Joburg Regeneration, a City of Contrast!!
An emotional roller coaster awaits you as you take a sneak-peak into the history of Joburg. From a city of appetite in the 60’s to a taboo town in the 90’s punctured by crime, poverty and racism! A sad reality! But today as I stroll through this city marvelled by contrasts a smile leisurely escapes my lips, as I proudly acknowledge a new city… warmth emanates in a city united! Old and new; rich and poor; black and white, Joburg city is where it all comes together, loudly pronouncing “RAINBOW NATION”! In the true sense of the word one can see a small group gathered on the street corner, where a funky young white girl with purple hair teaches little black street children how to strum a guitar.
Not a city notorious for attractions like The Big Ben or the Eiffel Tower, but certainly a city that boasts a vibe so eclectic that it becomes you! Throttling through electrifying streets, dotted by graffiti and vibrant art, it is not unusual to see a cook-up happening upon the side walk. The beat of this city in us. Stepping into a cosmopolitan food hall bustling to life with chatter, laughter and pleasing aromas that captivated our senses. Dashing from stall to stall not wanting to miss out on anything we delighted in tasting rich Italian pastas, fresh seafood paella, chocolate and green tea. Yes green tea organic from creation from les jardins de Gaia. Be sure to arrive with cash to purchase these enchanting buys!
Minutes later we were charmed to lunch amidst a garden speckled with olive trees and pebbles. Canteen, a quaint restaurant delighting in the sounds of salsa with a good choice of food from Sunday roast lamb and Yorkshire pudding to succulent line fish and finger-licking roast beef on Ciabatta bread served with chips in dripping gravy. And this all washed down with a traditional Steph Weiss beer! The atmosphere so jovial and relaxed around us we befriended some locals and after lunch we hit the Maboneng District streets.
At 3pm excitement travelled the streets as we were told a tight rope walker was going to walk his rope from one building to another. The streets filled quickly with spectators marvelling the set-up process, and the uniting of cultures as smiles were passed from one to another. Sipping a home-made Jacky Draper (coconut milk, honey and banana) from Uncle Merc’s we felt so alive! Then standing outside Sharp Braai Corner, suddenly our ‘walker’ appeared! A deafening silence filled the audience as we held our breath and watched him put one foot in front of the other. Hearing gasps as twice we watched him sway from side to side. Making it across to the Living Room, a roof top bar the audience exploded with delight -whistling, clapping, screaming, and laughing.
This rhythm of Joburg is what keeps us going back. But whatever beat does come your way, know that each time its a different beat that will surprise and stimulate your senses.
Pictures by Alana Hedigan