Dear World, Meet Johannesburg.

When I travel to new cities I can’t help but consider the PR and brand machines behind them. New York, Paris, Vancouver and, well, any Scandinavian city are right up there with the best of them. And don’t for a second think that the positive PR is all organic; beaucoup de cash is spent by city tourism departments on generating awareness, creating new news, profiling hip new places, securing movie locations etc. My thought thread always leads to the same place: Johannesburg needs better PR.

If I had a Rand for every time I’ve promoted Jozi to a stranger I wouldn’t have to work. I caught myself doing it on a flight from Cape Town last week with an elderly couple from Raleigh, North Carolina. That conversation prompted me to write this; it’s something I’ve wanted to do since I left Johannesburg a year ago.

But before I get into the stuff that makes Johannesburg awesome, I need to say this:

You see, what’s worse for me than ignorant foreigners is ignorant South Africans. Enter *that* Capetonian. You know the one, the one who hot-foots it out of Johannesburg faster than a Mitchell’s Plain gangsta in a new Opel Astra OPC. The one who goes to Midrand for a meeting and declares Johannesburg a shit-hole. The one who once visited a relative in Kempton Park and decided Johannesburg is ugly. The one who’s never been to Johannesburg but could never live there.

This person is Johannesburg’s worst enemy. But I’m not here to sling mud; I’m here to say that we all have a role to play in promoting this incredible country in which we live. And that means talking up cities and places other than Cape Town – she needs no help, having won nature’s lottery. Johannesburg on the other hand needs a leg up, and it’s up to us to give her one. That includes you, Capetonians. 

One of the most memorable conversations I’ve had was around a dinner table in Gloucester Road, London with dear friends of mine Clare and Omar. She’s British, he’s Pakistani, and they have a knack for throwing dinner parties of epic proportions and bringing together people from all over the world. After too many cigars and fine Tequila one night I found myself having a debate with a Mexican and a Pakistani over which city was more amazing; Mexico City, Lahore or Johannesburg. We weren’t finding some sick pleasure in recounting horror stories about crime and poverty, we were PRing our native cities.

Crime. I’m not going to pretend it doesn’t exist in Johannesburg. It does. As it exists the world over. I’ve had one experience with crime. Fortunately for my brother and I we came out on the lucky end of what I fear could have been an awful encounter in an alleyway trying to access a hotel in the wee hours of the morning. Oh, and that was in Cincinnati, Ohio. Every city has ruin, dangerous bits and no-go zones. So, no-go there! And for God’s sake don’t venture there in your khaki safari attire with your camera slung around your neck. You don’t do that in New York or in London, so don’t do it in Johannesburg – it’s not a safari.

I was born in the Johannesburg General Hospital in the 80s and grew up in Benoni. Somewhere between the mine dumps, Bunny Park and the East Rand Mall a love for the place was born. Instead of it waning as we moved overseas for my father’s work, it grew. In 2010 I was finally reunited with my birthplace and it exceeded every expectation I had of it. Here are some of the reasons I love Johannesburg, some of the reasons I’d encourage any visitor to spend some time there and not simply pass through en route to Cape Town or the Kruger National Park. I heart Jozi because of…

Soweto Theatre
Its art and culture {The Soweto Theatre}
Its Jacarandas
Its Jacarandas
Its street fashion {I See a Different You}
Its street fashion {I See a Different You}
Its museums {Apartheid Museum}
Its museums {Apartheid Museum}
Its FNB Stadium
Its FNB Stadium
Its music {44 Stanley}
Its music {44 Stanley}
Its trails
Its trails {Delta Park}
Its electric storms
Its electric storms
Its coffee culture {Father Coffee}
Its coffee culture {Father Coffee}
Its park life {Emmarentia}
Its park life {Emmarentia}
Its food culture {Forum Homini}
Its food culture {Forum Homini}
Its Gautrain
Its Gautrain
Its forests
Its forests
Its inner-city {Maboneng Precinct}
Its inner-city {Maboneng Precinct}
Its big business {Sandton}
Its wide open spaces {Monaghan Farm}
Its wide open spaces {Monaghan Farm}
Its markets {Neighbourgoods Market in Braamfontein}
Its markets {Neighbourgoods Market in Braamfontein}
Its skyline
Its Nelson Mandela Bridge
Royal Johannesburg Golf Course
Its golf courses {Royal Johannesburg}
San Bar
Its nightlife and bar culture {The San Bar}
Its history {Vilakazi Street}
Its history {Vilakazi Street}
The Wolfpack Parkhurst
4th Avenue Parkhurst (The Wolfpack}
Its sunsets
Its sunsets and skyline

If you’ve got any other tips, must-sees, must-dos, please add a comment. And if you share my sentiment, please send this to someone, foreign or not, who thinks Johannesburg is ugly. One by one we can help PR this incredible city.

brandslut xoxo

*I’ve linked all images to their sources. If you’re the owner of one of these images and would like it removed, or credited within the caption, please just drop me a line. 


    1. Love love love this! Thank you for PRing our wonderful city, I live here and adore it. The people, the vibe, the energy, the rush and of course everything you have mentioned above!

