Clarkson on Jozi

Jeremy Clarkson has been to Johannesburg.
And he didn’t get mugged, hijacked, shot, stabbed or killed in any way whatsoever.

I could reproduce the whole article here, but I won’t – click his name if you want that.
Meanwhile, here’s just a little taster.

Jo’burg has a fearsome global reputation for being utterly terrifying, a lawless Wild West frontier town paralysed by corruption and disease. But I’ve spent quite a bit of time there over the past three years and I can reveal that it’s all nonsense.

“Pah,” said the armed guard who’d been charged with escorting me each day from my hotel to the Coca-Cola dome where I was performing a stage version of Top Gear.

Quite why he was armed I have absolutely no idea, because all we passed was garden centres and shops selling tropical fish tanks. Now I’m sorry, but if it’s true that the streets are a war zone, and you run the risk of being shot every time you set foot outside your front door, then, yes, I can see you might risk a trip to the shops for some food. But a fish tank? An ornamental pot for your garden? It doesn’t ring true.

Look Jo’burg up on Wikipedia and it tells you it’s now one of the most violent cities in the world . . . but it adds in brackets “citation needed”. That’s like saying Gordon Brown is a two-eyed British genius (citation needed).

Check the comments – he’s got all the ex-pats into a frenzy. “You didn’t go to Hillbrow”, “You were reading the wrong newspapers”, “You had a guard” etc etc etc. Bless. They hate the fact that they might lose some sympathy points over in Blighty or Ozland when people read this. I’d guess that the most annoying thing for them is that he’s independent, has no agenda here, no need to take one side nor the other – oh – and well read.
Ooh – that’s quite a lot of annoying things. You can see why they’re all upset. 
So well done for speaking truthfully, Jezza.

Now – if you’d just let me walk around your lighthouse, we’d all be sorted.

Thanks to MrShallowEndDiver for the heads-up

11 thoughts on “Clarkson on Jozi

  1. Yar, Jezza has lots of nice things to say about us…except when it comes to our wine. Which I have issues with 😉

    Goblin´s last blog post was: More Regrets (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  2. About 40 years ago when the US Supreme Court finally got down to business and ended North American apartheid, our major cities were shaken by waves of violence, criminality, and white flight. Shortly thereafter, after all the uptight counterproductive folks fled town, our city centers zoomed back to life on a tidal wave of countercultural creativity. Take heart SA. It is only a matter of time.

    Scott Morgan Lewis´s last blog post was: Drug-Sniffing Dog Becomes Latest Victim of War on Civil Liberties (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  3. I don’t read many South African blogs. Actually, I read one and that is Spindrifting South African Sea Monkey, which I found by following links through Blogland a few weeks ago, on a rainy day, when I had oodles of time to spare. And she is an expat so not really in the loop on South African issues.

    And then this morning I found your blog because Po recommended that readers vote for you in the blog awards. So I came to see what you have to say.

    And what you have to say about Johannesburg and crime is a bit silly. Far too broad, sweeping and generalised.

    Yes, Jeremy Clarkson said what he saw and experienced. And yes the crime isn’t in your face every minute of the day. It isn’t highly visible.

    But, it IS there.

    I live in the UK at the moment – I am a nomad so don’t stay anywhere for a long time. Hence, have not been back to Johannesburg for about 3 years.

    But my family live there.

    My family who have been repeatedly hijacked at gun point and knife point. My family who have had their houses burgled. Their cars stolen. Sometimes sneakily, in the night, sometimes by violent force.

    My family who have been hurt and traumatised and hospitalised because of criminals who have attacked them.

    And then there are my friends. And their friends. All of them, each and every one of them, have been touched, directly, by violence and crime. Shot at and stabbed and hit and tied up and scared witless.

    You see, just spending a bit of time in Johannesburg, having a laugh and a good time, and not living the reality day by day, does not give anyone the ability to make a sound judgement on what life is like a place.

    Jermey Ckarkson is an entertainer who lives a sheltered life in England. He also has a very big mouth, a loose tongue and blows a lot of hot air.

    Nice enough man. Good at his job.

    But can he accurately state that the crime in Johannesburg is exaggerated?


    And if you live in Cape Town, then neither can you. because your reality is different to someone who lives in Joburg.

  4. Oi oi oi! Not all of us off to Ozland are “fleeing” the great fun changes 😛 Did I get the accent right?? Isn’t “Oi” a brit thing?? Argh. Fok.

    Anyway. Yeah. Finally a link to fun dumb comments on this article that I thoroughly enjoyed! Is the greater lesson that we all need just a bit more perspectives in our lives?!

    Champagne Heathen´s last blog post was: An Ode to One’s New Home (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  5. CH > The “Oi!” was good. Accurate. Although, having been here 5 years, apparently I speak like a saffa now.
    “For my sins”.
    Yes – a bit of perspective. That’s all. Would be nice. Nice.

    Wendy > Since you’re not a regular here, you won’t perhaps realise that quite a lot of what is written here is done with a little bit of tongue in cheek. Not a lot of tongue: that would be rude. So just a little.
    You will also be possibly unaware that one of my bugbears, my little annoyances, my pet hates, as it were is moaning expats. Any moaning expat, it doesn’t have to be a South African one. Although you gys are so especially good at it. Like rugby. And cricket. OK – perhaps no so much cricket, but… grr.. anyway…

    Yes, JC’s piece was unashamedly biased. I love it for that. But do you not see any element of humour in there? This isn’t some UN report on Jozi. It’s a newspaper column from a bloke who writes funny stuff.

    But what a change from the normal doom and gloom that is constantly forced down our throats. And the constant hysterical generalisations and “poor me” syndrome. ALL of your friends and fmily DIRECTLY affected by crime? Really? ALL? DIRECTLY? If that is the case – give up the Lotto right now – you are the unluckiest person on the entire planet. Or you have very few friends and family.

    No-one is saying that crime isn’t a problem in Jhb or SA (well, OK, Clarkson is, but that was a funny column – see above). Just that we need to find a little perspective. And understand that the perception of crime is 1000 times worse than the actual incidence. I’ve said this a million times or more.

    And all of those expats who rely on iol and news24? Well – those sites don’t write about Jenny vd Merwe having a completely ordinary, uneventful, uncrime related day. So of course the viewpoint is skewed.

    We’re not all going to be killed in Jhb. Or Cape Town – or anywhere else.
    Crime happens – yes, in Cape Town too – but you seem to think it should rule our lives. I happen to disagree.

  6. OK I’ll read some more of your blog and see if I can get the tongue in cheek thing. Maybe I am just having a humourless day? Probably.

    And no – haven’t nominated you. Will read some more first.

    (By the way – the family I have in Joburg really have all been directly touched by crime. Some more than once. And although I have few friends still in SA, those who live/d in Joburg have also personally experienced a hijacking/burglary/smash-and-grab/house-ransacking-whilst-tied-up.)

    Knowing their fear and trauma/shock is why it’s hard for me to see the humour in Mr Clarkson’s little article. But I’ll read it again with an open mind. I suppose with JC one has to raise an eyebrow and grin.

  7. Wendy > Then you really are unlucky. I also have friends (not really family) in Jo’burg and they have been wholly directly unaffected by crime. Once again – that’s not to say it doesn’t happen, just a sign that we don’t have to be preoccupied by it the whole time.
    Yes – please read the blog. Enjoy the blog, nominate the blog and vote for the blog. Subscribe to the feed. Send the blogger money and love, and – since you’re in the UK – some pounds.

    That would be nice.

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