|Joburgers are inclined to concentrate on the punctuation and not the text and the punctuation can be lousy, whereas the text is lekker, says Denis Beckett, journalist and writer and long-time resident of Johannesburg.|
"The punctuation is the crime and not-so-perfect side of life in Jo'burg but some people spend too much time focusing on it," says Beckett.
Beckett was born in London but has lived most of his life in Johannesburg and having been here for so long, he wouldn't think of living elsewhere.
He is well-known for his television series Beckett's Trek on SABC, which moved around the country talking to South Africans and asking them about their lives in the new South Africa. The crew also went to Australia, and chatted to South Africans in that part of the world. Beckett has this to say about Aussie on his website: "I needn't have worried about falling in love with Oz. It wasn't even a temptation. A fundamentally admirable society, for sure; a lovable one, no thanks."
What does he do to soak up the city? "I used to go and play chess in the Library Gardens in town until someone nicked the chess pieces - I hope they bring them back."
"I quite enjoy town, on the whole it is pleasant, or no more unpleasant than anywhere else. Now that they have restored the parking meters, there are no car guards, but hawkers will look after the meter and they are pleasant and friendly."
Beckett contends that Johannesburg is not all rosy, but there is a rosy side which too many people tend to forget.
And he enjoys the suburbs too. "One of my favourite places is Zoo Lake, partly because it is close to where I live. I went down there when the Zoo Lake Concert was on, and I found the atmosphere to be warm and connected."
He also enjoys going out to Johannesburg's closest mountain range, Magaliesberg, some 70 kilometres north-west of the city, to a spot called Retiefskloof. "I enjoy the mountain rock pools, there is a slide pool and a deep pool."
Beckett has just finished a new book, entitled Jetlag - SA Airways and the Andrews era. He has written six books, including Trekking and Madibaland, and is busy on another three.
"What is great about Johannesburg is that it is richer, rounder and more full than other South African cities. We just need to maximise the richness," he stresses.