Johannesburg. Joburg. Jozi. Joziburg. Whatever you call this city, it had me at hello.
Let’s face it, Johannesburg doesn’t have the best reputation. When you tell people you’re moving here they fear for your safety and question your judgment. And though most tourists arrive in South Africa via Joburg, they quickly move on to other destinations. They are missing out! This city has so much to offer residents and tourists alike.
The reality of Joburg defies perceptions. After a traumatic history under apartheid and urban decay in the 1980s and 1990s, Joburg is experiencing an amazing rebirth. There is a unique and vibrant atmosphere here, an energy I’ve never experienced anywhere else.
Jozi is making a comeback. And it's an exciting time to be here witnessing it.
Now I'm not saying there aren't problems, extreme wealth inequality being the biggest. But if there's any place in Africa that can create a middle-class and lift people out of poverty, it's Joburg--the economic capital of both South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa.
Hopefully, the city that promotes itself as 'a world class African city' can lead the way.
My next blog will look at Kiva's work to alleviate poverty in Joburg. Please check back!
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As Portfolio Manager for Anglophone Africa, Michelle is responsible for oversight and expansion of Kiva's partnerships in eastern and southern Africa. Based in Nairobi, Kenya, she began working at Kiva in 2013 after completing a Kiva Fellowship in South Africa and Zambia. Michelle developed a passion for Africa right out of college as a volunteer with the Jane Goodall Institute in Uganda. She went on to conduct graduate research in Gabon with the Wildlife Conservation Society and teach African geography courses at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to Kiva, Michelle also spent four years working in financial operations and compliance at Nakoma Capital Management. She holds a Master's degree in Geography and African Studies and a Bachelor's degree in Zoology and Conservation Biology from UW-Madison.