|Joburg has lots going for it, from its wide-open green spaces to its cultural diversity, says Mary Metcalfe, professor of education at Wits. For her, the vibe of Newtown competes with the coffee shops of Melville for sheer entertainment value.|
IT IS a pleasure to drive through avenues of trees to and from work every day, says Mary Metcalfe, professor of education at Wits University. "Some parts of Johannesburg are very beautiful, particularly the northern suburbs," she says.
Metcalfe has just returned to Wits, after working outside education since 1994, where her task is to merge the university's education department and the former Johannesburg College of Education. The actual merger took place two years ago, but this year they will share a budget.
Born and educated in Zimbabwe, Metcalfe has lived in Johannesburg for the past 25 years. She enjoys the city's diversity - from Chinatown in Cyrildene to the feel of Fordsburg.
"There is access to a broad range of cultural things - like theatre and bookshops - and there's always interesting things happening," she says.
She completed her education at Wits, obtaining her masters degree in education in 1988. She also lectured at the Johannesburg College of Education between 1983 and 1985, moving on to lecturing in education at Wits between 1986 and 1994.
But politics called and Metcalfe became education MEC for the Gauteng legislature, switching to agriculture, environment and land affairs from 1999 to 2004. In May 2004 she was appointed deputy speaker in the Gauteng legislature. She came home to Wits at the beginning of 2005.
Metcalfe enjoys visiting Joburg's green spaces, particularly the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden in Roodepoort and Emmarentia Dam in Greenside. Thokoza Park in Soweto is also a beautiful park, she says.
If she is not at a park, Metcalfe enjoys spending time in the coffee shops of Melville and the CBD. Another favourite is the vibe in Newtown. Having worked for the past 10 years for the province, she enjoyed having offices in the City Hall - "It's a wonderful building".
Joburg has "lots going for it", Metcalfe says, and together with other Joburgers, she is certainly getting her slice.