      You should check out this blog – From her ‘about’ page: “If you’re visiting this blog for the first time, I’m a proud Singaporean who has spent several years living the expat wife life while the husband moved about for work. It feels like a long time ago that I had quit my fancy banking job and sobbed goodbyes to my loved ones and trailed my hubs to New Zealand. It turned out to be a beautiful wild ride, for which I will be eternally grateful for. Several years later, we moved to South Africa and I arrived in Johannesburg practically kicking and screaming. I was skittish as a meerkat and spent several weeks living in fear. But this country touched us in the most special way and before long, I had fallen in love with the African land and its wonderful people. A huge volume of this blog documents our experiences in the very misunderstood, very lovely city of Johannesburg.”

      Her posts are incredible! She has done such a great job of doing PR for us!

    1. Such an awesome post – I hate to admit that I would have to classify myself in the “never ‘been’ to joburg, could never live in joburg” types – but I really think this post has started to sway me! Viva Africa! x

      1. Thank you for this beautiful post … I have lived in Jozi for 6 years and have been living and working from home on the Westrand all that time … this past Christmas/New Year we holidayed back in the Eastern Cape where my roots are, and where I have yearned to be all the time that I have been living in Jozi … without realising it, I have cocooned my self and my work into a beautiful safe space and did not realise that I was living in fear of everything that the media (local newspapers and radio stations) portray about life in Gauteng! Toward the end of our holiday, I became aggitated and eventually dared to ask the dreaded question “when are we going Home”? We had not committed to a return date … the significant part was that I had finally accepted Jozi as my home and wished to return … Your post has helped me realise that I have been affraid to venture out of my cocoon, and that even though I have now accepted Jozi as my home and no longer wish to move back to the coast … I need to embrace and experience this city and venture past my comfort zone so that it can truly be my home … thank you for bringing tears to my eyes along with a few sobs as i read this post to my hubby … I am home, and I need to experience where I live as home … love, light and bright blessings, Tania

    1. Wow girl!! This post just hit the spot!! Joburg is such an awesome city and your phenomenal post just proves it!! Kudos girl, kudos! #YouMakeJoziProud

    1. What a great article. Thank you. I’m an ex Caapie living in Joburg and have to have this conversation regularly. A point to add: crime is very much alive and prospering in CT too (sadly).
      Perhaps something to add could be close proximity to amazing bush getaways to experience wild animals soon to be gone!

    1. I read somewhere recently that Johannesburg is the largest man made forest in the world. Beautiful city and beautiful post!

      1. I was born in Joburg I grew up and was a teacher and worked in the computer section in PMC:(premier milling company), Joburg was lovely clean OK bazaar the park with thw springboks jumping over water. I saw a recent picture and it was dirty the springbok statue broken and windows broken. Sandton is not Joburg. I don’t believe this article is the whole truth

      1. Vernon, I am in the inner-city almost daily. The Oppenheimer Park impala stampede statue (not springbok) was restored and moved to another spit in the CBD. Oppenheimer Park has been beautifully redeveloped with gardens, art installations and even a basketball court. Most pictures on this post cover areas far beyond Sandton. Next time you visit Joburg, give me a buzz. Will gladly walk you through the inner-city! Bring a camera.

      1. If the link below works it will take you to The Retail Improvement District (RID) Facebook page where you will see a bunch of kids playing giant chess in Ernest Oppenheimer Park. Behind them you might see the replica Oppenheimer Diamond, just one of the many beautiful public artworks in the park. You may also see the basketball court right at the back where tournaments take place every weekend. This picture was taken in August last year. If you want to see the bokkies go to the RID facebook page. You will also soo all the other amazing public art and the night time ‘market’ set up on Kerk Street. Its not so much a market at the moment but more of a public space for kids to play, at night, in town. It’s awesome!!

    1. I love this post. You describe the beauty that is Johannesburg so well! I have to admit that even though I have lived here for so long, there are a few places on this list that I didn’t even know about.

    1. Johannesburg has a lot of amazing architecture, there are too many buildings to mention but take a drive on the Westcliffe (Randlords), through Jo’burg CBD (Mining houses, commissioner street, the banking district, main, etc).

    1. Great post, Love Jozi with all my heart!!! Also great to hear someone representing the East Rand, there is beauty in those mine dumps.

    1. Just loved this. I lived in Jozi for 7 years and really these are all the good things. It’s a fantastic vibrant city, totally different to cape Town, and Im glad I did time there.

    1. As I born a bred Cape Townian living in Jozi (almost 4 years) you have hit the nail of the head! superb piece of writing. will most definitely be sharing this! Jozi is a dynamic city which i grow to love more and more every day!! Thanks for writing this :)

    1. Brilliant article, have lived in Jhb for over 30 years and have children in there 20 and have seen or visited all these place. We live in a very vibrant city and I continue to promote it wherever we travel. Just been to America and they just are so ignorant of SA let alone Jhb, so brilliant…

    1. This is beautiful! And I feel exactly the same way! I travelled to South East Asia these holidays and I’m finding that as I travel the more I love South Africa and the happier I am to get back to my home-town Joburg… I’ll never leave this city – we’re soul mates. 

      Another great PR thing about Joburg is the incredible type of people its full of – open, enthusiastic, ambitious and warm!

    1. Having recently left Jozi for Cape Town this article has helped me remember some of the beautiful places and sights we left behind. Great PR!

    1. Hey there, I totally agree with your message. In fact I spend a lot of time writing about the same issues on my blog. However, you have used one of my photos (the one of Father Coffee) in your post without permission. My photos are clearly copyrighted with a watermark, and I state on my blog’s copyright page that my photos cannot be used without prior permission. Please remove it — thanks.

