Local creative, Nontobeko, shares her experiences of living in two hoods very different to each other. From the small town of Newcastle to the bustling streets of Jozi.

Cities were always like people showing their varying personalities to the traveller… Where one city will rise a certain individual to its glory, it will destroy another who is not suited to its personality. Only through travel can we know where we belong or not, where we are loved and where we are rejected. -Roman Payne, Cities and Countries

Growing up in Newcastle was highly different to Johannesburg. The noise level in cities is very different to small towns. Hearing sirens and car horns is the norm in a city; but in a small town it sets you into panic mode.

Johannesburg is lively with activity, from sunrise to sunset. There is a constant hustle and bustle in the city. People rushing off after work, to gym, belly dancing classes, pottery classes, chocolate classes (where you learn everything there is to know about chocolate), and bakery classes.

In Newcastle all we have is the gym.

A laid-back attitude is the tone of our small town.

In Newcastle I know most of my neighbours. Walking in the mall in a small town means you are highly likely to bump into someone you know. There are so many people living in Johannesburg that you can get lost in the crowd.

In Newcastle we complain about the traffic congestion, where on a bad day you can be stuck in traffic for twenty minutes at most.

When I arrived in Johannesburg I was acquainted with the true meaning of the words traffic congestion.  South Africa ranks the 5th highest in traffic congestion. On average Joburgers spend an extra 45 minutes in traffic.

Newcastle was voted cleanest and best maintained Town. Newcastle is extremely spotless and unpolluted. Johannesburg CBD is not as maintained.

Stars shine brighter in Newcastle. In Newcastle you can actually stargaze and enjoy the beauty of the night sky. In Johannesburg the pollution from the factories makes it hard to see the stars.

Having lived in a huge city and a small town, the one common trait we all possess is the need for belonging. Emily Giffin was quoted as saying “Everyone wants to belong somewhere. Everyone wants to be part of something bigger than themselves”. Everyone wants to be part of a community that is safe, where they are accepted and acknowledged.

Nontobeko recently joined the OurHood team as a marketing and social media intern. Her insight into South African communities adds to the neighbourliness we aim to instill in all our hoods.

Your friendly neighbours at OurHood.

Connecting neighbours, strengthening communities.