By Tafi Mhaka
I hear the bananas farmed in Ehlanzeni taste so good all year round. Take me to Hazyview in Mpumalanga this holiday and I will get lost in the mystifying spirit of the South African wilderness that is Kruger National Park.
I hear the silent whispers of Southern Right Whales in Hermanus calling my name from the perfect and faultless shores of Walker Bay along the Southern Cape coastline.
I might spend the Day of Goodwill in Tsitsikamma National Park enjoying the sheer splendor of Mother Nature undisturbed. And I might get somewhat sunburnt, as my eyes feast on lush green forests, and my tender feet tickle the unflappable earth of hiking trails found alongside rocky coastal shorelines in Mossel Bay.
Or should I go to Knysna for the first time? I can spend the holiday listening to the fresh sounds of Brownhooded Kingfishers serenading nature with sweet rhythms of festive summer joy.
Or should I go to Groenklof Nature Reserve or Bontebok National Park for a change? I hear the hooves of Bonteboks doing a joyous century-old ritual dance in the Cape Floristic Region.
Some people say Golden Gate Highlands Park in Free State Province is the place to be this December. Others say the Basotho Cultural Village in QwaQwa National Park is the place to see and experience Basotho culture. Maybe I will go to Ash River and try my hand at white-water river rafting for once.
I might set up camp in Addo National Park in the Eastern Cape, and listen to the majestic roars of Transvaal lions at night, or watch beautiful antelopes striding scenic landscapes in the South African savannahs.
Perhaps I will go fishing in the Southern Drakensberg Mountains or go tiger fishing at Jozini Dam in Kwa-Zulu Natal. Or I will go surfing at Llandudno and feel Cape Peninsula waves splashing marine life on me.
You can feel the spirit of South Africa in the air across all nine provinces. You can breathe the spirit of South Africa in Gauteng. You can taste the spirit of South Africa in the land that is Jozi.
Jozi is the absolute personification of the South African spirit: Jozi has drama, excitement, fun, loud music, love, passion, heartbreak, money, fast rides, cheap rides, designer wear, cheap clothes, tall buildings, big buildings, flashy buildings, old buildings.
See, Jozi has it all.
Jozi is the living embodiment of the culturally diverse South African dream. Jozi oozes with life in full unadulterated form and accommodates languages you cannot understand all the time.
But all who reside in Jozi understand one another remarkably well. That is the beauty of living the South African dream in Jozi.
Would Jozi be Jozi if it were in East London or Polokwane though?
What if I have a night on the town in Jozi to celebrate New Year’s Eve? What if I spend the night in Melville gorging on meaty pizzas and tasty latte macchiatos or spicy vegetarian dishes and double cream strawberry milkshakes?
I can feel the salty liveliness of Melville tickling my pleasure-seeking soul again. Maybe I will wear my pointy dancing shoes on December 31 and dance this one and only 2016 away.
What if I went to Soweto for the night? Will it feel like Soweto does on a sunny Sunday afternoon in November? Will the Chisa Nyama chill spots have succulent New Year flavors to savor all night long?
What if I do Braamfontein this time around? Will that yuppie funkiness of Braamfontein live up to the hype this December and offer hedonistic hipsters from Jozi a night to remember?
Perhaps I will cross Nelson Mandela Bridge and go to Newtown for the night. There I will take my final selfies for 2017 in the spatial theatre of dreams that Newtown is.
You can afford to dream big in Jozi and flourish from the energy and spirit of South Africa.