Sunday, 26 April 2009
Due to budget and time constraints this month, I decided to do something a little different. The last time I toured Johannesburg city was in my first year as a student at the Rand Afrikaans University (now called the University of Johannesburg) and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I decided to return for a brief tour, walking through the streets of a city that is usually considered to be dangerous, so much so that very few locals will trudge through on foot.
It's not that Johannesburg isn't dangerous...it's as dangerous as most cities, like New York...it has its dodgy areas etc and of course there'll be areas where you can't be traipsing around all by your onesy savvy. But in all the time I've spent in and out of the city, nothing tragic has occurred.
For first time visitors I'd have to say, travel in groups preferably with someone who is street smart and knowledgeable of the place (like me), don't be too paranoid but be alert and careful. And whatever you do, DONT look like a tourist.
I love the city. I love the vibe you get in the city…it’s like you can feel your pulse mesh with energy that’s generated from the life flowing in and out of the busy streets. I'm a city girl, born and bred and that much was evident when I made my way in the cold morning through various streetside stalls, shops, department stores and little mini malls.
The proliferation of Malls in South Africa from the mid 1990's meant that less people frequent the increasingly dangerous city and it's surrounds and opted for the safer and more convenient “all-in-one” that the Malls tend to offer. In the Gauteng Province, we have around 20 Malls, strategically placed all over the province, in and around Johannesburg and Pretoria.
Street Vendors selling vegetables on the sidewalk:
The mosque in which my grandfather served as Imaam for a number of years:
Nothing like hitting the road with the girls, early in the morning:
Doing girly things like go to Woolworths and check out the clothes/makeup and food :P
I know a lot of people consider Sandton to be the new “city”…and I do love Melrose Arch, but with that tinge of bourgeois pretentiousness that hangs in the air, I have to disagree. It’s more like an elite wannabe.
Jo’burg is still Jo’burg for me, and always will be. I was impressed by the concerted “city cleanup” effort and how they had progressed since the last time I was there. There are so many new contemporary structures, and older structures seem to be restored or renovated. I still have hope one day my city will be restored to it’s former glory.
I’ve taken a few pics with a camera phone because Sony is still keeping my baby hostage. However, it does no justice and cannot capture the atmosphere and the vibe of the place. I’ve had to borrow some pics from google too.
This work by Azra is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 South Africa License.