      1. Heather why don’t you just be a good oke and give them permission? This post is promoting joburg (like your blog does too!) and that picture helps with the cause!!

      1. Hi Richard, I might have granted permission had I been asked. But I wasn’t. Also, I make a living from my photography. If I had R10 for every time one of my pics has been used without permission…Well, then I wouldn’t have to make a living off my photography anymore.

      1. Hi Heather, just out of curiousity, I clicked on the photo in question, which linked in to a blog written by someone I assume is one of the owners of the coffee shop. The photo you mention is on that blog and the photographic credits list Andrew and Nick. At no point did I see any watermarks or copyright listed to your name. So I would suggest that Brandslut did not knowingly infringe your copyright if the photograph concerned was obtained either from the Father website/blog or the owners thereof.

    1. Love this post! Don’t forget about Norwood, Melville, Rosebank, Melrose Arch, Newtown and Illovo. It’s Universities. It’s creatives. The weather! (Just to name a few.)

    1. Hi – I was also born in Joburg, and have been living in Cape Town for 4 years now.

      Sure, I miss Joburg. The thunderstorms, the golf courses, the people who will actually strike up a conversation with you.

      But here’s how I see it.

      Joburg was founded on greed. The only reason people went there was to make money, right? And so it remains South Africa’s biggest city for trade.

      Cape Town, on the other hand, drew people in because of its beauty, its variety and its natural splendour.

      Whenever I go back to Johannesburg, and get stopped by the inevitable bloody JMPD, I find myself feeling… harangued.

      Harangued by the pressure of the city. It’s fast, it’s furious and it’s hectic. If you’re not moving around making money, you’re sitting in your boring little suburban home in Kensington – where the only thing you can do is go to bloody Eastgate Mall.

      And that just isn’t my thing.

      1. You’re kidding, right? You must be. Cape Town was established by the Dutch East India Company (a company. Companies seldom don’t have financial interests). They needed a food refueling station for their ships. The grew vegetables in what is now the Company’s Garden, beside Parliament in Cape Town. South Africa in its entirety was initially established because of financial interest, or as you Marxistly wrote, because of greed. Context, appreciate it.

      1. Cape Town wasn’t established on greed? Colonialism wasn’t about greed?

        But I don’t want to fight about it. I think it’s narrow minded to look at a city now and blame it for how it began. I prefer to take it at face value, and the face of Jozi will, for me, always be a smiling one.

      1. You seem to forget about the thousands of Capetonians that sit in their boring little suburban homes in Durbanville and getting to the beach once every other year because there’s no parking. Then going down to bloody Tyger Valley instead. Not my thing either. Boring people are boring everywhere.

    1. a few of my favourite things :)

      -The fashion capital Sandton city, more international brand stores, better sales!

      -The awesome public pools (Especially Zoo Lake):

      -The Factory shops:

      -Leash free dog parks:

      -Rooftop gyms

      -Good sushi

    1. Having lived in both CPT & JHB I gotta say for me CPT wins hands down. Outside of the Gautrain there’s nothing here you can’t match or better in CPT & the Western Cape, then again, CPT has the cable-car & the ocean. It’s really a case of preference & I’m yet to meet someone who loves both cities equally.

      1. No one said it’s about loving them equally, or one more than the other. It’s not about replacing one with the other, but rather about recognizing Joburg as a city worth visiting and exploring.

    1. I just read this gem of an article while listening to Jack Parow’s – I Miss, a strange sense of nostalgia crept into my soul. We live in a Gorgeous country, and a wondrous city. Benoni in my heart!

    1. in defense of the “never been to Joburg but could never live there” Cape Tonians, let me say that every single negative idea of Joburg I have has been planted by Joburgers. Every time a Joburg friend has visited me in Cape Town they have commented on the crime (“wow, you can just walk around with your phone in your hand and not worry about getting mugged?”)…I’ve been mugged in CT, I know it happens, but they make it sound like it’s a daily occurrence in JHB.

      Also, Joburgers pride themselves in the fast-paced, hustle-hard vibe of the city…I pride myself in the laid-back, chill out with a glass of wine vibe of CT. To each his own.

      Having said all this, the pics you have put up show a VERY different picture than the one I have of Joburg…and have me think that, while I still don’t think I could live in Joburg, a visit might not be out of the question.

      So I stand in full agreement with you that Joburg does indeed need better PR…but I think it should start with Joburgers themselves.

      1. I agree with you. Often what happens is people leave Joburg for whatever reason and then need to justify their reason for leaving. They do this by trashing the city they left behind… This happens a lot overseas where they all are desperately unhappy in London or Perth and have to justify why they left.

        Secondly, I have lived in Joburg for 8 years this year… I have been mugged twice in those 8 years. Both on weekend visits to Cape Town ;-)

    1. … and there is the stately art deco of Houghton and St Johns College (for its architecture), the Mai-Mai market, Regina Mundi and its adjacent park and Walter Sisulu National Botanic Gardens (every bit as good as Kirstenbosch) and Higher Ground Restaurant at St Stithians and the Braamfonteinspruit trail and … more running events per year than any other city in the world.

