It is said that all roads lead to Joburg. Whether you travel from the coast or the N1 you will find yourself in Johannesburg. This saying feels like Joburg has some kind of magnetic pull that is inevitable in everyone’s life. Perhaps it is. It is true for me, a Cape Town girl that never believed to venture beyond the peripheries of the greater city. I recently moved here because my husband, Steve, got a job here—which is usually the most common factor that attracts people from all over South Africa.
Upon hearing that all roads lead to Joburg is usually negatively received, but I realise now it is actually quite thrilling. The city of gold is one of the most influential hubs in South Africa, and possibly Africa. So it is no wonder Joburg holds the reins of money, labour, and politics in our country. Joburg is growing at such a fast rate it is beginning to swallow up Pretoria and extend to the outer limits of the Gauteng Province.
Coming from Cape Town I had perceptions of Joburg being a place concerned with crime, dullness, and malls. Perhaps if one were more pretentious, the perception would be more along the lines of ‘bad taste’. There are A LOT of malls, and many places are dull, but Joburg has however surprised me. Of course I miss the mountains and the sea but Joburg has something different to offer.
Central Joburg actually has a concrete skyline that is not only daunting but mysterious too. After a visit to the Great Dane one Friday night, my GPS decided to direct me straight through Joburg, yes, Joburg—Joburg. I wasn’t sure if we would make it out alive. The streets we drove through were completely empty, as if the apocalypse decided to hit just that area. But the buildings were simply majestic and fascinating. Old and new, as if they desired to have more life in them, but simultaneously has secrets to tell. The city completely captivated me.
Capitivating? Absolutely. I do not advise driving through central Joburg, unless you are going to one of the newly trendy ‘reclaimed’ areas, and know how to get to a highway on- or off-ramp quickly! But even so, Joburg has proved to have so much potential, and so much S P A C E. That is why it is so exciting, diverse and opportunistic.
So… this is where I stand: I am not native to the fast-pace quick-thinking Joburger life style, but I am here to explore and embrace; to find and seek all that this city has to offer and the great potential that lies along its roads. Are you in?