Sanibonani kusuka kimi lapha eGoli.
Today I am reporting from the city of Johannesburg. Its said that this is a divided city – the poor mostly live in the southern suburbs or on the peripheries of the far north, and the middle class live largely in the suburbs of the central and north. This is my third visit in Johannesburg and for me its a special visit. I have come here while in a hurry to get somewhere else, and that place has always been East London in Eastern cape – a place I have called home for the times I have visited South Africa. Most of the friends that lived in East London are now back in Nairobi, today, it’s sad am not visiting East London.
Am here with my wife Naomi, we just got married and what a way to start our marriage. Jo’burg as they call it is a place full of life. Jo’burg is a vibrant, diverse, cosmopolitan city: a melting pot of nationalities, races, religions and cultures. It offers a unique blend of first-world sophistication and emerging market vitality. The City is renowned for its hospitality – possibly because many residents weren’t born here but have been attracted by the lively job market and upbeat lifestyle. Jo’burgers excel at making people feel welcome. As foreign investment continues to grow, Jo’burg is becoming home to large concentrations of foreign residents and it is not unusual to hear French, Portuguese, German, Italian, Greek, Hindi or Mandarin around town.
We started our trip here with a stay in Kempton Park, a town thats hosts the O R Tambo International Airport. Every morning we jogged the streets of Kempton Park. Took a Gautrain to Sandton, an Uber to Emperor Palace and a taxi back to our hotel. Since we arrived here everybody has been so kind to us so much that we have felt at home struggling in our Zulu disability. Many times I have visited here have not helped me in polishing my Zulu, I know a little of Xhosa but when you are in Jo’burg ‘Xhosa is a conquered tribe’ my phrasebook comes in handy.
We then moved to Riviera, down the streets after our drop at the Sandton Gautrain Station. This neighborhood is home to the Johannesburg Zoo and the Military Museum of South Africa. When jogging in the morning, we meet a lot of people jogging too. The park of the Lake Zoo is good for walks and relaxing and it offers nature lovers a peaceful time to enjoy and reflect on the sights and sounds. We have had the opportunity to visit this places, and we are grateful for the value they have added in making our trip memorable. One of the things we really wanted to do is the Bungee jump at the Orlando towers, well, we managed to get there after a lot of missed turns with our Cell C TUK TUK driver and when we finally did, we didn’t get the days right and we only managed to do a tour. The bungee jump starts on Thursday and ends on the Sunday, the other days they only do tours.
We have made two trips to Pretoria, one on the Metro Rail which took 1 hour and forty five minutes, with a million stops. When we finally got there we were so pressed for time we could manage only a walk on the streets and a few photos. Thank God that the following day, our Host organized another trip, we drove in his 2006 Lexus Sedan on the Gauteng road and in less 30 minutes we were in Pretoria. We spent the morning touring the downtown, Union building and the Freedom Park, and our afternoon at Voortrekker Monument.
Johannesburg is weird, because half of it is like Los Angeles. It feels like just wealthy parts of L.A. But half of it is severe slummy, something like Rio De Janiero or something. So it’s kind of weird, because it’s both happening at the same time. But this is home for many, the half wealthy and the half poor, going around with their toils, some in posh coupe convertible enjoy the nice roads, the N1, N2, N3s and others walking to find their destination. Some jogging around the Johannesburg Zoo, some cycling and some wondering why they have to live with animals in the city. Everybody here calls this home, and its been home for us too. But beauty, beauty is seen in everything, in the posh skies of Sandton or the poor streets of Orlando, we see beauty everywhere.
As we continue to tour this great nation, tomorrow we head to Kwa Zulu Natal, we will be in Durban City enjoying the sun and the listening to the songs of the Ocean. We will keep up with our updates on the social media platform. You will love the pictures.
For now, Vilakazi Street is calling.