When I left the country I grew up in, in order to study in the country of my birth, I did not think that I would miss the land I spent most of my life in as much as I did. I was starting a new adventure, interacting with different types of people and seeing new things – but in the back of my mind I searched for traces of my beloved Rainbow Nation. Where were my tree filled streets and odd looking fruits? Where were the deep sunsets that everyone loved? Where were the street performers dancing during the red light, or the guitarist singing as I pay a shopping mall’s parking bill? Don’t get me wrong, I adore both countries more than words can describe, and I can never compare one to the other, but seeing how much I wanted to see what I was so used to, I decided to write about the country that I was raised in: South Africa; or more so the city of Johannesburg.
South Africa is difficult to describe. It is cultural, yet modern, it has a diversity that other countries cannot rival with (hence the term “Rainbow Nation”), it is calm, yet loud. It is unique, and words cannot do it justice, so I will display some of my favorite places that I have spent a lot of time in.
Maybe we should start with the basics. The streets of Johannesburg. Of course, like every country, there are differences in various regions – so naturally not every street looks like this. One can only hope that equality ceases to be a privilege in the future, but I will not get into the politics that could be discussed for hours on end. Instead, as you read this post, I ask that you evaluate your privileges on hand, and think of how you can use them to make the world a better place.
The street you see below is what most suburban streets look like during the Spring of South Africa. Suddenly all the Jacaranda trees bloom bright purple and cover the whole of Johannesburg. Unfortunately, they only last for a bit of the Spring, but the trees still beautify the streets every other day of the year.
Another great aspect is the new architecture that doesn’t crowd the roads. They possess a modern elegance that does not overwhelm the passers by. The buildings outside the CBD are also not allowed to be high, therefore providing the city with clear skies.
When ‘Africa’ is mentioned, the first thing that people outside the country think of is cool animals. Yes, we do have many different and beautiful animals in this country. No, we don’t have them roaming around our streets as some may think. In Africa, you can go to parks and reserves to see or pet some animals, but I have learned that it is better to see than to pet because wild animals shouldn’t be kept in cages. Nevertheless, enjoy these pictures of some friendly animals.
Unfortunately we don’t get to see these animals every day, but we usually just hang out inside buildings. Some of these buildings put up displays to keep us entertained, ranging from cars to antiques to African art.
Last but not least is one of the tourist hot-spots of Johannesburg: Montecasino. It’s pretty much a little Italy in the bottom of Africa with many souvenir shops, restaurants, and entertainment. (Mind the fake sky – you could be in there for hours and not know it.)
Although there is still much more to see, I hope this little taste of our city brought you a new perspective on the continent that doesn’t get enough recognition.