Friday, April 06, 2007

Live from Jozi

3 years. That's how long since I was last in Jozi, and how much I've realized that things can actually change in 3 years. My piece on Johannesburg was written a number of years ago when I was on the ground, before I decided to spend some time in fortress Europe. On a short scale of 3 years, the change in Jozi is far more pronounced than anything I've seen in the time I've spent in the stagnant pool known as Old Europe.

Jozi must rate as one of the most hectic places on planet earth, but the multiplier effect here is even more intense than most people realize. This is a deadly city that has not outgrown its mining camp origins, but rather embraced them and made them a way of life. This city should have a Surgeon General's warning like a packet of smokes: Jozi can serioulsy damage your mental and physical health, in a terminal way.

Crime and grime, pollution and prostitution, prosperity and poverty all go hand in hand in a mad dance around the roaring flames of a fire out of control. There is something here though, that you will be hard pressed to find anywhere else, and that is a dynamism, a "can do" attitude that drives people, sometimes the wrong way, but generally towards something better.

How you find that is your choice. All I want to say is that I see something here that I don't see much anywhere else; living in Jozi presents you with life's starkest choices on a daily basis and where only the strong survive. Don't tolerate arseholes. Kick Back. It's hard. Deal with it.

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