    1. I totally agree with you about Jozi, my beloved Soul City. Where the pulse of Pan Africa quickens; where I’ve made life-long friends who really mean it when they say, ‘We must do dinner;’ where the potholes that can hide hippos make driving exciting; where people mean business but play much too; where Sowetans welcome ‘brothers of other mothers;’ where the champagne climate electrifies the edgy energy; where jazz moves our feet; where our freedom movement was born; where uBuntu hasn’t died – just transformed; where we have 2 oceans too (Zoo Lake to Emmarentia); where the pioneering spirit remains indomitable. I’ve hosted foreign friends in both cities and in every case, they’ve said they enjoyed Johannesburg more because it’s gritty, real and rooted in Africa – they just needed someone whose heart belongs to her to reveal it to them – she’s not obviously charming, but she is deceptively seductive x

    1. Having been born in Benoni, matured in Durban and now beginning a career in Cape Town, as well as having travelled through 5 continents, there is no place like JHB. The PR should include the hospitality that complete strangers give to one another, as a non capetonian this is the peev to my existance how its near impossible to receive “the-in” from the locals. Each time i visit JHB i meet new people, each of which have an interest in your life and always follow up with making another plan. Violence is part of any society so a negative comment about crime is merely a rant of a poverty stricken society. Beautiful pictures and commentary on a city that is construed as the hub of transfer for tourists going to view other places.

    1. I absolutely love this, but will also just add that I love Jozi for it’s people. Jozi people are vibey, funny, clued-up, generous and so, so entertaining.

      Also : Fourways Farmers’ Market.

      Also : Jozi’s music!

    1. Love this post! Love Jozi and I’m always shouting out about it to anyone who will listen. Of course I love Cape Town too – you’re so right, Cape Town has won nature’s lottery, but Joburg has so much going for it. It’s energy and diversity are unparalleled. There’s nowhere else I’d rather be living right now. Keep the Jozi flag flying. We need more ambassadors in Cape Town to fly the Jozi flag :)

    1. I Love This Article and I Love Jozi. And I love living here. I love walking my dogs around my suburb, I love the jacarandas in Spring (my fav time of year) I love that my son’s uni (TUKS) is not far away, I love our new highways (but Not E-Tolls), I love our shops, I love our restaurants, I love that nature is all around me and if I need a bigger dose I need only drive about twenty minutes to soak it up, I don’t love the traffic but I do love that it reminds me I have a good job to drive to every day, I love our theatres, I love our live music scene, I love that the fruit seller on my way home is on a first name basis with me, I love that my city has a PULSE!

    1. Yes, thank you for this! I’m an expat who LOVES Joburg. I talk it up as much as I can — Cape Town is beautiful and nice, but for me it’s Joburg any day of the week.

      I kind of laugh when people talk about the “hectic pace”, but then again, I’m an American from Los Angeles (we invented pace, right?) — “assertive” driving and things going on feels just like home.

    1. Your images are beautiful.
      I’ve never lived in Jozi but I had a boyfriend who was from there and he really opened my eyes to what a fantastic city it is. Also, many of my friends returned to the City of Gold after we completed our studies at UCT. So the magnetic effect is definitely a thing.

    1. First up: Props for an awesome post – I’m from Paarl / Stellenbosch (Tourist HQ) and I’m constantly punting Joburg to anyone willing to hear me out. Have also recruited a few ambitious friends who made the big move and they all love it here <3
      BUT you forgot about one really amazing place, one of my favourite fun Joburg facts: our city has a WATERFALL!

    1. LOVE the PR! Don’t forget the view from Northcliff Hill, Gold Reef City, Arts on Main, the Turbine Hall, the Soweto Cooling Towers, and the Lion Park.

    1. I am one of *Those* Capetonians who always says “I will never move to Joburg” and your post was a slap in the face…a slap much needed!

      Thank you for this post, I have never bothered to “get to know” Jozi and I am ashamed!

      The way you described your city was beautiful and it tugged at my heart!

      The pictures you added were sublime and its taking all my will powere not to jump on a plane right now!

      I want to see more posts about the hidden gem of Jozi!

      I think I’ve found my next holiday destination!

      Thank you!

    1. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this!!! It got me all choked up to see that there are other people who love this city as much as I do! I PR Jozi every chance I get, but unfortunately, as one other commenter noted, people who have left seem to find it essential to justify leaving and give us SUCH a bad write-up :( I will be sharing this article and hopefully it will change a few minds :)

    1. Hi…Your article is quite balanced to be honest and coming from a fellow African in the farthest north of the continent “Egypt” , you have managed to show me personally sides of Johannesburg I never knew they existed..But at the same time it’s interesting.. And what I like more is your spirit in promoting your country…You could easily look at all the downsides.. Very easy to point out but you chose the more difficult part is finding the beauty and promoting it… I have to admit , some of the shots I’ve seen made me go.. Wow.. I didn’t know that… So thank you for sharing this!

    1. I love this city so much my business partner and I named out company for the co-ordinates of JHB. There is no other city in Africa that has the potential that JHB does. Thanks for writing this article.

