We asked three well-heeled women to tell us how much living conditions differ between Joburg and Cape Town

Hanging out in the city
Hanging out in the city

We're a diverse country with diverse peoples, and often we find different standards of living in different provinces.

Depending on which dialing code your landline conforms to, your living conditions and quality of life may be different from someone else's in another city and province. 

According to GoodThingsGuy.com, the quality of life in Gauteng as improved since 2015/2016, with 44% of its inhabitants marked as satisfied with their provincial government compared to the 39% from the previous survey. 

The stats reported made us a bit curious about the general opinion of Joburg's well-heeled, who live in one of the major cities in Gauteng, and of its unofficial city 'rival', Cape Town.

Stats can tell us one thing, but ultimately, it's the honest opinions and experiences of the most loyal residents that matter, so we asked three people to comment on the living conditions of either city respectively.

READ MORE: Pretoria is more expensive to live in than both Johannesburg and Cape Town 

Afika Jadezweni - Cape Town 

How long did you live in Cape Town before moving to Joburg? What's your favourite thing about the city you've left behind? 

I studied at UCT for three years, left for three years to study at Rhodes and returned to Cape Town in 2017 to work.

Being a student in Cape Town is very different from being a young black professional in Cape Town.

The former makes you oblivious to the reality of the cost of living in the city, while you really feel the wrath on your wallet once you start interning/working. My favourite thing about the city, though, is definitely the carefree, laid back lifestyle, the dining culture and the fact that there’s sooo much to do. 

READ MORE: After 20 years the Alhambra Theatre will reopen its doors - and we are bursting with excitement! 

What were your spending habits like when living there? 

Rent in Cape Town is the biggest dent in all our budgets, so once I had paid rent and bought groceries, I allocated a lot of my money (perhaps irresponsibly so) to dining out. I wouldn’t even say I allocated a lot to dining actually, but it’s just that dining there is kind of pricey.

Cape Town is convenient in terms of getting around and quite lax with time, so as someone who doesn’t have a car, Ubers and the (very safe) MyCiti bus really made my life easier. Now in Joburg, I really have to think twice about going anywhere and I can’t really decide on places to visit on impulse the same way I did in CT.

What was the worst thing about the city to you? 

In Cape Town you’re always aware of the fact that you are black and you are a minority. You’re confronted with poverty every day and everywhere – around the corner from your apartment block, on your way to work, outside your favourite sundowners hangout spot, there’s always a reminder that the city does not look out for the underprivileged at all. The drive from the airport to my neighbourhood always reminded me of Cape Town’s inequality and why I was itching to leave for so long.

READ MORE: 3 millennials tell us what they're doing to save money to cope with the petrol price hikes 

Kelly Fung - Cape Town and Joburg 

You live and work in both cities. How are they different when it comes to the quality of life and the social environment? 

The two are completely different in every way imaginable. Joburg for me, has always been about the hustle and the drive. You see people work hard to move forward and upwards and there is an undeniable energy that is pretty contagious.

Cape Town definitely represents a more balanced way of life, where drinks after work are more habit than special occasion. A healthy life is easier to achieve and people know when to put their pens down for the day.

One thing I LOVE about working in CT is that if you need a pick-me-up breath of fresh air, there are endless cute spots within walking distance of anywhere, meaning you don’t have to get in to a vehicle to search for a cup of coffee that is not the office-provided Ricoffy (although there is nothing wrong with a cup of Ricoffy if that’s your style). 

READ MORE: Check out the coolest SA neighbourhoods for millennials 

In light of the lifestyles you lead in both cities exclusively, how do your spending habits differ? 

I spend equal amounts of time between Joburg and Cape Town: what is expensive in Joburg I save money on in Cape Town, for example – petrol, Ubers and options for free entertainment (casual hike and beach sprawling). On the other hand, rent in Cape Town is known to be really expensive for what you get.

Parking is also pain in the neck. 

Overall, which would you say is your favourite city to work and live in?

It’s impossible to choose – just like you can’t pick your favourite child. Each are unlike any city in the world. 

View this post on Instagram

100% afraid of heights. #hmxme #hmsouthafrica

A post shared by Kellyn Fung (@x_kellyfung_x) on

READ MORE: Humans of NY was in Joburg and our hearts have swollen three times their size 

Nontobeko Masango* - Joburg

How long have you been living in Joburg for? What's your favourite thing about the city? 

I've lived in Joburg since 2014. It feels like my whole life has revolved around this place but I'm actually from such a small town and haven't been here for that long.

I stay in Melville, so what I like the most about it is that everything is literally a walk away (unless I'm going to visit my friends in Soweto). I have access to things I rarely have access to back home, like malls and places to hang out at. And - this is a big one for me - the water is ten times cleaner than back home, in Mpumalanga. 

What are your spending habits like here? 

Most of my money goes to rent and recreational stuff. I pay R2 900 for my rent which isn't that bad, so I've been told. Other than that, I spend on public transport and it could range from R100 to R180 per month, depending on how often I travel to my usual places, Pretoria and Soweto. The social events this side are either really affordable or really pricey, so depending on where I go (like a concert versus an arts market), at least half my money (around R500 a month) goes to that too. 

What is the worst thing about the city to you? 

The crime. I've been mugged three times since I started living here. Twice at gunpoint when I was on my way home, and the other time was just a pick-pocket at a concert. I've been living here for a while now, but I still feel anxious every time I'm in town or every time I walk out at night. I really wish the cops would do something practical about it already. 

*Name has been changed. 

Sign up to W24's newsletters so you don't miss out on any of our hot stories and giveaways. 

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Do you think it's important to get married in this day and age?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes, it's important in order to create a family unit and for companionship
22% - 652 votes
Not at all. Being single is far more liberating
9% - 272 votes
There is no general answer to this, it's each to their own
50% - 1493 votes
Yes, society still frowns on unmarried people, especially women
1% - 40 votes
It depends on whether you are able to find a compatible partner
18% - 540 votes