|Joburg may not be the most beautiful city, but it is exciting and vibrant and at the coalface of what people think, says the author and journalist, Jennifer Crwys-Williams.|
JOHANNESBURG has a sense of the now, much like New York, says the popular Radio 702 talk show host and author, Jennifer Crwys-Williams.
"This is where it's at," she says, admitting at the same time that she loves New York. And she should know – she's lived in Durban, London, Oxford and Cambridge. She returned to Joburg 20 years ago – she was born here – and has not left since then.
Photo cred: The Citizen
In Joburg there's a sense of a melting pot, unlike the more colonial feel in Cape Town and Durban, she adds.
Crwys-Williams talks of a couple she knows who came to live in Joburg from Cape Town, and were initially in a mild state of shock. But three years down the line they were "kind of into the groove" of Jozi.
She moved to Zimbabwe as a 12-year-old, where she was educated, with further study at the Open University in Britain and at Unisa.
Her journalism career began in the UK, and in 1976 she returned to South Africa, working as woman's editor of The Natal Mercury. A stint on Cosmopolitan was followed by launching Excellence magazine for Sun International. She has also written for Style magazine and other publications.
In 1993 Crwys-Williams joined Radio 702, at the time the country's only talk show station, and since then has established herself as the country's premier radio host. She has interviewed such people as Hilary Rodham Clinton and her husband Bill Clinton, Desmond Tutu, Meryl Streep and Paul Theroux.
She is the author of 11 books, including I Want Love in South Africa, Dear God, South African Despatches – Two Centuries of the Best in Journalism, The Penguin Dictionary of South African Quotations, and In the Words of Nelson Mandela, a collection of quotes from the world icon.
Crwys-Williams shares her great enthusiasm for books by means of a book club called Jenny & Co, through which members can meet local and international authors.
Although admitting that Joburg is not the world's most beautiful city, she describes it as "exciting and vibrant", and the "coalface of what people think".
She soaks up the city by "getting around quite a bit", enjoying what's on offer at the Market Theatre and the Civic Theatre. And Crwys-Williams is becoming excited by what is happening in Newtown, with the City and the private sector pouring millions of rand into the inner city suburb in an effort to push rejuvenation and establish a cultural precinct.
"It is beginning to happen in Newtown; there is a new energy there, sparked by what's happening on Constitution Hill."
Crwys-Williams loves the old parts of the city and the old buildings, but she also loves the new buildings, like the JSE Securities Exchange building in Sandton. "It's a lovely, sexy building, and Sandton is kind of yum, very 21st century."
And Joburgers will be glad to know that Crwys-Williams has "no plans to go anywhere".