Johannesburg / Jozi / Egoli was my home for four years and I miss her often. But even more than the place I also miss what my life there allowed me to do. I am referring to the absence of parental influence and steady cash flow (major cons of being on a not-yet-income-generating gap year 😂). Anyway, let me share what I miss the most about Jozi.
My People. I made wonderful friends who become family. I miss how easy it was to visit them and spend time with them. The Iimbokodo, my university girl friends with whom we conquered the Wits edge with. My friends and all the adventures we went on together including the best road trips. Family time with Aunty Ayado and my small bro Ems and the yummiest dishes we shared. Evenings sharing my Honours stories and making parallels with motherhood stories with my “mum”. Zsofia and all the wholesome conversations we had as we ate such yummy nutritious meals. My Kenyan-Naija Midrand family which always provided a semblance of home. The love and support of my South African family, the Fitzgeralds. Chef Bruno visiting from Moz. Lutho and Sino being a walking distance away at Wits Junction. My colleagues at T&T…even my dates😂. The list could go on and on.
My apartment! I loved how it felt like an extension of my being. I also loved how it was central to all the places I needed: my school, the Killarney shopping centre, my churches in Rosebank and Sandton and the gym. The surrounding greenery was also beautiful and would literally beg you to take evening walks. I miss the continuous process of making it into a cosy home. I miss how at the end of a hectic day, home would welcome me with the smell of my favourite diffusers. It also provided an amazing venue for research sessions with my group. Many lunches, dinners and game nights were also hosted there.
Bible Study Fellowship on Thursday evenings at Wits. This was and still is the best spiritual decision that I have ever made. I got to study the books of John, Romans and People of the Promised Land with such amazing spiritually seasoned friends. The swallowships ( a combination of fellowship and feasting) were the most enjoyable. Aunty Lynn was also the an amazing group leader who doubled as our mother 🥰. Luckily, BSF is worldwide and I get to continue with Acts & Letters of the Apostles here in Nairobi.
The food and wine. I am in love with Woolworths Food! Kwanza their passion mango smoothies, sorbet lollies, packed meals (also where all my savings went🙈), rotisserie chicken and tin roof ice cream (also how I survived breakups). Then there’s the Picknpay biltong (Tip from Bruno: ask for the wet one and then they will cut it fresh). Then there was the barfi from that bakery in Mayfair. Plus Cinnabon😍. For the wines I just miss how the good ones were relatively cheaper there.
This post would not be complete without the restaurants. Let me start with the ones I had my birthdays at: Simply Asia, Honeydew for my 20th; Bellagio for my 21st; Big Mouth for my 22nd and Yamada Sushi (also where I lost my sushi virginity) & Simply Asia for my 23rd birthday. The rest are: The Grill houses, Butchershop, Signature, Tasha’s, Moyo, Wasabi (Mall of Africa) ,Truffles on the park (their ribs😩), Life Grand Cafe, La Boqueria, Craft at Parkhurst, Pizza e vino (their gnocchi!), Nando’s, Olives & Plates (there’s this cake I was introduced to you guys🙆🏿♀️) Chicken Licken, Roman’s pizza and Rocomamas. I miss the hang-outs too: Fourways Farmer’s Market, Neighbourgoods, 44 Stanley, Maboneng, Walter Sisulu Garden, Zoo Lake, 27 Boxes in Melvile, Chafpozi in Sowetho, Melrose Arch, Sandton City, the San Deck on Sundays…
I am in love with South Africa’s rich and diverse culture. From the music to the languages and accents to the end month buzz to the fashion scene to the spring parties to the “big enjoyment above all else” attitude! I also really enjoyed the art scene and market theatre, Joburg Theatre, the Teatro at Monte Casino, the Pretoria state theatre and the Rosebank Cinema Noveau were some of my favourite places. The concerts and festivals too! In fact, everything but the afrophobia, racism and misogyny.
Wits. Of course, I miss where I spent most of my days! Some of my favourite places at the university were: the Origins Centre Museum- it is so beautiful; the Construction Economics & Management School – it holds so many memories, mostly tiring ones🙇🏾♀️👩🏿💻👷🏿♀️; the Engineering & Built environment faculty and the science stadium – I don’t miss the long queues at registration although I miss the architecture; the post graduate lab where we would have conversations with our research supervisor; all those committee meetings with societies; my classmates who also made it a joyful place; the Olives & Plates restaurant – kwanza their cakes; the ponds and cute spaces of West Campus; and the matrix especially the Chinese food place ( I just had a vivid vision of their spring rolls) and Delhilicous (their spinach and cheese cocktail pie).
Being close to ALA. The African Leadership Academy is the reason I ever stepped foot in South Africa. It is where I spent the most transformative and incredible two years of my life. Because of the proximity, I got to visit a lot especially when my sister was there. These visits were good reminders for my purpose and life goals. I was also able to witness the transformation of the campus as it underwent renovations. Some of my schoolmates had put a lot of work into envisioning it so it was nice seeing it come to fruition (Aye! Power of Youth!). Lastly, I got to interact with some of the students and alumni which is always inspiring.
I always looked forward to Sundays at Rivers and Every Nation churches. Yep, went to two churches for a long while. I enjoyed teaching at Kid’s ministry during the day. And the evening services at Rivers were exactly how i needed to start my week. Special mention to how well Lloyd Cele led praise and worship 🙌🏿.
Virgin Active Gym at Old Eds and Vitality. I especially miss the indoor poo! I did a lot of people watching (in case you thought my main aim was fitness😂) and it was always milling with such inspiring consistent mamas (who made me day dream about all the things I would do with my future self). I also loved the gym’s variety of classes – yoga, tai chi, pilates, pilates with resistant bands thingies. I enjoyed working out with my friend, Josh too! Vitality is this fitness reward program that came with my medical insurance. It had such cool incentives such as 75% off gym fees for three visits a month and discounts and free smoothies at Kauai (one of my fave healthy food restaurants). I really miss it * says in regret of some wasted opportunities *.
Jozi’s centrality made road trips so easy! I did Hartbeesport, Sun City, Cradle of Mankind, Pretoria😂, Winterton, Emahlaleni, the Garden Route, Mokhotolong, Maseru and Gaborone . I also miss just how fair flying to Cape Town was ( another town deserving of a whole post).
In conclusion, if you read this in Jo’burg please enjoy yourself for both of us. And if you are ever in Nairobi bring me the bringables, pretty please☺️. Otherwise, as much as this post had me reliving all my happy Jozi memories, I am reminding myself to stay present as I build my new happy place here in Nairobae.