Funny that my last entry was about the devastation in Haiti. Today I got an email about the devastation of Johannesburg. It was sent to me by someone who really seems to have an axe to grind. She lives in Johannesburg but she sees the need to send a mass email containing a Powerpoint presentation on how disgusting Johannesburg looks. The title is something like “And This City is Hosting the 2010 Soccer?” and the photographs, all fuzzy-looking things that could have been taken a decade ago, are a hodgepodge of decay in Yeoville, downtown, and Braamfontein.
How nuts is that? If you hate your city so much, if you have such a huge grudge, why not just leave? Why spend all your time creating a Powerpoint presentation saying how awful it’s become? Why not spend that time doing something constructive instead, like fixing it up? Talk about wasted energy.
As a major fan of Johannesburg, I always feel personally insulted by these assaults. I have spent the better part of my life abroad telling people that Johannesburg/Joburg/Whatever It’s Called Today is one of the most overlooked attractions in South Africa. Some people might call that wasted energy, but I honestly don’t believe anything good comes of bad vibes, bad intentions, and badmouthing.
It often astounds me that the Johannesburg publicity association, if there is such a thing, doesn’t do something about its image. Where are the I LOVE JOBURG T-shirts? Where is the I HEART JOZI campaign? Those are small things, but they could do so much. Remember, in the 1970s and 1980s there were many parts of New York City people wouldn’t go to, it was so crime-ridden. Graffiti covered the subway cars. People were so depressed about the place, it’s hard to imagine today.
When you have your own residents sending out sabotage emails like the one I got, it’s time someone in the city council did something to tell the world that Johanesburg might have its problems, but it’s nothing that cannot be fixed.