City of wander, city of wonder

I discovered the allure of urban walking when I moved into the Johannesburg inner city almost four years ago. Ever since I have loved wandering in town with no goal or destination in mind, witnessing the sights, sounds and special encounters that for me spell Jozi.

Initially I cautiously navigated the block around my apartment building, but with every walk my curiosity grew, as did my feelings of safety, and now I venture further and deeper into this bustling city. A city that reflects and condenses the contradictions at play in the country, and maybe in the world, today: where you can drink your rooftop champagne with a view of overcrowded migrant hostels.

How I experience my walks can be equally contradictory: sometimes they offer the anonymity I seek, other times I unexpectedly find the sense of community that I also long for, like when a car guard calls me over to share the neighbourhood news.  Some observations of city life break my heart and have me smarting from the unfairness of life: a homeless man carefully preparing his pavement bed. Others, like a passer-by guiding schoolchildren safely across a busy road, bring a long lasting smile to my face and confirm my belief that people can and do make life worthwhile.

Josine Overdevest, June 2017

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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