After reading this hilarious article by my friends Sven the Bear and Matt Knight, I decided to write my own list of reasons why I love Durban so much.
I am firm believer in blooming where you are planted. I think all of us should cultivate a love for the city in which we live and the people who live in it.
Of course it’s easy to complain about things we don’t love about the places in which we live, but the truth is every town/city/country in the world has its upsides and its downsides.
So… while this list is obviously specific to Durban, South Africa, my challernge to you is to write down the things you love about the place where YOU live. You might just surprise yourself and start appreciating more the place you call home…
10 Things I love about Durban
1. The Ocean
The ocean calms my soul like nothing else. I am a surfer. And everyone who surfs knows that life is better when you surf. The fact that on just about any day of the week, I can pick up my surfboard, or surf-ski (or any other sea-going craft you can think of) and in five minutes be in the water is probably the best thing about Durban. Sunrises, dolphins, warm water, waves… can you think of a better way to start your day? I can’t.
2. The People
Something I learnt quickly when I was traveling abroad: people make a place. You can be living in the middle of paradise, but if you can’t connect with the people, it soon becomes hell. Joburgers call us laid back, Capetonians call us backwards, but I say we Durbanites just know how to balance work and play…
3. The Lifestyle
Durban is known as South Africa’s playground. Head down to the Golden Mile on any given morning and you will see a plethora of people running, cycling, swimming, surfing, paddling, stretching, kettlebell-ing… etc. No matter what your interest, there is just so much to do to keep active and stay healthy.
4. The Traffic (or lack of it)
Sure, we have the odd traffic jam every now and then, but by in large, when compared to other cities of our size, Durban people don’t even know what traffic is.
5. The Surroundings
Within very close proximities of Durban, and in every direction, there are gems waiting to be visited. Spectacular mountains, lakes, game reserves, forests, breathtaking coastline, coffee shops, farms, world heritage sites, and so much more. So take a drive and discover just how gorgeous our country is.
6. The Diversity
Contrary to Ron Burgundy, “diversity” is not in fact an “old old wooden ship”. But it is one of my most favourite things about Durbs. I just love the range of people and cultures and communities that intertwine all around us in weird and wonderful and exciting and often-times redemptive ways…
7. The Africanness
Is that even a word? I love being African and I love living in Africa. Sure, things don’t always work out smoothly and efficiently. Yes, we have potholes and you may spend fourteen hours on the phone to Home Affairs, but I would take that any day above overly-sanitized (and often down-right dull) first-world living. (No offense first-worlders – I just like to walk barefoot and shirtless in a shopping mall without being arrested ).
8. The Poverty
Of course, I do not love poverty or rejoice in it. In fact, it breaks my heart. But being exposed to it on a daily basis does not allow me to live in a bubble of privilege. It forces me to remember how blessed I actually am, and hopefully stirs something in me to get out there and try make a difference. It allows me to evaluate my own generosity, and gets me thinking about others instead of only myself.
9. The Women
I had to say it. But lets just be real: Durban has some incredibly good-looking women. None more beautiful than my gorgeous Durban-born-and-bred wife of course (good save hey?).
10. The Church
I truly believe there is nothing quite like the church when the church is working right. Now I’m not talking just about my local church, I’m talking about the big-C Church – that is all the churches in and around Durban. And I just love that this city has some kick-ass churches who are working together to make an impact. While we may not agree on everything, all agree to help fight poverty, be a voice for the voiceless, and work for social justice. This kind of partnership and cooperation is rare. We don’t always get it right, but at least we’re trying…