A first time for everything
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