Saturday, June 26, 2010

So close to escaping hellhole of Jo'burg

...And here's the article itself, from New Zealander Chris Rattue

Fencing covered by razor wire is seen outside the main press  centre next to Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg. Photo / AP

Fencing covered by razor wire is seen outside the main press centre next to Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg. Photo / AP

One way or other, the All Whites will be out of this hellhole in days, and we will be off with them.

To Durban, probably, or home, and quite honestly, preferably the latter in some ways.

Johannesburg is an eye-opener, in a way that makes you want to shut the eyes tight and dream of elsewhere.

This is the most dangerous dump I have ever been in.

Sepp Blatter and his superstar Fifa mates may have been right to bring the World Cup to Africa, but they will be enjoying a luxury ride.

Blatter hasn't had to wait outside Ellis Park in the dark, surrounded by people, police cars driving by, hoping the promised van turns up before violent robbers do.

The stories I have heard of life here are heartbreaking, tragic, awful.

We have met some wonderful people, without a doubt.

We have also met wonderful people with doubt, because you quickly learn never to trust.

One in our contingent has had his credit card skimmed, probably by the smiling, waving bloke at our only regular cafe.

And while trying to get money out of an ATM, a hand that came with a happy face suddenly grabbed the card, supposedly with the offer of help. Sure.

And don't step out of your compound at night alone. Don't even think about it.

Our van driver took us to a posh shopping mall he said was safe, except for the carpark.

This is a place where you look over your shoulder, without making eye contact.

As for the stories ... I don't know how people live here. They say they become immune.

The include a man whose wife was stabbed for a cellphone, had a friend shot and paralysed in her driveway and a mate taken on a carjack ride.

There's a motorway off-ramp that was once more like a shooting gallery for robbers. People are left for dead, or needing wheelchairs.

How is the World Cup coming across at home? It's all about the soccer, I suppose.

Not when you are here, though.

We have been through a magic ride with the All Whites in and around Jo'burg and, on leaving, it will be for the last time.

12 Opinion(s):

Exzanian said...

Wow, nice one Viking - So difficult to take responsibility to voice any oppossition to the SWC at the moment, easy to branded a negative asshole, a racist, a hater etc etc, but for goodness sake, the little bubble that is FIFA is gonna burst in a couple of weeks and the reality of the Azanian situation is just going to come closing back in again like a claustrophobic nightmare. I'm enjoying the soccer, but I'm not buying the PR bullshit!

Lime Lite said...

My take is that there will soon be an explosion of violence in SA. The unemployment rate is now over 30% and with more Zimbos coming into the country daily taking up jobs and houses/shacks the bubble has to burst. I hope I'm wrong.

The Rooster said...

I hope I'm wrong.


No, you don't.

Anonymous said...

The World Cup was a waste of money in my view considering what else could have been done with the money. Once the hype goes away post World Cup then everyone has to deal with the reality.

Its going to be a hangover!

Anonymous said...

I have just spent the past week staying in Main street, Johannesburg. Twice I walked the ten minutes to the Carlton Centre; I also walked to Troyville, and once, to Ellis Park.
At no time was I bothered by anyone. Nobody tried to rob, beat, or kill me.
Indeed, I am now considering buying a studio near the Arts & Main centre, near Commissioner street. Sure, its not perfect but who wants to live out life in a boring suburb, surrounded by drug-addicted housewives?
I'll add that I have lived in Yeoville, during the heyday when Rocky Street was the place to be. I was there when it degenerated into a den of drug dealers. A friend of mine was stabbed to death as he worked in his restaurant.
I am not blind to the many bad things that happen in Jo'burg. Or that its management leaves much to be desired.
But I also think to sit back and whine, and blatantly ignore those things that do in fact work, becauswe it suits an agenda, is stupid.

The Rooster said...

Also I'll link photographic evidence of the amazing projects going on in inner city rejuvination in JHB tomorrow.

Don't be so blind that you won't see. Look at what your crazy scarmongering did to this poor journalist. The guy didn't even leave his "fort". lol. Shame man , you can't really be feeling very smug about that.

Anonymous said...

It's amazing how people get used to living in a shithole to the point where they can't even smell it any longer. Some call it acclimation and others call it doorknob dumb.

Some of you on this blog like Rooster reminds me of the dirtcart man when I asked him about the smell and his reply was - 'Naai kyk hier my broer, jy ryk mos nie die kak ryk na a week nie mun'. Much like the dirtcart man he has no other option as he can't get out so he has to acclimate to the situation and try to make a bad situation feel better. 'Kyk meneer, ons kry mos 'n christmas boks en dan kan ons mos die kartboard ook verkoop - sien jy daar is mos advantages'. Much like the blind, acclimated or dumb talk about the great stadiums and the happy atmosphere while everyone drowns in debt and the cliff is on the horizon. We all have differant ways of coping with life. Some like denial and others prefer reality.

