A first time for ev­ery­thing

Getaway (South Africa) - - INBOX -

My mom al­most freaked out when I told her that I, a boytjie from Brits, was go­ing to the City of Gold on my own for a day. It was 1995 and we’d heard Joburg was very danger­ous. Nev­er­the­less, I took a taxi to Pre­to­ria and then Joburg. I was wide-eyed, tak­ing in all the sights along the Ben Schoe­man high­way. As we en­tered the CBD, peo­ple started get­ting off. The ques­tion was, where was I go­ing?

At the taxi rank I heard some­one shout­ing ‘Sand­ton, Sand­ton…’ Well, why not? I asked the driver where I should get off and he said, ‘Re­lax.’ So I did and took in the pass­ing scenery. The cityscape soon changed and it was ob­vi­ous I was in Sand­ton. I walked like I’d been there be­fore, not giv­ing any­thing away. Store af­ter store, un­fa­mil­iar names – and the prices! My, my, my.

As I en­tered Stuttafords, a lady stopped me. What now? ‘Sir, mind to try our new cologne?’ Oh, okay! A spritz on my wrist, then I saun­tered in. This was heav­enly. The scent fol­lowed me ev­ery­where. What sights to feed my eyes! I was re­ally en­joy­ing my­self – pity that back in those days one couldn’t take self­ies and brag on so­cial me­dia.

This was turn­ing out to be much eas­ier than I’d imag­ined; I felt at home here. I bought a pie and Coke for lunch, then went to a li­brary and im­mersed my­self in a book to rest my feet. I was hav­ing the time of my life. Who’d have thought?

Even­tu­ally it was time to go home. I got back in the taxi, sat­is­fied and proud of my­self. I had sto­ries to tell my friends about how safe Joburg was and that there was noth­ing to fear. That evening I just sat and thought about a day well spent. I had learnt two lessons: when you’re not sure about some­thing, ask; and when you ar­rive at a place for the first time, al­ways get out and ex­plore.

That night I slept with the bright lights of the big city in my head and the lin­ger­ing smell of cologne on my wrist.

– Magosi Ma­gakwe, Ger­mis­ton

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