24 April 2009

Journalism in Jozi

By Xetsha Ayanda Hlongwane

I left Cape Town three days after the lecture phase heading for Johannesburg. I wanted to meet potential donors, so as to raise funds for the outreach to East Africa. I had tried to raise support for the outreach before, but, to my surprise, nothing had come up. I told God that I would take the first step of going to Johannesburg and since He is my partner, He would take the second one of taking me to Kampala, Uganda. But unfortunately, He did not take the second step.

I fought against God about the unsuccessful trip. Then He reminded me how I had been seeking some other opportunities, in case I did not go to East Africa. This to him was a sign of failing to trust Him completely for the provisions of finances. He taught me that I should not create alternatives when I trust Him for something. But then He assured me to stay in Johannesburg till He says I move.

In this big city, I meet a lot of people from all over Africa and beyond. I interview them in a relaxed atmosphere after work and hear both tense and interesting stories. These stories are usually about what they expected to find in Egoli (as Johannesburg is popularly known by fortune seekers) against what they actually found on the ground.

I have already spoken to five different people from three different nations; Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe. Most of them, especially from the first two countries, came to the city because of its popularity as a city of gold. The guys agree on the fact that drama starts unfolding on the way, from seeing headless bodies or seeing heads without bodies to watching helplessly your sister is gang raped.

They tell me that it works as a vaccine against more inhumane lifestyle in the Hillbrow and Berea flats in Jozi (seems like Johannesburg has many names, maybe its because of it hosts a variety of lifestyles), where a two bedroom apartment can host up to 20 inhabitants. I am told it’s a norm for a foyer to be a bedroom of up to eight people, then if they are married or sexually immoral the kids in that particular apartment must get used to the sight of a couple being intimate.

I do not know what to say to these guys who have lost all humanity and cannot see anything more than a sex toy in an average woman. I wish I could do something to change their newly adopted lifestyle quickly, but I know just talking to them makes a difference and, with time, God will make a way. I am glad I did SOFJ for I now ask intelligent questions and my writing has improved a lot. I do not struggle to get people to talk, thanks to the skills I acquired during the school.

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