I take great exception to people such as Rooster who sits with the mindset horrible enough to start a blog called 'Kill Whitey'. Its this backwardness that I fear most looking forward into the future of South Africa. Where Julius Malema can shout 'Kill the Boer' and people such as Rooster wants to kill presumably his own kind. You cannot build a future with people of this mindset be it black or white.

I like listening to these types when they say how the South African economy has grown by 5% each year since the ANC has taken over, yet they have the inability to connect the dots. How can you have 5% growth rates and still have 40% unemployment? Clearly the figures smell like bullshit. But when you're stuck or as dumb as a doorknob you hold onto anything that floats in the sewerage pit - even if it is a turd.

Yes Mr Rooster and all the other cocks out there. As the blog clearly states - "I luv South Africa but I hate my government". Nobody is anti South Africa, just anti stupid. The longer the Lala land lot deny there is a problem, the longer and more difficult it will be to fix. I hope the interim government after the ANC does a better job.

FreeThinker said...

@ Jim Beam - very eloquently put, as usual.

You have also pointed to the BS stats thrown about by the ANC lackeys. Not only are you correct in stating the total insignificance of a 5% growth rate when unemployement is 40-50% and rising, people conveniently forget that 90% of the world economy enjoyed a positive growth rate bolstered by the selling of debt - we all know where that took us. At least some of us do.

The dangers of trading these obscure financial instruments where highlighted in the early 90s already by those with half a brain. It isn't even a new concept either - for decades large corporates have engaged in creative accounting by utilising "off balance sheet" financing and choosing which parts of their deals to disclose to fudge the numbers.

All that happened in the late 90s and early 00s is the instruments became more "exotic" (read toxic) and prevalent.

You have to be a total moron to believe a bunch of communist lackeys riding the waves of something they couldn't comprehend if you supplied them 10 million crayon drawings and 1,000 years to study them, was actually responsible for "economic growth" in SA.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting article that Rooster put up that link to. On the ball developers like Gerald Olitzki and Jonathan Liebman have been buying up Joburg CBD property cheap and doing a great job of fixing up the area. I agree totally with Olitzki that Sandton is an eyesore of faux Italian, French and English blandness. On the other hand, downtown areas like Newtown have a cool African vibe.

Angulus Calx said...

It is amazing how stupid people sometimes are.

Don’t try to screw with somebody’s mind who has been born on the reef, worked for 25 years in Jhb, and spend his teenage years and early twenties in places like Hillbrow, Yeoville, Braamfontein and yes indeed downtown Jhb.

I also saw the article in the provided link.

It actually touches on two very distinct different neighbourhoods, namely Jhb downtown, and Yeoville.

Yeoville for sure is NOT downtown Jhb.

What I, however saw, were the examples of how dangerous Jhb really is.

In order for two mentioned gentlemen to make money they had to buy cheap, and guess why it was cheap?

Because it truly was and still is one of the most dilapidated, rundown and dangerous places on the planet of this earth.

And how did it get so?

Did the people that made Jhb their pride just decided overnight that the only way to make downtown viable is to let it go to rot? Not in a million years.

The huge influx of informal traders, homeless people, foreigners from the north, and yes, criminals led to the migration of civilized people out of downtown.

And what was left. A group of people that had no concept of decency, which believes that they can take and break anything. Which they did.

Swart gevaar indeed.

So, back to the article, that very clearly stated, that and I quote “Over the next 20 years, he acquired dozens of decaying buildings on the streets surrounding the square, many of which had been hijacked. He evicted the criminals, gutted the buildings and turned them into arcades and offices. Today, Gandhi Square is lined with shops, caf├ęs, restaurants, offices and even a jazz club”.

This is a tiny piece of Jhb downtown, and you want me to believe that the rest of downtown is the same? Insane.

The rest is still like the article clearly state, hijacked buildings, criminals, decaying buildings, stolen buildings, and squatters and again yes, very dangerous.

Anonymous said...

@Anon above me. There's a difference between African Vibe and First World African Vibe which S.A. could so easily have been, but alas if you're happy living under ANC rule that's your problem.

As for Rooster, once a denier, always a denier. One day is one day I'll be face to face with him, and then we'll see how brave he is

Angulus Calx said...

And o yes, after I wrote the above I gave it some more thought.

The one tiny little piece in the article that had me wondering was “ “Over the next 20 years, ……….. He evicted the criminals, …………..”.

Innocent little piece in the article?

I beg to differ.

How did he evict these people?

If you are familiar with these buildings, you will know that no amount of legal and civilized actions will “evict” them.

So now I have to question their actions and make the very educated guess that they had those people removed by force. Either that or some other evil way of getting rid of them. Like burning the building down with the occupants still in it?

Who knows?