Ponte tower in Johannesburg has a checkered history. It started life as block of luxury flats for the wealthy whites during apartheid, but as apartheid’s grip on South Africa weakened, it was first abandoned, then reclaimed by people unable or unwilling to maintain the massive structure in the heart of the city’s increasingly dangerous CBD.
In the early 2000s, things started to look up when the owner of the building began minor refurbishments, and in 2008, the building was not only cleaned and renovated, but secured within an inch of its life. Not only is it full and safe for residents, but it has a long waiting list. It’s not perfect, but it has a new lease of life, and the story is a hopeful one, just like the story of Johannesburg itself.