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Sidewalks of Johannesburg...

15 March 2012, 22:08

Forget for a moment the constant cynicism that rightfully surrounds Joburg and for a brief moment lets look at a few things that's almost impossible to dislike about Joburg.

In reality there is no soapy,foamy happily-ever-after clichés when it comes to the raw graphics that makes Joburg what is. Just a contemporary city in modern South Africa that is trying to move its image away from some of its deformities like rape,armed robbery,hijacking,taxi related violence/murder,strike actions/marches.

From Fordburgs "little India" to the hustle,bustle and optimism in Braamfontein, from Yeoville's chaotic and vibrant pan-African Ghanaian bars to outdoor cafes in Newtown,Johannesburg has put substantial resources into turning around its central business district (CBD).

There is this tell-tale ghost town story that does the rounds saying nobody ever walks around Joburg's sidewalks because of potholes,a poor public transport system,high crime(not ever in doubt about this),and being nestled behind gated offices,malls and houses.

The things is not everybody living in the city has a car or makes use of public transport. These people have to walk to get from A to B.Whether they would be jogging through the suburbs heading for business centres like Rosebank or Sandton,or whether they live in a tiny room in the CBD and commuting to work.

Joburg is $2.8billion in debt and its infrastructure is severely outdated,but the Johannesburg Development Agency is trying hard to address that and rewire it completely. Good luck with that. Walking zones had been put up,pavements had been widen etc to make Joburg a pedestrian city.There is a thought of building new foot bridges across buildings,new cycling lanes to be put up and all that.

George Bizos,former lawyer of Nelson Mandela,said:"Be careful where you wander after dark in Joburg...I think without too much exaggeration that Joburg could hold its own with some European capitals".

More than 15% of those living in Joburg earns R15 000 a month and around 75% earn  R1500 a month. Not enough to write home about,but still its money and better than nothing right. About 21% of the occupants in Joburg currently hold a university education certificate,with 35% are holding a technikon diploma.

People have moved into the inner city area's because it's closer to where they work when walking and also closer for the kids to attend their schools.

Crime aside,empty derelict buildings aside,Joburg hopefully one day become a city without too many major incidents.

Pericles of Athens wrote 2 500 years ago about major cities:"All things good on this Earth flow into the City, because of the City's greatness."

Can the same be said of Johannesburg's greatness by South Africans. Can't we just make Joburg what it needs to be:



1.South African Tourism-Fordsburg.

2.BBC News.

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