Joburg comes up trumps in the international press: Positive reviews 2013
Wow! What is it with Jozi at the moment? So much positive press from all sorts of different quarters. From no 1 cycle route to an up-and-coming art hub to a new spin on the level of violence – Joburg is being praised and flaunted as an interesting and vibrant city. Although Joburg will always be too gritty, fast paced and jittery to be swan-like, maybe it is beginning to grow out of it’s ugly duckling phase.
Liz at Lancaster hosts several guests who come back to South Africa regularly for research or consultancy work, many of whom say that although Cape Town is wonderful to visit, Jozi is the place they prefer to stay.
Jozi is full of life
Recently, two very different articles have addressed Jozi’s positives and why, despite the traffic, an inept municipality and perceptions of crime (more of that below), Joburg is still a great place to be. As John Simpson says in the Daily Telegraph 28 Oct 2013 : ‘Jozi is noisy challenging and full of life’.
While acknowledging that crime rates are way higher than they should be, he puts the general perception of safety in Joburg in a more realistic context: ‘Johannesburg isn’t like Kinshasa, where you congratulate yourself every time you get back to your hotel in safety; it’s a lovely, open, green garden city, where everyone smiles and treats you nicely.’
Jozi’s pockets of cool
Tim Murphy explores Jozi’s pockets of cool. For him, Jozi feels a bit hectic, a ‘history-scarred city full of hustle and optimism that’s brashly shouldering its way into the global arena.’ But he continues … ‘it’s remaining intensely African, bursting with immigrants from all over the continent in a way that Cape Town, South Africa’s post-colonial tourism darling, simply is not’. (W Magazine 8 April 2013)
Murphy writes with passion about the creatives and the avant-garde and about the pockets of urban regeneration in Braamfontein, 44 Stanley St and the Maboneng precinct. But his article ends on a cautionary note that (as with many metropolitan cites) you still need to watch your back when moving after dark on your own through quiet streets.
Milisuthando Bongela, who writes the blog Miss Milli B and co-owns Mememe, a clothing boutique that sells local labels, put it this way: “I can still be the only black person in a restaurant in Cape Town. Whereas in Jo’burg, people like me own the restaurants.”
Readers of the English paper the Guardian have listed the Braamfontein cycle route as no 1 of 10 city cycle routes world-wide. More on the Braamfontein Spruit, part of which flows at the bottom of the hill, 5 blocks from Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse.
Joburg will shake up the art world in the 21st Century
In the Huffington Post Joburg comes in at no 5 of the 12 Cities that will ‘Shake Up The Art World In The 21st Century’.