I still love the look on people’s face when I reply that I live in Jhb CBD.
It’s #thatawkwardmoment that says “huh, can you say that again?”, “what do you mean?” or my favourite “are you struggling to make ends meet?”.
Today we’re exactly 6 months into our stay in the city. And in my 9 year love affair with Jozi that’s spanned 7 different apartments/townhouses and other match boxes, if I’m honest, this is the first one I can truly call home.
A friend recently sent me a forwarded email that contained a slideshow titled “The Death of Johannesburg”. It is sad to see how things once were to where they are today. I’ve heard the stories. Carlton Centre was the place to be and be seen. Hard to imagine. But I prefer to look forward.
There’s an energy in the city that I love. I can’t put my finger on it. It’s not about the buzz at rush hour – I know that because I feel it even at night, at midnight as I write this – and there isn’t a person or a car about.
As a Capetonian, I have to say that Cape Town CBD has a different kind of sexiness to Jhb CBD – it has the benefit of the backdrop of Table Mountain and a sea view in the front. Yes, I’m bias & haven’t ever been, but not even New York could beat that for me.
There’s an unmistakeable feeling of hope in Jhb CBD as everyone rushes around doing their thing, but its more than hope, it’s a feeling of rejuvenation. Key indicators of the city’s rebirth is the uber cool Maboneng Precinct – bringing young people back to live in the city by creating a self sufficient community of living spaces, shops, restaurants, a cinema, a theatre and offices space – and all very sleekly I might add.
More than the weekly actual events themselves, what I love about the Market on Main and the Neighbourgoods Market is that they bring people who would otherwise not be inclined to come (the “it’s too dangerous brigade”) back to see not only that the city is ok, but it’s pretty cool too. Then there’s our world class the transport systems like Reya Vaya and the Gautrain – reminders, if you needed one that we live in a world class city.
There are also some very practical personal reasons I love living in the city. The first is being 3.6kms from my office. I’ve done the math and this puts about 17 days back into my life every year. That said, somehow I tend to be the last person to walk into the office everyday! Secondly is the endless options of halaal food available in nearby Fordsburg – don’t underestimate actually having a full menu of (meat) options to choose from – heaven! Between just these points it feels like the quality of my day-to-day life has tripled.
I’ve recently taken up running – yes, in the city and you see the streets very differently on foot. There’s so much to see and take it in I have to remind myself to keep running and keep my eye on the road. It’s amazing rubbing shoulders with the bustling crowds and being able to touch and see everything you usually just see on postcards, or in my case, from behind the wheel of my car.
I thought for a split second about sharing some of the “Death of Johannesburg” pics but in the spirit of moving forward and the hope that I feel on the streets every day, I thought I’d rather share some of our current favourites taken recently instead.
More than ever, Jozi, I lust you.