I actually like Cape Town.
I mean, what’s not to like? The mountains, the beaches, the gardens, the lovely little shoplings in the lovely little towns. Adam and I once spent a month working freelance while house-sitting for a friend in Vredehoek and we loved it, really loved it, to the point that we have actively looked at moving down to Slaap Stad many times.
My parents grew up and met in Cape Town, many of my family members still live there, as well as a lot of very dear friends who have either lived their whole lives there, or chose to move down there. Until recently I used to travel to Cape Town a couple of times a year, for business and pleasure, and I loved every minute.
Cape Town is South Africa’s darling city and rightfully so. I’m not going to try to argue that Johannesburg has the same kind of scenery, safety or social life as Cape Town , because it doesn’t.
What I am tired of, though, is Capetonians nay-saying Johannesburg at every opportunity.
“It’s so dirty, and busy, and trafficky and unsafe.”
That’s because it’s a big city, hippy. San Franciscans would likely describe New York in the same way, as would Novgorodians about Moscow. And you know what Muscovites and New Yorkers would say in response? Nothing, because they are too busy living in big cities.
What I don’t understand about the Capetonians who constantly bemoan Johannesburg (see, I didn’t say all Capetonians), is that if your city really is so infinitely better at everything, then why is it so hard to take the high road, and just not make all negative comparisons and snide, self-satisfied remarks?
Why can you not resist pointing out Johannesburg’s flaws?
Why do you feel compelled to compare it to Lagos* or Kinshasa*?
*They don’t even have a Woolworths. We have Woolworths.
If Cape Town is so wonderful, why do you feel like you need to validate your decision to live there by putting Joburg down while you’re up here?
I am so tired of having to defend Johannesburg, that I have compiled a list of things I don’t like about Cape Town.
1. Capetonians are cliquey
Not every person who starts a conversation with you is trying to rape you (not even if they’re from Joburg). It’s okay to say ‘hello’. It’s okay to make friends with people who aren’t from Cape Town.
2. Your business comes from Johannesburg
Joburg is not a holiday city, unless you particularly like traffic, pollution, muggings and power suits.
Joburg is a business city. Yet, I have met a couple of professionals who all have the majority of their clients in Johannesburg, but still insist that they are based in Cape Town.
If you need to hop a plane every week for status meetings, then, honey, you are based in Joburg. You just own a house in Cape Town.
3. Cape Town salaries are lower, Cape Town expenses are higher
4. We pay for you
Laugh at our etolls and our load-shedding while sipping wine and staring at the mountain all you like. Gauteng contributes almost 10% more to the GDP than you do, you boozy, ungrateful wastrels.
5. Cape Town is not crime-free
It’s safer in the city, sure, but decentralisation means that very few Johannesburgers wander around the CBD at three in the morning, drunk on expensive craft beer and dressed like the bass player from an Indie-funk band (as one can, and should, do in Cape Town).
There’s also the small matter of Cape Town’s 200 year-old history of gang violence…
6. The DA is not infallible
It’s hard to pick on Helen when just on the other side of Nkandla, JZ is fervently spending our tax money on a Safety Jacuzzi to match his Fire Pool. He is a buffoon and a tyrant… but that’s for another post.
The DA have done a lot of good in the Western Cape, but be cautious of vindicating any one party above your own objective reason- not everyone in Cape Town enjoys these fancy, new upgrades to the same extent.
7. Most of you don’t live anywhere near the beach
What? It’s true. That’s your trump card whenever it comes to complaining about Joburg. “We have the ocean”.
BIG who cares, Cape Town?
We have streets wide enough to accommodate 5 car-widths at a time (even if the ‘law’ says just three, whatevs)… and we use them every goddamn day.
How often do you go to the beach? Every day? Every week? Be honest… some of you haven’t been on a beach in months.
8. Cape Town doesn’t have a high speed train
And, oh, look at that, we do…Almost like a big city would…
9. When the Zombie Apocalypse comes, you are going to be so fucked
Unless you’re all practicing swimming across that cold-as-a witch’s- tit ocean and bugging in on Robben Island, there will be nowhere for you to run when the undead hordes strike.
Who’s going to have all the weapons? Joburg.
Who’s going to have the high, fortified walls and burglar bars? Joburg.
Who’s got the survival skills to drive an armoured vehicle across ruined roads, fending off attackers from every angle? You fucking guessed it, Joburg.
In fact, even if the zombies don’t come (LOL, jk, of course they’re coming), we’re ready, right now, to invade your little oasis, pave it over and turn it into a communal braai area.
I’m just saying, if we wanted to, we could come down there in droves, throttle each of you with your any-weather scarves, impale you on your gluten-free, vegan lollipops and cut your hearts out of your artfully tattooed chests with a broken wine bottle before you could say, “Kif, bru.”
But we won’t. Because the one thing a complaining Capetonian will never bring up is this:
People in Joburg are nice. We might not live in the prettiest, showiest, most tourist-friendly city in the world, but we don’t have to make you feel worse about yours to justify living here**.
**Except for right now.