Johannesburg: In a New York State of Mind
By Attiya Karodia
Existence is distinguished by seasons of evolution, not always forward, but ever-changing and though the concept is boasted mainly by the odd life-coach or ten, the theory of evolution in this regard for my continuously influenced being, applies to cities too.
Every city, since the beginning of time has progressed, and regressed, as though our societies based on our locations are as literary as the “ebb and flow” of many a spoken word. But Johannesburg, once a cauldron of culture flung into the depths of a country’s turmoil is making a comeback like no other. We’re in a New York State of Mind.
There is an infinite hustle in the bustle on these streets that zing with a sense of urgency and promise, because the Ponte whispers that if you can make it in the Big JHB, you can make it anywhere, and if you don’t, you can end it all in our infamous dark corners once the sun sets over the mines. We are filled with the hope that our time is right now, while the city is on its way up, and it shows.
Johannesburg is the matchmaker, because every building has a real estate developer who’ll nurture it, where a designer will find a store space, a chef will find a kitchen, an artist will find a studio, a student will find a home and a musician will find a rooftop. The buildings that Louis Theroux once documented as gang affiliation in concrete have become providers. It seems that the air between these buildings live on with the notion that even the harshest fires nourish the soil, and grow we must.
We’re willfully enslaved in an era of careless ambition, where every party is themed like there is no tomorrow, as though if we reigned in our passion, even for a second, we’d cease to exist completely. For the first time, entire generations are not merely focused on getting by, but actively throwing themselves into their crafts, and discarding the fear of failure without any care in the world.
Hope and promise are abundant in Johannesburg, but every city slicker keeps in mind that the modicum of time it took you to feel at home is the same amount of time it will take for these buildings to suck you in and never let you go.
It’s go big or go back to Bloem, there is no in between.