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Sven Eick

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

The curious cult of Cape Town

‘But why?’

I’ve been asked this question by Capetonians at least twenty times since I made the decision to move from Cape Town to Johannesburg. Each time it’s accompanied by a look of genuine perplexity, like I’m completely insane. And while you’re reading this, I know some of you are thinking the same thing too.

The short answer, and one that’s so obvious to me that I’m not sure why I need to explain it, is that pleasant scenery aside, Cape Town sucks big hairy geographical, socio-economic and climatic balls.

Read the rest on my blog.

 

Recent comments:

  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    June 19th, 2015 @09:43 #
     
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    Welcome to the Big Smoke, Sven. Let's get a beer.

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  • <a href="http://louisgreenberg.com" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    June 19th, 2015 @10:43 #
     
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    Sven! Welcome home!

    (Even my corner of downtown Mosul/leafy eastern Joburg suburbs has mellowed into post-depressive acceptance.)

    Drinks!

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  • <a href="http://helenmoffett.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    Helen
    June 19th, 2015 @13:26 #
     
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    Oh Sven, this is a delight (even if I am an incurable Capophile). Wishing you well with the move (and those giant budgies). Next time I travel to Gauteng, I'll have to visit. Bubbles!

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  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    June 19th, 2015 @15:15 #
     
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    Thank you. Drinks in east-side Mosul sounds like an excellent idea. Helen thanks, I hear the Four Seasons Hotel has champagne and nice views in Spring.

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  • SeanMayne
    SeanMayne
    June 19th, 2015 @15:49 #
     
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    ". . . if you go to a bar you have never been to and sit down to have a drink, someone you never met before will probably start a conversation with you . . ." god no, we don't do that in cape town, we're terribly fussy who we mix with and that's sometimes confused with conceit. At least it only took you 18 years to figure out you don't fit in down here :)

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  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    June 19th, 2015 @16:58 #
     
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    That's much more like it. Can't be having with people inviting me out for drinks when I commit heresies, it would give the whole concept of cultism a bad name and I'd miss out on a go in the iron maiden.

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  • Anne Townsend
    Anne Townsend
    June 19th, 2015 @19:34 #
     
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    JHB sounds fabulous - I don't know it at all - do you have a spare room? But why did you move THIRTEEN timers in CPT??? Thirteen???

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  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    June 20th, 2015 @14:36 #
     
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    Yep, 14 times including Muizenberg, although it wasn't that hectic because the first 11 involved moving a couple of suitcases. Before you come up to Joburg I'd recommend taking an advanced driver's course, driving here is not a mode of transport, it's a martial art.

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  • Anne Townsend
    Anne Townsend
    June 20th, 2015 @17:08 #
     
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    But don't you think if you'd committed to one place you'd have met like-minded people? I've never found transience a good way to grow to love any place. I'm totally not into a car-oriented lifestyle so not sure JHB would suit me. (I know what you mean about Capetonians sneering at JHB even when they barely know it - spot on!)

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  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    June 21st, 2015 @10:48 #
     
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    This isn't an attack on the people of Cape Town or an attempt to paint them all with one brush, I'm just taking on a particular mindset that is part of the city's culture. Some of my best friends are Capetonian cultists.

    Moving around gave me the opportunity to experience a variety of subcultures, and even the odd forgiving micro-climate. Kalk Bay and Clovelly were both great places to stay.

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  • Kaykii
    Kaykii
    June 25th, 2015 @11:35 #
     
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    In no way was that a 'reasonably civil' article. It's just another boring 'us' vs 'them' excuse to pit rad South Africans against other rad South Africans. Both cities are fucking awesome. Each in their own distinct way. So why write an article that feeds that INANE dinner party discussion, "well we have higher salaries." "well we have the mountain".

    Your bird is a crested Barbet btw.

