100 Steps to Happiness: Long walk IS freedom


Nelson Mandela Bridge

So I accidentally walked over 5kms yesterday in Johannesburg’s CBD. I was given an early lunch and rather than drive around, I decide to explore a place that not many people I know would feel too comfortable walking around in.

The Johannesburg CBD is dirty with rubbish blowing past your feet, the stench of urine as you round the corner and not the most trust-worthy of characters at your back.

However it also also one of the most beautiful and vibrant  places alive. Many of my friends pity me that I’m from Johannesburg, the “crime and rape capital of the South Africa” and while I realise that more often than not their right, their view of my home town is incongruent to what I see and experience.

More than once I could have been a target of crime. The first moment was when I was at the bank and I’d not realised I’d dropped my purse on the floor (it had been laying there for quite a while). The second occasion was that I’d stupidly not zipped up my bag properly and the opening of it was facing away from me, enticing any pickpockter who happened to be near by. On both instances, people came forward and pointed this out to me- showing their concern for my safety and well being. Joburg isn’t heartless, despite our often “New York” attitude.

At an intersection I slipped on what I hope was drain water, in full view of busy traffic. Vendors and gentleman loading their trucks chivalrously helped me up and checked if I was okay. I was overwhelmed by the constant connecting of people in the city. It reminded me that no person is an island and that we need other people to be there for us.

So my second step was quite a profound one. Can you imagine how exciting your day is when you actively look for happiness in the smallest of things?


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