Living in Johannesburg might not be as grand as living at the foot of Table Mountain, or as blissful as a monastery in Tibet, but it’s the place I call home. Although I am not in the cultural heartland of the northern suburbs (side eye Parkhurst, Emmarentia, Melville, Parktown) or in the profligate plushness of Sandton – I am settled in Bedfordview.
1. On Kloof Road, everyday, you will find a haggard old black man, long forgotten by time, friends and family. He walks down the road everyday – in my mind he is looking for his place of being – his tired feet shod in oversized, torn leather casings, probably from his youth. Although saddening, I find it funny when he walks with his head just low enough to reveal his depilated scalp, cussing under his breath. Those brave enough to venture close to him get a lashing of words.
2. Around the corner, there is Gillooly’s Farm. A seemingly tranquil park, with all kinds of water birds, a dam, a playground and a little mountainous hill. On weekends, it is a hive of activity, with dogs and their owners running around, kids on their bikes, live music, the bustling café, the families braaing and playing cricket, laughter and great atmosphere. It’s also where we let Mila and Jethro run free and where we took our engagement photos a few weeks ago.
3. There is a pizza place in Edenvale, just off Linksfield. The best pizzas in Johannesburg. Wood fired ovens, that acts as a heater on nippy winter nights, a friendly owner that knows you by name, pizzas dripping with toppings and cheese – and a crazy car guard who will always tell you where to park and always talks your ears off. He takes his job very seriously.
4. When I am in the mood for biltong I go to the biltong shop in the mall, just downstairs from my office. I always ask for R10’s biltong, but the lady always gives me R11 or R12’s biltong. She doesn’t charge extra. This old lady also always greets my friend. “Hello my sweetheart, hope you have a lovely day today.”