Jozi My Jozi

June 24 2021, 0 Comments

In 1993 my working-class parents scraped together enough rands and cents to send me, their Soweto-born first child of three, to high school in Berea.

Before we became the Rainbow Nation in 1994, Berea and Hillbrow were known as places where people of all races, nationalities and creeds could get together to do seemingly ordinary things – like eat, dance and talk to each other away from the crucifying gaze of racist rule.

For the young, the formerly exiled and returnees to the ‘motherland’ these parts of the city represented freedom. Nearby was Rockey Street, where Jah Seed and The Admiral spun reggae dancehall tunes to a thick cloud of the ’erb at House of Tandoor. From restaurants serving injera to the sounds of Fela Kuti booming from Japanese sports cars, the promise of a new South Africa had us all on a high.


An excerpt from I Love You I Hate You by Lerato Tshabalala. For the rest of this piece as well as others like this, get the book.

Lerato Tshabalala is an author, podcast host, editor, digital content creator, and creative director who tells stories for a living. A graduate of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, she studied Business and Entrepreneurship at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, USA. She is tied to Johannesburg because it’s the only place she knows of where a 39-year-old unmarried, childless black woman born in a three-roomed house to a teenage mother in apartheid. South Africa, can still dream.