    1. Hahaha, nice piece dood, I champion this city all the time. Crime is everywhere, it just depends where you are and is your guard self alert or. Criminals here don’t even mug peoples anymore or pull out a gun/knife. They just simply ask you for your items in some way or another. Jozburg is a great place to live, work, play, chill and do whatever it is that ones heart desires might be. If you from outside get someone from the inside to show you the real Jozburg run around and NOT to much of the touristy spots. Don’t believe me give me a shout when you plan on visiting will gladly show yall around yeah. We also have now thee first out of Africa, a international Extreme Sports Brand called NO UNDER EIGHTEEN. Brands, coffee shops, craft beers, bands and a whole lotta other things pop up daily. There’s never nothing to do around this city, discoveries GALORE. Whatever negative you’ve heard chances are, that is as close as you’ll be to living it that story. It is NOT a big CRIME fest in here. Just come see for yourself and go back raving about what a fantastic time you had crime free, unless you use your mobile while driving, then you the criminal-haha…

    1. Great idea that Joburg needs a PR, manager. But please don’t make out the inner city to be Maboneng. It is so much. I live in the CBD, on jeppe street. I also think we need to “PR” this part of the inner city. Filled with streets of wonderful fresh and cheap vegetables, the most amazing second hand shops with stylish trench coats for R50, and dresses for R10, pavement coffee shops, and jazz music that floats above the hum of vehicles and air conditioners. The buildings rise 18-50 storeys into the air, and one needs to negotiate cars, street traders and jay walkers. This is also the inner city. So is Joubert park – a busy noisy space with the biggest taxi rank in the inner city; and Hillbrow, infamous Hillbrow with beautiful old and quiet tree lined streets. Maboneng is a make believe inner city in my opinion. One of my favorite places to go and visit- salsa on the rooftop and Sunday markets. But it is Sandton in the inner city, not representative of the families who live in down town Joburg.

    1. Great article! I’ve been living overseas for the last three years (England and Brazil) and am planning a move home to Johannesburg this year. Every day I get more excited about it. In my time abroad I have traveled a fair amount and to me, there is no where else on earth where the sky feels higher and bluer, the clouds whiter and life, lighter!

    1. I absolutely love this post and just had to comment on all the negative comments regarding Jhb and how Cape Town “wins hands down”.

      I was born in Cape Town and moved to Jhb when I was 18. Been living here for 10 years now and I must say, this place is definitely the best city in SA.

      Yes Jhb does not have mountains and a sea. In fact it is one of the largest cities that is not surrounded by a mass of water and because of no natural beauty, it has to constantly evolve. Its always fresh and there is always things getting developed here. I also love the fast-paced, vibrant, always on the go lifestyle. You just get things done here.

      Don’t get me wrong, Cape Town is amazing, but only as a holiday destination. Things just do not get done over there and because of the laid-back lifestyle, I find it hard to move forward.

      I decided last year to give Cape Town another chance and moved back there, only to move back 10 months later to Jhb. A few things made me come right back “home”. Firstly I went alone without knowing anyone and the people are just not generally friendly. I also found that besides the city and the coastal areas, the inner areas are deteriorating big time. The most important factor was the business environment. I am in the design industry and Cape Town is supposed to be the design capital of SA. Yet things do not get done at all. You have to constantly harass people and come Friday 12pm, Cape Town shuts off.

      What people need to understand is that you need to make money to spend money and to get less money because of a “lifestyle tax” in Cape Town. At least in Jhb, I can make much more money and spend it easily even though things are more expensive here.

      I got my friends that I made in CT to come to Jhb and they all absolutely loved it here with one of them already moved to Jhb to start his career.

      Also the fact that Gautengs GDP is the highest in SA and that Gauteng lands up giving its own money away not only to the rest of SA but also to Africa makes me think that what if Gauteng actually kept all its GDP and spent it on Gauteng. I am sure Jhb would be able to compete on a international scale as a first world city.

      All this being said I do not see myself living in Cape Town to become successful. I much prefer Jhb and always will, even with the crime, corruption and traffic.

    1. Adore Joburg and love this beautiful piece on one of my favorite places in the world. Spent an inspired 10 years there and was lucky enough to live in Maboneng and Monaghan amongst other places. Still miss it the energy and pace. Thanks for writing this xx

    1. Great post! I’m french and lived in joburg for two years and I loved it. I think I am doing a great PR back in France now, preaching how great johburg is!

    1. Awesome post and stunning pics. Agree with you 100% Joburg is fantastic :-)
      I write a short blog about what, where, when in Joburg, you can have a look in free time:

    1. Just moved back to Jhb from having been in ct for 5 years. Could not be more excited about the move!!!! I HEART Jozi!!!!

    1. You forgot about Chinatown in Cyrildene … it’s a seriously cool place (and this is coming from a Capetonian)!

    1. I was brought up in Cape Town and emigrated to UK in 1987. I have visited Jozi every year for the last four and five years and (if I can get a job) I am seriously thinking of moving to live in Jozi – I actually do not like Cape Town anymore – it has just become one big sprawling city

    1. LOVE THIS, LOVE SA. I am a Capetonian, and yes I love my city and my mountain, but I do not have my head up my ass about Cape Town. The whole of SA rocks and I am coming to admire Jozi more and more by the day. It might even be more authentic than Cape Town ( from a tourism perspective CT might need to adopt a little humility to continue succeeding as it does)
      Jozi is fresh, creating opportunities, sophisticated or raw, and with Urban tourism on the rise, Cape Town has a serious rival in Joburg. and the likes of Mzansi Girl and I heart Joburg are doing a great job of uncovering the many layers and attractions of the real city. Great article, going to share it everywhere.

      1. Your comment is my favourite of all the comments on this article.You are a credit to Cape Town, and to SA. I am a Joburger, but I regard myself as a South African first and foremost. The mountain is mine too. We’re brothers from another Mother City!

