person meetings. Made to fit a bustling way of life, the Hybrid empowers working guardians, continuous business voyagers, and youthful experts to realize where they are while additionally exploiting the district’s one of a kind, dynamic, and creative business local area to propel their professions

Best colleges Online MBA

3. Villanova University

The application cutoff time for the online programs at Villanova University, a non-public school, is rolling. Almost 100% of understudies are as of now utilized when they were initially selected. For these projects, most of the online classes are recorded and filed. Understudies ought to likewise take note that the Read More

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