What’s hot and what’s not about life in Johannesburg

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Living-in-Joburg meme

When the ‘what I’m really doing’ meme themes were all the rage a while ago, this one was one of my favourites (can’t recall now where I sourced it though :/). I discovered it again on my PC the other day and thought to write a post about living in Jozi.

What’s hot about Jo’burg

  1. Johannesburg’s weather is mostly pleasant all year. Being the sunflower that I am, I thrive on the fact that we have an average of 3182 hours of sunshine each year 🙂 Divide that by 12 for a 12-hour day and you get approximately 265 sunny days in the year.
  2. Jozi is green. I mean, for a big bustling city on the dry continent of Africa, this is one leafy CBD! We have millions and millions of trees of all shapes, sizes and colours filling the sidewalks and gardens and parks of Johannesburg. It’s beautiful. And I’m proud to say that in her own small way, my mom was involved in planting street trees in our old neighbourhood many years ago. I’d still love to plant a tree of my own one day too…
  3. This central city of the Gauteng province is a good place to live for another practical reason: it’s where the jobs are at. There’s a massive concentration of industries and workers in Jo’burg – I guess things haven’t changed much since it began as a gold-mining town back in 1886.
  4. Johannesburg is a multicultural melting pot. We have citizens and visitors from all around the world, bringing their cultural influences, cuisine and languages to this busy city. Go to any shopping mall on a given day and you’ll hear almost all of our 11 national languages spoken, as well as many others such as German, Portuguese, French and so on. In other words: you don’t need to travel far to meet someone interesting!
  5. And last on this shortlist, Jozi is a central location leading to other great spots in South Africa and in the neighbouring countries. Our OR Tambo International Airport is one of the largest on the continent, which makes sense considering that Jo’burg is second only to Cairo in the bid for the largest African city. Land at OR Tambo and within a few hours you can be out in the bush (think Kruger National Park) or on your way to the coast at Durban. It’s a gateway to exploring other parts of Southern Africa.

What’s not so hot about Jo’burg

  1. Uppermost on every Joburger’s mind of late is the new e-toll policy that the government is trying to force on the residents of Gauteng province. Just google ‘Johannesburg e-toll news’ if you don’t know what I’m referring to. On top of rising petrol costs and all the other taxes and dues we pay, the government has decided to charge us for using the most useful highways around the city. We’re all still waiting to see how this one plays itself out…
  2. Sometimes the disadvantages to something are just the flipside of the advantages. In Jozi we have an exciting cultural melting pot, but that can quickly become a boiling pot when cultures clash. Again, google ‘Johannesburg xenophonia attacks’ if you’re curious.
  3. Being the biggest South African city goes hand in hand with overcrowding, poverty, illegal dwellings and townships. Tourists often think Soweto (our largest township) makes for an exciting tour, but it also represents some of the most desparate circumstances some Jo’burg residents must live in.
  4. Jozi started with the gold rush, and now both the gold and the rush are the foundation of this city. Joburgers are known for being materialistic, pushy, hard and rushed. Ninja and I grab every chance we can get to break away from the rush and try to live an anti-city life with a bit of margin in it.
  5. Finally, the classic bad news linked to Johannesburg, South Africa: it’s among the most dangerous cities in the world. Figures vary for just how dangerous it is compared to, say, places like Honduras. But Jozi remains full of crime and shady characters, with so much murder, rape and other violent crime that it’s too depressing to contemplate.

Thankfully, Ninja and I know that no one place is any more or less dangerous for us, because we’re always in the same place: in the protective hands of our Heavenly Father. If His will is to keep us safe even in Jo’burg of all places, or if not, we can trust that He has us exactly where He wants us 🙂

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2 responses »

  1. I love all your posts – but this one is wonderful. It’s always an inspiration to me to learn about how my friends view their circumstances and share their lives. I’ve been in church and listened to missionaries talk about life in other countries my whole life, but this describes your culture on a personal level. Thanks for sharing. When we get to heaven won’t it just be the perfect thing to meet each other? I want to meet your parents. They raised such a sweet, talented and God-honoring woman.

    • Wow Jane, thank you for that very kind and humbling comment! It would be wonderful to meet you; amazing to think we’re family already thanks to the adoption into God’s family! 🙂

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