Under a blood red sky

October 17th, 2013, 5pm

“This place is weird.”

That’s the first thing I always think when I step off a plane in Johannesburg. Jozi, as we know it, is a place that is nearly impossible to define. In an email I got from Booking.com a day before my trip, they described it as “Vibrant, ever-changing, fabulously wealthy, desperately poor, vast, and multi-faceted.” Clearly they don’t have a clue what to say about the place either.

Jozi is like no other city in the world. It is, perhaps, the most African city in South Africa (if there even is such a thing as an “African” city). It’s chaotic, but in a “there’s too much energy” kind of way, not a “HELP WHAT’S GOING ON HERE” kind of way. It’s possible to take a wrong turn and be somewhere you shouldn’t be, but it’s mostly just trying to find your way through the endless deluge of ideas and rushing and aliveness all around you.

I still don’t want to live here. But I understand why some people are drawn to it. For adrenalin junkies, it’s a 24/7 high. And, let’s face it, the sunsets are amazing.

Joost, Cassie, Craig and Jack said thanks.

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Rian van der Merwe

Family, design, coffee, and Oxford commas. On Twitter: https://twitter.com/rianvdm

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