Sibongile Mafu

Cape Town vs Johannesburg rivalry

2013-09-12 11:00

Sibongile Mafu

It may just be bigger than the Soweto Derby. It's definitely bigger than Team Angie vs Team Jen, perhaps even bloodier than the Apple vs Samsung conflict. The battle of the big South African cities, Johannesburg versus Cape Town isn't pretty, and long may it stay that way.

There has not been a more fierce rivalry in recent times in South Africa than Capetonians versus Joburgers. Each team resolutely stands their ground in defending and promoting their city every chance they get, even when nobody asked. Capetonians will scream: "We have the mountain!" Joburgers will holler in response: "We have the money!" as the back and forth between the "the cities that win the most awards for stuff people vaguely care about" rages on.

Being on the Western Cape side of the fence, but still sane as I come from neither city, means I'm firmly, and often without choice, part of the Cape Town is King brigade. It really is like the Orlando Pirates vs Kaizer Chiefs derby where people don't know why or how they came to so fervently support a team. Take a moment to reflect on just how you got here.

There will be competition found in everything between these two cities, from who has the best restaurants and night life to who has the best traffic and weather.

Of course many would pipe up and say there are cities that exist and thrive outside of these two stalwarts: Durban and Bloemfontein, and I'll reluctantly add Port Elizabeth, but no one pays attention to those fixtures (here's looking at you Maritzburg united and Polokwane City). They can fill a gap in your sporting calendar as you wait for the big derby, but for the most part you scroll past them.

So on one side there are those who ended up in those respective spaces with little choice, but then there are those who have to make the arduous decision to "move to either Johannesburg or Cape Town" and have endless debates with themselves and their friends as to which city is "right for me and my soul". Many will bounce between both cities for the length of their lives never fully reaching an answer and with their spirit in constant turmoil as to which team they’re really in.

Joburgers with frantically share photographs of their sunsets as Capetonians retaliate with photographs of their mountains and clean streets. It’s vicious, I tell you. I must say as an outsider (having relocated from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town) this battle - I don't want to say war because we live in a sensitive time and there has been little bloodshed between the two so far - is incredibly gripping to watch with each battle getting more manic than the last.

But there is that special moment when the one truly appreciates the other: when they visit each other's cities. Capetonians visit Johannesburg for work and Joburgers visit Cape Town to play, and each respectfully appreciates the unique things each city has to offer. Very little city slander is detected and the Gauteng-alengs bask in the prettiness of the Mother City as they leave their Joburg stresses behind and Capetonians revel in their lives picking up some much-needed pace in a city that needs you to move your bum and put in some work.

So even in battle, there's respect and I think deep down inside everyone knows just how freaking fantastic the city they live in is.

And they get the great concerts every year to remind them just how much.

- Sibongile is a videographer, blogger and social media enthusiast who would be nothing without her thumbs. Follow her on Twitter: @SboshMafu.

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