Joshua Kissi : After years of piercing questions as to when we would visit South Africa it finally came to fruition. I don’t think we were prepared for what we were about to experience in the young energetic city of Johannesburg.
Given the historical background of South Africa, it is a melting pot of many ethnic backgrounds and tribes. A beautiful metropolis where you can find Indians in the garment district, Chinese in Chinatown, and It’s unfortunate that the first thing people ask us is “How is the crime ?” or “Did you get robbed?” as a growing city I’m afraid these are the type of stigmas JoBurG will have to face, but I can honestly say we didn’t experience such activities.
South Africans are big on culture and ethnic backgrounds with beautiful various backgrounds in Zulu, Xhosa, Swazi , and many other ethnic groups. They wouldn’t take “America or Britain” for an answer when they would ask “where are you from?” Meaning your roots, your family lineage which seems to very important there. Retaining their history and culture as the world becomes smaller, cultures become more homogenized, and people become closer seems to be important to them.
We traveled with Sam and Shaka of Art Comes First, and Ouigi of the Brooklyn Circus. Our number one concern was how could we bridge arts, fashion, general market between the West and Africa.
Once we landed and were settled we ventured over to the “cool” district of JoBurG which Braamfontein and I thought to myself “Are we in Brooklyn? (Laughs to self) We found the younger generation of South Africa which is almost a whopping 50 percent of the population dismantling all stereotypes that the continent has endured through the decades. The youth of South Africa personally inspired me, not only were they stylish they could be on your favorite street style blog, or snapped by Tommy Ton but they could give you an in depth breakdown on socio-political issues in their country from the past, present and where they want to see things gravitate to in the future.
It’s a pleasure to see the Travel Etiquette series continue to grow organically from country to country, I can honestly say I’ve learned more about myself by traveling more than anything else.
Thank you guys for witnessing and traveling with us.
Travis Gumbs: Growing up, it was always a dream of mine to travel and see first hand what the world had to offer. I can’t express how grateful I am to be able to fulfill this dream through our Travel Etiquette series. South Africa has been on my wish list of travel destinations for some time now, especially after hearing countless tales of how beautiful and inspiring of a place it is, which only added to the anticipation of our visit.
After visiting a new place, upon return I ask myself, “would I live here?” While in Johannesburg, the question never even came to mind. It felt like a home away from home. To echo what Josh said, Joburg is definitely the Brooklyn of Africa. The hospitality and kindheartedness was immediately apparent from the moment we touched down, from the people of Instagrass space who showed us nothing but open arms by letting us use their space, to the brothers Innocent and Justice of the popular style blog I See A Different You, who showed us around and even took us to their hometown of Soweto, where they greeted us with a good old fashioned South African feast. A feeling of free-spirited creativity, as well as a serious passion for all that you do, emanated from everyone we had the opportunity to spend time with. Most surprising was the keen sense of self that the youth seemed to posses, along with a confident disposition to explore outside of their boundaries, in fashion, music and art. It was the perfect balance between knowing your roots and exploring and understanding what is going on in the world.
Our goal with Travel Etiquette started as a selfish one, as we honestly just wanted to see what’s out there, and bring some life to the images we see from behind the computer screen. We could never imagine that this would lead to us meeting great people and experiencing unforgettable moments that will shape who we are and how we live on a daily basis. Our goal now is to hopefully inspire others to go and create those priceless moments and memories for themselves, and do what the internet has done for us all- keep this world connected.