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Are Joburgers more anxious than Capetonians, and why?

30 October 2020 2:41 PM
Tags:
Crime
Johannesburg
Cape Town
Cape Town vs Joburg
Lester Kiewit
Nicky Falkof
Anxious Joburg
global South city

The Jhb vs Cape Town debate is never-ending. Lester Kiewit interviews editor Nicky Falkof about the book 'Anxious Joburg'.

Why are Joburgers always in such a rush?

But why is Cape Town so slow? And why are Capetonians so 'cliquey'?

The Johannesburg vs Cape Town debate is a never-ending one.

"I have a happier life in Cape Town, but I enjoy myself more in Joburg" is how Lester Kiewit summarises his own experience of the two cities.

On The Midday Report Kiewit interviews Nicky Falkof, co-editor of Anxious Joburg: The inner lives of a global South city.

Anxious Joburg book cover. Image: Wits University Press

The book (published by Wits University Press) focuses on South Africa's largest and wealthiest city as "a case study for the contemporary global South city".

"Global South cities are often characterised as sites of contradiction and difference that produce a range of feelings around anxiety. This is often imagined in terms of the global North's anxieties about the South: migration, crime, terrorism, disease and environmental crisis."

Falkof says after moving back to Joburg following a period of absence, she knows she wouldn't live anywhere else in South Africa.

The constantly changing nature of this "incongruous city" is one of the reasons she cites.

There's something about the way in which Joburg was built. There's something about its incredibly complicated history. There's something about it being powerfully, and importantly, a migrant city - people move in and out all the time... When I first moved back here I had friends from so many different countries...

Nicky Falkof, Co-editor of Anxious Joburg

There's something about the bizarre experience of living in such a huge global city that doesn't have a water source. I mean Joburg SHOULD NOT BE HERE! It literally only exists because of the mines, and latterly because of the banking industry.

Nicky Falkof, Co-editor of Anxious Joburg

It's also difficult to hide from the societal realities of South Africa in the City of Gold.

The glory of Johannesburg is really its people says Falkof.

As a result, lockdown's social restrictions were harder there than in Cape Town where residents have relatively easy access to beaches and the mountain.

However, Joburgers are more anxious about their safety even though the Mother City has overtaken it as a dangerous city according to crime statistics.

Falkof refers to the term "siege architecture":

The way that the South African obsession with security is so visible in Johannesburg - every wall is high and there's security everywhere.

Nicky Falkof, Co-editor of Anxious Joburg

Then there's not just the South African but the global reputation of Johannesburg as a place that's glamorous and sophisticated but also terribly, terribly frightening.

Nicky Falkof, Co-editor of Anxious Joburg

Listen to the intriguing discussion in the audio below:


30 October 2020 2:41 PM
Tags:
Crime
Johannesburg
Cape Town
Cape Town vs Joburg
Lester Kiewit
Nicky Falkof
Anxious Joburg
global South city

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