You can’t sit with us…
Written by Sifiso Gcabashe
The inner city has become the it’ place to be if you are looking for something different. It’s the best place to hang out, live and meet strange, barefoot, homemade beer drinking, beard growing types. The rejuvenation projects within the city are slowly inviting people from all walks of life to, once again, enjoy the city. It is within this small spaces where subcultures are booming.
As positive as this may be, it seems as though not all can be part of the “cool”, these rejuvenation projects are isolating those who already inhabitant the city, they have become the bad piece of the puzzle. The current dwellers of the city seem to be aliens who move around these spaces who choose to stay away from these newly refurbished spaces.
I began to notice this during a recent visit to Arts On Main, (in the Maboneng District) a newly refurbished part of the city. People seemed to stay away, or watch as if it was a movie, watching these “cool” people and their fancy ways with a a sort of shyness and embarrassment, aware that they didn’t seem to fit the new Maboneng criteria of average town dweller.
Places such as Braamfontein and Maboneng and many others have a sense of dishonesty about them. With the development, the rates also go up, slowly displacing people further away from the city centre where all resources are easily accessible. What makes matters worse is that these rejuvenation projects are mostly speared by private individuals and or companies with personal ambitions and plans whose concerns are certainly not the current dwellers of these spaces. Hence there are no means or efforts to foster relations between the new tenants and the old ones, failing to grab an opportunity to create a community of people who live side by side harmoniously.
This is a great project, however it can only reach its peak when it works hand in hand with the communities already there. Fostering better relationships, the government need to be more active in taking over the cleaning up of the city so as to have greater regulations; allowing for living in the city to be more affordable. Until then we shall continue watching each other from across streets and wonder and hope.