From 15 December – 15 January Johannesburg is empty. No traffic, restaurants are closed for a month, everybody is on holiday. People in Cape Town and Durban say that the whole of Gauteng is migrating to the coast, good for business but not really for the relaxed climate that they are used to. I’ve spent some time in Johannesburg, Christmas in the Netherlands and New Years in the Drakensbergen. All very quiet and relaxed. But new things are ahead.
In Johannesburg I have discovered the public pools. There are more than 50 public pools in Johannesburg! And for only R12 (€0,90) you can chill at the pool. The one I grew fond of is the public pool in Zoo Lake. In the weekends it is busy with families having a braai and the kids splashing in the pool. During the week it is almost empty.
As you can see on the pictures these pools are a reminder of previous times. I have been told that the Melville public pool was originally an olympic size swimming pool. In the ’80s the city decided that a mall would contribute more to the neighbourhood than a large swimming pool. Nowadays the Melville swimming pool looks like this:
I intend to visit many more public pools to admire the history of the buildings and the very nice relaxed and integrated atmosphere.
Play-time is over
But now play-time is over. Traffic is back to horrible, the restaurants have all opened and life is back to business. It is time to work again. In 2014 I have tried to find a job without any luck. I have worked at GRIND, presented at the SAPI conference, engaged in self-study, had many many (career-oriented) coffee dates, wrote this blog and I almost got a job but due to corruption the company is now under investigation and they are not allowed to hire anyone while they are being investigated (just my luck). So this year I try something new; Freelancing. At the end of 2014, I was asked to co-facilitate some workshops for the University of Johannesburg after presenting at the SAPI conference and I am organising another one for them now as well. Since getting a job in South Africa appears to be incredibly difficult as a foreigner (even though I have an Exceptional Skills work permit, which should be the ultimate stamp of approval to hire a foreigner) I’m going to try this new approach of freelancing. During the holiday I have been working on my website and I’m launching it today. Please have a look and feel free to forward it: marritvdschaar.com. Hopefully this will help me to get interesting projects and contacts in 2015. It would be so great to be able to contribute more to the country and city I am living in.