Johannesburg, a highveld city

Johannesburg, Highveld 01

I live in Johannesburg, in South Africa, in Africa, not the old mining town in California. Our Johannesburg is not a ghost town. Ours is the City of Gold – Egoli.

People not familiar with our Africa think of safari, jungle, wildlife, dust, mud huts and topless Africans in loincloths.. and I’m not talking about loincloths that Google displays in Images. I know, it is an exaggeration but it is not a complete lie. It must be different now with globalization but I remember being asked if lions walked around on the streets, if there were malls and how we moved around. I always gave in to the temptation of making fun of the people and confirmed to them the Africa they ‘knew’.

Johannesburg, Highveld 02

Africa is hot, everyone knows, and says. Never mind that Kilimanjaro is in Africa and it gets snow. Never mind that Lesotho is in Africa, an independent kingdom and government physically within South Africa, and it snows in winter.

Yes, we have winter in South Africa. Winter months are June, July and August. It does get very hot – in the summer months of December, January and February – but it gets quite cold, too.  Still, snow in the Drakensberg is something incredible. There had also been a few of those rare and special occasions when Johannesburg had snow, too. We, in Africa, get excited when we get snow. Once, my friend and I even went on a snow-chasing adventure in the Drakensberg. I get more excited than other South Africans, I suppose because I originally came from a tropical country.

Johannesburg, Highveld 03aJohannesburg, Highveld 03b

I love hailstorms. A substantial amount of hailstones gives an illusion of white snow, although from far. So, while the city panics about hail, I don’t focus on the traffic and the rain but enjoy my pretend blanket of white snow on the ground.

Johannesburg, Highveld 04aJohannesburg, Highveld 04bJohannesburg, Highveld 04cJohannesburg, Highveld 04dJohannesburg, Highveld 04e

For my overall well-being, I’m better off appreciating the beauty that comes with a hailstorm than getting upset with traffic and the fact that it would take me about two hours to get home from work.

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