    1. Tourism boards of each province are responsible for the marketing and PR of the province. We as citizens are responsible for taking care of tourists. We are all ambassadors of our country. Domestic tourism is the best way to learn about our cities so we can make informed and educated conversations with potential visitors. I loved this blog, good to know someone equallu as passionate about tourism in SA as I am. :)

    1. Fortunately I don’t have to justify why I love KZN to people. It markets itself without prejudicing other cities or swinging handbags for top honours. If the lemming run of GP numberplates are to believed, it is still the choice destination for ‘burg-ers’ cum holidays makers. Loved growing up in Benoni, its dams, tree lined avenues and mine dumps, but have fallen in love with the Natal midlands.

    1. Amazing article! Could not agree more.
      Ex-Capetonian now living in Jozi. LOVE this place.
      Thanks for a great article!

    1. As Joburg resident, this is lovely. Very nice and yes, no-one likes this place because of all the negativity. Yes, this is an unashamedly positive piece, and that’s just fine. But anyone can make anything or anyone seem perfect just by ignoring the bad stuff.

      Hitler: strong voice; simple, yet memorable facial hair.
      Baghdad: Fantastic weather, amazing culture.
      Haemorrhoids: Erm… OK, maybe not *anything*, then, but you get my drift.

      I’m well aware that this will get roundly shot down in the circle-jerk of comments here, but you simply can’t realistically present this as the true face of Jozi. Maybe one face, sure, and one of the joys of Jozi is that it is multi-faceted and a bit rough around the edges. But to gloss over crime, to not even mention the appalling governance, to ignore the horrors of Alex and Diepsloot, well, then this is just not accurate. Not real. It’s just not Jozi. And while I agree that as a positive PR puff piece, this is completely fantastic, I feel that you might include some sort of disclaimer to this end.

      *prides himself on getting the the end of the comment without asking you to check your privilege*

      Much love, hugs, etc.

      1. Keep hiding behind your pseudonym, Steve Troll. Every city has its negatives. Even New York, and Rio, and yes, Johannesburg. Why do we love Brandslut, because this is a piece about the rad, not the kak. Douchebag

      1. @ Brandslut

        Fair enough, you’re right. But perhaps then a secondary post on how you continue to function normally with blinkers AND rose-tinted specs on…? ;)

      1. @ Mike

        Yes. Pseudonyms are the bane of the internet, aren’t they? Should probably be banned.

        Erm… whose blog are we commenting on right now? Oh, that’s right: B.Randslut. (Presumably that’s a real name, yes?)

        Look, as I said, it’s a great puff piece about the good side of a good city. What it ain’t, is representative of the whole.

      1. Your comment is a little redundant Steve.

        Any PR campaign is by it’s very nature fairly pretentious. *Even more so in Cape Town ;)

        That being said. I agree with your sentiment in part. Joburg is raw and doesn’t need silly things like titles and flappy PR campaigns to bolster the vibe and pride it’s engrained residents know so well. For Johannesburg to remain what it is we need to be honest.

      1. I absolutely love this post!
        my husband, daughter and i moved to Johannesburg a little over a year ago now. We have lived in Mauritius, Durban, the natal midlands and Cape town, and JHB is the first place where we have felt at home.
        Whilst we miss the Durban beaches, the Karkloof farms, the Cape town vineyards and all the charms of Mauritius, there is something unexpectedly special about JHB.
        Yes, everything is career and money oriented, and should you be young and childless, your life may revolve around a series of restaurants, bars, braais and work, but the people of Johannesburg are friendly and inviting, there is an understanding that we are all here for the same reason and are all in the same boat.
        Crime does indeed happen anywhere and at any time, in any country. If you are aware of your surroundings you may minimise the risk.
        the most important thing that i have taken away from reading this is that i dont know enough about Johannesburg! i did not know that the Soweto theatre was such a piece of art in itself!
        i will definitely make an effort to get to know this beautiful city better <3

      1. Marcus, you biscuit! Thank you so much for allowing me to use your amazing shot. Everyone, check out Marcus’ post on things to do in JHB :)

    1. Sorry, but have to ease my conscience by happily promoting South Africa without the crime risk. Yes, South Africa is amazing, and yes there is crime everywhere in the world, but South Africa is one of the only places where if you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time (which occasionally includes your highly secured home), there is a possibility you could lose your life. And yes, South Africans are indeed extremely welcoming, but the “edgy” lifestyle does also lead to instances of extreme aggression, e.g. on the road, or even at checkout queues. So please do visit South Africa and see all the amazing big buildings, big 5, big everything. But be very careful of the little details.

      Born in Hillbrow, long-time Joburger and Republic of Hout Bayian, have also spent years living across cities in the UK, Scandinavia, Germany and now, Spain! Which to my mind has everything South Africa has, even better wine, corruption and crime (which makes us feel right at home, albeit with a murder rate of 0.8 per 100,000 compared to South Africa 50-90 per 100,000 depending on which source you use).

    1. Thanks for this article! I’m from Cape Town but you’re so right, we don’t do enough to promote all our cities. Also as South Africans, we tend to sell ourselves short and underpromote ourselves. Our country has so much beautiful wonderful things to offer and we should let the world know about it!

