Capetonians! Why the Joburg bashing?

johannesburg-skylineA friend posted a status update on Facebook a few days ago and it went something like this:

“Beautiful Spring day in Joburg today – 30 degrees!” and then a photo of his kids playing in the garden or something similar.

Oh, that’s nice I thought, yes aren’t we having lovely weather at the moment. Lucky us. And then I thought nothing more of it. Until I noticed the comments. One went like this: “Yes the weather’s the only good thing about Joburg!” And another one: “Would rather be in Cape Town at 10 degrees than Joburg at 30.”

Okay I may be paraphrasing slightly but these are the kind of comments I’ve noticed a lot lately.  And it’s puzzling to me. Why so defensive Cape Town? You know you don’t need to be. You live in a city that is arguably one of the most beautiful in the world. You have the mountain bru. And Camps Bay. And lots of forests to go running in. And trendy little coffee shops and restaurants abound. I LOVE Cape Town and spend nearly every Christmas there with my in-laws. But I love Joburg too, for very different reasons.

Many Capetonians think us Joburgers only live here because we’re money-hungry corporate-ladder climbers. But that’s not the case. Some of us live here because of family. Or because we were born here and it’s always been home. Or *NEWSFLASH*, BECAUSE WE LIKE IT. No one’s forcing us to live here and millions of people do.

I just think the “Joburg is terrible” attitude is short-sighted. Most of the people who love a bit of Joburg bashing have never actually lived here. Sure, maybe they passed through on their way to the airport once or they stayed a week here for work a few years ago. But living here is the best way to appreciate this incredible city.

I love this city in so many ways. For its incredible climate: crisp sunny Winter days and awe-inspiring Summer thunderstorms. For the people. Sure, we have our stereotypes too, the kugels and the brekers and the black diamonds, but beyond these there is a warmth in people here, a twinkle in their eye.

I love the way people do what they say and get things done. They’ve only just met you but they say they’ll invite you around for dinner and then the next week, they do. I love the pace. Sometimes I need a break from it, sure, but I like the way things move fast, especially at work.

I love the trees. This might sound weird to those who’ve never lived here, but once you’ve seen an avenue of Jacarandas in full bloom, you’ll understand what I mean. The biggest made-made forest in the world is actually pretty beautiful most of the time and the trees are its stars.

And I haven’t even touched on the art, the culture, the entrepreneurial spirit that is so prevalent here. The history, the energy, the scenic weekend breaks. There is so much to this city. I’m not even from here, I’m an Eastern Cape girl born and bred and I went to university in Cape Town (and spent four years there), so I like to think I’m open-minded.

I just think that Capetonians being mean about Joburg is like an (obviously) prettier girl being mean to her plainer sister. Yes, we GET IT. Your city is more beautiful. But beauty’s not all that counts, personality does too. And Joburg has that in spades. So stop with the bullying please – it’s just not very nice.

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5 thoughts on “Capetonians! Why the Joburg bashing?

  1. Hear hear! It is really a nasty attitude towards Jozi from Capetonians and I usually find the ex-Joburgers the worst. Like the expats who live in Aus who bash SA – is it because your choice isn’t all it’s cracked up to be that you feel the need to bash Joburg? It’s silly.

  2. Well done B, but the Natalians also are Joburg bashers – its all quite weird. You have to live here to appreciate the city, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. I have amazing friends, some family, all who are Joburg immigrants, and we do fun stuff every weekend. This past weekend my sons and their friends did a 24 hour cycle race in Pretoria, around the scenic grounds of Pretoria Boys, this weekend is Joburg day, 30 000 people gathered together listening to the best music SA has to offer, and next weekend we are doing the colourfest 5km run, where they throw different coloured powders over you after every km, and afterwards there will be great music and food to enjoy. Joburg all the way, and Cape town and the Eastern cape for holidays.

  3. Well said! I’m Joburg born and bred and have been living in Cape Town for almost 10 years now. And I’d come home tomorrow. People look at me like I’m mad when I say this, but for all Cape Town’s beauty, it’s not a friendly place. It’s taken me years to make any real friends here. And most of them aren’t originally from Cape Town! I miss Joburg’s sunshine, grit, ambition and friendliness. I love coming to visit and make sure I do it often. But when I leave, my heart aches.

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