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  • adriaan
    adriaan
    June 25th, 2015 @12:07 #
     
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    Pander to the social median much Sven? Can't imagine a less worthwhile and more saturated topic and it's a pity to me that someone with obvious talent went to the trouble of writing something so cynically engineered to be controversial (in the absolute broadest interpretation of the term). This is not a competition between Cape Town and Johannesburg. It's a competition between Cape Town and the immature notion that the the grass is greener on the other side. You're in for a moerse surprise mate. But I suspect your error is born of ignorance rather than malice.

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  • <a href="http://sveneick.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Sven</a>
    Sven
    June 25th, 2015 @12:19 #
     
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    Kaykii, I think you missed my comment about this not being an attack on the people of Cape Town (who include my family and closest friends).

    It's an unfortunate artifact of the Internet age that people tend to assume that because you disagree with someone about something (in this case the popular notion that Cape Town lives up to its own hype, and that Joburg is by default awful) that you automatically hate that person, after which everyone climbs into their trenches and gets their offended on.

    While I would say that Joburg is a relatively easy-going and open society in comparison to Cape Town, I definitely would not characterize the population of either city as being either particularly rad or particularly awful. I don't feel comfortable painting whole populations with one brush either way.

    I do feel much more comfortable stating with some degree of conviction and authority that the Cape weather is an ongoing crime against humanity, and in pointing out objectionable ways in which populations might think about each other (which is, I believe, the most popular bloodsport on the Internet).

    So, as I state at the beginning, this is a response to a very specific question I was asked by a number of people in very particular way, and my attempt to answer it. While the Marquess of Queensbury rules may not have been applied throughout, I'd invite you to consider the lack of restraint and effortless bigotry one typically finds in the one-way traffic headed in the other direction.

    Thank you for identifying the bird in question, it definitely looks like the culprit and I have linked him up. Now if you can point me in the direction of these higher Johannesburg salaries you were talking about I'd be most grateful.

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  • Lyndylu
    Lyndylu
    June 25th, 2015 @12:34 #
     
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    I loved this! As a reluctant Capetonian of 11 years, I'm a little tired of the skeef (look it up, it's a Joburg thing!) looks I get when I say I'd go home (and yes, it's still home!). Everything you've said is spot on, maybe the truth is a little uncomfortable.

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  • <a href="http://www.elysia.co.za" rel="nofollow">JLakic1981</a>
    JLakic1981
    June 25th, 2015 @21:22 #
     
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    Thank you!
    Pretoria is alive and beautiful too.

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  • CEspin
    CEspin
    July 14th, 2015 @11:32 #
     
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    Yes yes! I love this! I am a Capetonian who moved to JHB for three years. I fell hopelessly in love with Jozi and I still have people ask me why I would leave Cape Town! To say SA ends at the Orange River is so sad! Joburg and it's neighbours have so much beauty and let's not forget that the bush is by far the most beautiful parts of SA.

    Thank you for writing this and putting my thoughts into words ;)

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  • KaalvoetPretoriaMeisie
    KaalvoetPretoriaMeisie
    January 27th, 2016 @08:48 #
     
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    Oh my goodness, this was just too funny! I have lived in Cape Town almost four years now, and I'm heading back to Pretoria, my home town, in two weeks.

    I laughed out loud a few times, because it simply is the truth. For me the decision is simple, my family and all my lifelong friends are in the Jacaranda City, and I have finally had that moment of "what the fuck am I doing here?!?" when everyone I love is up there. Life is simply too short!

    It was an interesting experience, had fantastic times, and also soul-killing lonely times, where not even gazing at Table mountain can lift my mood when my loved ones are so far away!

    I guess I had a serious bout of homesickness! All Cape Town will see of me is my red tail lights and my middle finger in the rear view mirror!

    One stop at Beaufort West to look up at the Milky Way and then it's home-baby-home!

    I am so excited I can barely contain myself!

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  • Anne Townsend
    Anne Townsend
    January 27th, 2016 @16:17 #
     
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    I doubt Cape Town will see your middle finger.

    But thanks for warning us.

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