Last night was my final in Joburg... and I managed to survive and tell the tale.
At least that's how I would've imagined it prior to leaving Toronto for South Africa. The amount of stories of rape, theft, and just random acts of violence, was enough to make me fearful of traveling here.
Let me present to you 'a truth', based purely on my personal observations, as well conversations had with the people that live here; Joburg is a metropolitan city, no different than Toronto and New York. You are guaranteed to find neighborhoods that are shady enough to avoid, regardless of time of day. As for violence, yes, it exists here, and yes, there is more than a little bit to be found. But show me a city where violence and crime doesn't exist. Even some politicians here, appear to be lousy and corrupt...typical.
The point is, the people are generally good, and hard working. The weekday mornings are filled with people commuting to work. And the weekends are filled with people looking for food and parties.
I should also point out the diversity of people I've seen, while sitting at a cafe in Nelson Mandela Sq.. It never occurred to me before, but people across the world are curious about SA, and are more than willing to satisfy that curiosity, by finding out for themselves what this place is about.
As my driver to the airport today put it; just use your common sense as you move through the city, and listen to your instincts. Joburg has its problems, but with proper judgment, traveling here shouldn't fill you with fear.
(Note: I'm on the final leg of my journey. Today, I transfer to Kruger park, for what I hope to be an incredible 4 day experience)
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