…Master Jack. No hard feelings if I never come back” so philosophise Four Jacks and a Jill in a song they released during the struggle in South Africa. The song was popular internationally and locally. I suspect the local popularity might have been because people liked the tune not knowing it was a struggle tune. I’ve always liked the song and only learned about 7 years ago that it was a struggle song. It didn’t matter to me and to this day I often get it stuck in my head. I really like it.
It resonates with me today because we are still living in a strange strange world. Frankly, for the first time in maybe forever (baring the World Wars) it feel like the whole world is experiencing strange times. Some stranger than others but we’re all in some version of it globally.
Of course in SA our strange times are what I refer to as interesting times but for others they are scary times. There are lots and lots of people I know that simply say “no hard feelings if I never come back” as they starting packing theirs hearts and eventually their bags for immigration.
I don’t know how to respond to these people. In reality I want them to know that I am disappointed if they go. If I can see a future for this country why can’t they? If I can argue that every country has it’s issues (and now potentially more true than ever) and moving will only result in some other drama then why can’t they see that?
Yes, living in what some perceive as high stakes mortal danger (versus say, Canada where violent crime is rare) might seem stressful but I’d rather live in a way where I can do my best to manage my danger than potentially get killed while watching Batman in the cinema. It probably helps that I’m quite fatalistic and that I feel that dying could range from a tree falling on me (I know someone who dies like that), to being hit by car (a fear I really have) then being a victim of crime. Yes, there are preferential ways to die but either way I’ll be dead. Oh, I don’t believe in jinxing my fate either if anyone in concerned by my musings.
I know leaving is about more than just dying but for me staying is all about the living. I choose to live in a country where have seen people beat all the odds time after time, where I have seen altruism and gratitude. Where I have seen good win and seen good people lose with dignity and extreme victories not boasted about. I have space and freedom here, I have other South Africans and I have that African dust on my boots. These are real things and these are things worth fighting for.
So, I don’t argue with those who want to leave because they need to make their own choices. But I do hope that my example and dedication could keep more people here and at the same time help develop a country we can all be proud of. I don’t know if it will happen in my lifetime (because who knows how short that will be anyway) but it will happen and I want to know I helped.
A lot of people complain that there is “nothing” fun to do in Jo’burg as far as extracurricular weekend activities go. It’s a metropolitan area with no mountain to climb and no sea to swim in. People seem to think that all we have to offer are blinged out malls and frustrated drivers.
Well, I hate malls but that doesn’t mean my only other option is to twiddle my thumbs at home and binge on series. I’m happy to say there is a lot to do in Jo’burg over a weekend and here are some of my favourites
- Saturday Parkrun in Delta Park. I like Delta Park because it’s free, close enough to home, I can take my dogs and the park users are really friendly. It also helps that I get Vitality points. There are many other Parkruns in JHB and surrounds so find one that’s close to you and join the fun. It’s worth getting up early for.
- Brunch at a cosy restaurant. So many eating places in Jo’burg have amazing food and great atmosphere and so dinning is a firm favourite past time for many Jo’burgers. Brunch is one of my favourite indulgences so of course I go out to find the perfect breakfast lunch combination out on the town. Post a Parkrun, Husband and I often end up at Craft because there food is good, their service friendly and they allow dogs. I couldn’t really ask for more. Other favourite brunch places are Salvation Café, Knead, and Grand Central. They are all slightly different but they all have a relaxed atmosphere and good food in common. These are all quite close to home so while these are my top choices I am sure there are lots of other amazing places in Jo’burg. Check out your neighbourhood and find “your” spot and do some people watching over delicious food. My mouth is watering just thinking about Brunch.
- Visit a food market for brunch or lunch or to top up on some artisanal food products. Maboneng has a great food market on a Sunday. Everything is stuff your face on the spot delicious. The Sheds is also a fun place to get some food and they’re open till late over weekends so you can even stop for a drink and listen to some live music. Neighbourgoods in Braamfontein is also a popular option on a Saturday but do note that it’s always very busy.
- Sundowners is not something I do often but it’s a good option for a Friday or Saturday night. Neighbourgoods has a nice roof bar and The Factory also has a roof with a view and a craft beer bar. Churchills is a good bar to relax at on a Friday after work. They offer a cigar lounge feel while you sip expensive drinks and enjoy their free harvest table fare.
- Maboneng is a great place to eat but also shop for local art and clothing. It’s an eclectic place in the heart of the city. There is a lot to do in the precinct. Check it out.
- Picnics under an African Sky are a lot of fun. Packs some snacks and head out to Emmerentia or Delta Park for a relaxed afternoon. Both parks are also great to take the dogs and yourself for some exercise over the weekend.
- The Wilds or Melville Koppies are other good places to get some walking done in the city.
- Of course, braaing under a South African sky is the ultimate pleasure of living in Africa. So set up the braai, invite some friends over and just have a jolly good time.
- Braais are great but dinners out are also sumptuous. Early dinners at Hundsons on a Sunday make me really happy as they play good rock music and their burgers are absolutely delicious. We went to The Supper Club at Coobs recently and that was pure indulgence. It’s pricey but worth it a 100 times over. The food is scrumptious and the service amazing. The wine fabulous. If you don’t have the budget for Supper Club pop into Coobs. I haven’t been there* but the food also looked great and I’m sure the good service spills out into there as well. Other great options for dinner are Croft & Co and Stelle , both in Parkview. There are sooooo many places to choose from – find your favourite.
- If partying is more your thing go down to Braamfontein on a weekend evening. Here the bars and mini clubs are spilling over with fabulous people and you’re bound to have a good time.
- The Theatres also show a variety of great shows. Check them out and choose something to your liking
So, that’s my list. Yes, I like to eat a lot, it’s totally a pastime because going to a pub or restaurant gets you out the house and you can indulge in some sunshine, good service, great food and great company. At least I also exercise in the outdoors. What do you like doing in JHB? (If you even mention an Expo I’ll delete you
Update* I have now been to Coobs and the food and atmosphere there is also really good. The Supper Club lifts their menu off the Coobs menu and both are equally good. Go to Coobs for casual dinning, Supper Club for a special occasion.