Beneath its rough and gritty exterior is a city bursting with life. The dilapidated buildings and decrepit walls splattered with beautiful murals define the city. It lacks the natural beauty that blessed so many other parts of South Africa, the tourist hubs that many travelers understandably skip Johannesburg for.
It may not be naturally beautiful but there is beauty everywhere. However, that beauty wasn’t gifted to the city, it was crafted by it. It was created by the inspired voices and the adept hands of its people. Each mural you see wasn’t painted overnight. It was a process that took years of grit and dedication to one’s craft.
Those murals are a metaphor for Johannesburg. Every wall, every musician, every artist, every shattered window and tired face has a story to tell. What you see on the surface only tells a fraction of the story. The tenacious hustle of each individual is what brings Joburg to life. Hustle’s not just a word here. It’s their entire culture.
Johannesburg was the final stop on my three-month South African expedition. For a week, I stayed at Curiocity Hostel in the vibrant Maboneng Precinct of Johannesburg. Just like the galleries, exhibits, and street murals around it, Curiocity proved to be a work of art. Joburg’s innovative Bheki Dube crafted an oasis for travelers in a city that many international travelers often skip. Impeccable detail went into the design of Curiocity, an ambiguous play of words on both Curiosity and Curio City. Through the hostel, I was given a home base to explore the surrounding Maboneng Precinct as well as opportunities to explore beyond. A group tour in the unmissable turquoise Curiocity van took us to various parts of Soweto, giving a glimpse into the history of apartheid as well as how many effects of it are still felt today. Curiocity proved to be a perfect place to end the trip, mixing in more adventures along with the much-needed relaxing and catching up on work after months on the road.