    1. I was born on the Marymount overlooking the city from the east. I lived in Jozie for 36 years and during that time I loved, lived, schooled, married and had two children. If you truly want to portray Johannesburg and introduce her to the world, this is a minor league, rose tinted version of that, at best. Find the beauty in the true Johannesburg, once you’ve done that then you may very well have a feeling of achievement, a feeling that you have found something that you never had before. The beauty to be found in Cape Town is breathtaking yes, but ultimately it’s so obvious, it’s right there in front of you, it takes merely the ability of sight find it.

      To really introduce the world to Jozie you have to show the good alongside the bad, you have to represent the great paradox that makes it one of the most unique cities in the world. The extreme poverty alongside extreme wealth, the seemly mistaken crime rates always gets a ‘Wow’. One needs to look a little deeper into the precipice to understand what it is to be a Johannesburger, the feeling of looking over your shoulder constantly to try and avoid being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Let’s not be embarrassed by the reality that is this metropolitan African city, let’s not try and be Cape Town, London, Paris, Bilbao, Vancouver, let’s be Johannesburg, let’s create our own identity, let’s show both sides of our face not just the one without the tattoo.

      We have overcome adversity by living in this place, we have been moulded into something that you will not find elsewhere, I know that because now I’m elsewhere. Whilst PR is good and every city should have an identity, I think it may be impossible to create what this city means to its inhabitants, it’s just too diverse, too complex for an outsider to understand.

      This city has no real attraction, other than industry. Whilst the fact that it’s the biggest man made forest in the Southern Hemisphere is mildly impressive, we must never forget why this place is here. A more interesting fact; Johannesburg is the largest city in the world that was not developed near a water supply of any kind, no lakes, no ocean. There is a reason for that, it’s called Gold. Industry is our biggest drawing point and in the words of Spike Milligan “Money can’t buy you happiness but it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery”.

      Keep in real, once people come to this city for whatever reason, I am sure it’s not going to be for Jacarandas and electric storms, then let them find the beauty for themselves. Although a guide is always nice.

    1. I dont think it about CPT vs JHB as everybody has different needs.The cons of cape town is that the locals are clicky. Pro of Jozi is that things get done and people are friendly The lifestyle really is about being outdoors in CPT.Having grown up in Hout Bay and spend alot of my Life on Lllandudno beach,there is the surfing culture in Cape Town/Durbs than no vaalie will ever understand.You dont surf to look cool and and the surfers will not survive in Jozi.That being said a go getter businessman from Jozi will struggle in Cape Town.We all have choices ,so dont look down on another person due to their choices and maybe understand that SA is a beautiful country …Another thing just vote with your head the next elections

    1. I love Johannesburg, that is where I feel most alive. Born in Johannesburg, living in Los Angeles for 14 years… nothing as beautiful as Johannesburg though. So much effort is being put into Johannesburg, so worth it.

    1. Thanks to my work colleague for sharing the article with me. As some of the comments read from above, I also found a love for Jozi that I wasn’t quite sure I had – but I do love it here. Great article:)

    1. Beautiful! Positive! Inspiring! If we as South Africans write positive posts like this we will learn to appreciate our country and city more.

    1. Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this article! Joburg is a really special place, and I am proud that my heart beats with the beat of the heart of Joburg!

      Really proud of the rebirthing process that Jozi is constantly going through! Heres a link to a really great article where Joburg is compared to Williamsburg –

    1. Ja, you can wax lyrical about Joburg since you no longer live here. Many people suddenly start to love it, from far away, ensconced in their priviledged lives and far away from the ugly life in an empoverished city with no hope.

    1. I love this piece, thank you so much for voicing it. I love this city and all the aspects that come with it. No one can take away from the fact that this is a beautiful place with an astounding number of things to do. This is the place where the sun shines while it rains, this is where there is countless number of opportunities to go far in life and the development is unreal. I love my country and further more I love my home town. Johannesburg has faired me with good fortune through its ups and downs. One of the most dangerous city’s in the world but it builds your character and your trust in fellow humans. Besides I don’t need table mountain I got me the Northcliff hill.

    1. I love it when people PR my fav city!! I moved to Jozi with the sole purpose of “thats where the jobs are” and the whole idea of Big city life. And I got all that and so so much more. The city seeps under your skin. Being a Pretoria native had me import many of my friends to visit me in my new city and all of them went from hating to loving the city after living it through my eyes. Not because of me. But because of the great energy Joburg brings into a person. Melville with the amazin history and funkiness, ( lets just say I’ve walked a tree lined street to eat fresh croissants in a french style bakery/coffeeshop and a horse drawn carraige ambled by… This has happened) or the best Pizza and best date restaurant EVER, Antz with famous artwotks hanin on cracked walls and strange waiteresses who talk to you and big wine glasses and booksstores across the street that stay open until 9!! Or Rosebank market or Neighbourgoods market in CBD. Foodie central!! Or if youre in need of intellectual stimuli- did you know Museum Africa in Newtown in free? And its actually 5 museums in one? Then you have te Consitutional Hill- with the worlds most beautiful Constitutional Court… Well I believe so. O my word there are so many, too many places to mention. But lets look at the places we don’t think about CBD, Hillbrow, Alex. For sure I wouldn’t say go out an walk the streets at night. (But I wouldnt do that in Hyde Park) but you can go out. Kitchenners in Braamies — coolest bar. ( Imagine if you will dancing to London Calling at 2am in the middle of Joburg central. Eclectic people milling about- historic decor, massive skyscrapers. Art in the moment). As I said too much to mention. If you start a Joburg PR company– I want to work there :)

    1. I so enjoyed this post, thank you thank you thank you! As an expat living abroad plotting my return to SA, I’m please to say that I could live anywhere in our beautiful country with a smile on my face and a full heart.

    1. Great article. I moved here in a heartbeat from the New York metropolitan area last year. (Our other choice was Dubai which I was less than thrilled about) yes I heard about the crime (believe me everybody felt they needed to warn me about the crime) but being from New York, that did not dissuade me! Have fallen in love with the place and my blog is one big Jozi love fest. Have been to Cape Town many times now and I love to visit but I love living in Joburg!

    1. This all sound’s great. I have been living in Australia for 32 years have not been back to my place of birth for 14 years Johannesburg. Every ex pat I have met does not and will not go back to stay for fear of their life.They have either been held up or know somebody that has. What can you tell me about this?

    1. I think this deserves a share: I am a converted Cape Town lover… Now when I visit Cape Town, I can’t wait to go back to Jozi. Cape Town is Lust, Jozi is Love, Yes Yes, I LOVE JOZI…this is for all my international friends, please stop by passing Johannesburg!

      To this list, I would add: All Theatre’s’: The State Theatre, Market Theatre, Jo’burg Theatre, Victory Theatre, Alex Theatre, Soweto Theatre and the all the music festivals: Arts Alive, Joy Of Jazz, Moretela Park Jazz, Joburg Day, Great Locations for Drinks: Newtown-Mary Fitzgerald Square , Melville 7th Avenue and Main rd, Hyde Park Southern Sun Rooftop,Parkhurst 4th Avenue, Parktown 7th Avenue, Greenside Gleneagles Rd, All Casinos: Silver Star & Their Amazing Solstice Spar, Montecasino & all the musicals that go down there, Carnival City, Emperors Palace…Consistent social & music events: The Weekend Social, Music For Worms hip hop session, The Warm Up, Up And Coming, Park Acoustics, Emmarentia Dam, The Main Street Life Rooftop, and Karaoke in China Town/ Bruma side, Lakes, Bruma, Centurion and Zoo Lake, The Botanical Gardens Old Mutual Live Music Shows, The Birchwood Hotel Live Music Shows…the list is endless

      Man if we were to really look at Johannesburg from a tourists eyes, really there is so much going on and so much to do…Yes, yes I LOVE JOZI

    1. I’ve always maintained than JHB had nothing to offer me, I’ve seen everything, I’ve done everything, it’s unsafe and it has nothing left to offer, but your article has really made change my sentiments. Thanks for reviving my love and appreciation for the city that I was born in.

    1. Well done. Joburg is nice when viewed in this context. However, ‘polishing a turd’ springs to mind. Joburg lifestyle does not compare to other great cities of the world. Ps: I live in Jozi

    1. Some additional reasons on why JHB is so awesome:

      1. The outdoor / adventure sports culture. Every weekend there is a cycling or running event. There are so many sports clubs and events to participate in. If you like to participate in sport, there is always something to do.

      2. The opportunity – that’s why people come to Jhb. To start a company, join the top companies, network, and become a star or a success.

      3. Its mix of ethnicities and cultures – above the SA born AIC and whites you have Zimbabweans, Somalis, Pakistani’s, Chinese, Nigerians, Zambians and expats from many western countries. Want to learn Spanish or French, dance salsa, or eat chicken tikka – come to Jhb. Also don’t forget to visit our little China Town, Little India or Little Addis Ababa in Jozi.

    1. I think Johannesburg is beautiful! I have lived there for an year. But.. (I must say but) I was robbed in Rosettenville at 5 pm walking on the street going home from a supermarket. At 7pm I was almost attacked by 3 people in the city center – but by then I got wiser and I sensed something dodgy was going on around me, so I started screaming bloody murder and started running in the middle of the street. I avoided the possible robbery that time but I was shaking like crazy. I was carrying pepper spray in my hand everywhere I went for the whole year after those incidents. I stopped carrying a handbag with me when going out just so not be a potential target. Another thing, it also bothered me a lot that the streets in the city center stank.. I don’t know if this is still the case now & I hope the city authorities have done or will clean them nicer.
      Well, you might be getting a total wrong idea now but…I love South Africa and I like Johannesburg! I just think it can be nicer and safer place -for the people that live there and for the tourists as well- if some things are done as precautions.. So everybody can enjoy its beauty as they should!

    1. I live in the South of Joburg, which is a whole other city :). One of Joburg’s best kept secrets is down here-the Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve.
      In fact, it is such a good secret that no-one has mentioned it! For the less intrepid, who are not up to hiking it, there is Thaba ya Batswana,( where you can overlook it and imagine yourself a million miles (not a mere 10Km) from the centre of Johannesburg. There is plenty more down here that remains to be discovered :)

    1. Your “Mitchells Plain gangsta” comment is unfortunate because it is offensive – it plays to stereotype of Mitchells Plain residents as gangsters. The comment is unnecessary to make your point in an article that I quite enjoyed! The pictures are spectacular.

    1. Its been a day that I have landed in Joburg as my husband is here for work. I have come with no inhibitions and wish to explore the best of the city. Thanks for the wonderful heads up.
      I am going to write about my experiences on my blog

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *