‘No, I’m from Cape Town’ – 15 ways to spot a Capetonian in Joburg

Jun 6, 2019, Author: Candice May

Cape Town and Johannesburg – the cultural epicentres of South Africa’s opposing ends – are nothing alike. In Cape Town, residents deal with short-distance road rage, but Joburg natives face long-distance traffic. Cape Town inhabitants live amongst international model execs, while Joburgers share space with vermin of mixed species. And Cape Town’s daily weather report offers a grab-bag of meteorological horrendousness; Joburg continually offers eternal sunshine.  

It goes without saying that the mentalities of Capetonians versus Joburgers differ too – it’s no wonder there’s beef between the Mother City and the City of Gold! Well, from Cape Town’s side, at least – here in Joburg we don’t greet newcomers by giving them incorrect directions to the city centre and criticising the way they spread avocado on their toast. That said, as hard as us Joburgers try to like Capetonians – mainly because we all like being that guy who likes the thing everyone else hates (like Twilight and pineapple on pizza) – there are some things Capetonians do and say that we can’t help but laugh at when they’re visiting our city. 


1. They can’t go anywhere without discussing how they got there. Whether they’ve caught the Gautrain from Sandton to Rosebank to watch a movie at Cinema Noveau or taken an Uber into the depths of Maboneng to visit Market on Main. It just happens.  

2. They’re always weirdly sleepy even though they haven’t really done anything. Being in Joburg must feel like a Xanax for them – like their limbs have been dipped in a vat of pudding. Perhaps it’s because they don’t have the ocean to gaze at. We, on the other hand, always feel like we’re halfway through drinking that cup of coffee we didn’t need. 

3. They call the entertainment business ‘the industry’. And apparently literally everyUber driver they have is trying to be a part of that industry. 

4. They start each day with akaleappleginger cold-pressed juice. We get our immune-system boost from the big drop of air-conditioner leak that lands in our coffee inside the lipstick-stained mug from the office kitchen when we’re carrying it to our desk. Thank you very much. 

5. Their standards of beauty are wildly different. To them, beauty is all about looking refreshed and athletic à la juice cleanses (AKA starvation), hikes up Lion’s Head (three times in one day) and a natural tan (secretly produced in a tanning bed). We want to look on the verge of death 24/7 and flaunt our malnourished figures proudly. Sorry, honey – this body isn’t brought to you by kale and pilates! 


6. They refer to our main roads with a ‘the’ in front. You’re not driving on William Nicol. You’re driving on the William Nicol. 

7. They’ll never give a straight answer about what they do for a living. They’re always between projects. They might be a personal trainer, a bartender or a pet psychic, but they’re also this close to getting a deal with so-so, which will catapult them to overnight fame. 

8. They aren’t familiar with first-come, first-serve at the cinema. At our bioscope we don’t buy specific seats. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with you guys? Have you never heard of a first-come, first-served free-for-all in a dark room where everything is damp with synthetic butter? If you don’t get there early to wrestle for your seat, you’ll miss all the adverts and trivia about movies from seven years ago. 

9. Road rage is a part of their genetic makeup. They almost feel uneasy if there isn’t a long line of red robots ahead of them. 

10. They don’t get why we don’t have already ripe avocados. Get out of here with that nonsense! Our grocery stores put out five hundred petrified avocados and shoppers must squeeze every last one of them before buying the softest – but still rock-hard – option and then take it home and watch it go from unripe to rotten without ever being edible. That’s how Joburgers do avocados. 


11. They don’t want their parking ticket validated. They’re from Cape Town and don’t know how to drive – they’ve told you this already. Now stop talking to them while they wait for their poké bowl and Uber driver. 

12. They can’t believe we’re never outdoors when it’s ‘perfect weather’. Do yoknow what we’re doing on most of those days? We’re inside working because we’ve got too much stuff to do to care that it’s lovely outside. We only find out that it was nice at the end of the day, when we’re leaving our offices at 21h00 and a co-worker says something in the lift about the weather. 

13. They don’t know the difference between ‘hike’ and ‘walk’. Do you know what we call a hike in Joburg? We call it walking – and we walk all the time. PS: all of our parks are absolute no-go areas.  

14. They’ll never believe that you choose to live in apartment over a house. A two-bedroom house with a front and back garden? Psh. What do you need all that space for? Yoga? Living in small spaces builds character, whether it’s a state-of-the-art penthouse in the Sandton Skye or a bachelor pad above a warehouse in Bertrams. All of this ‘actual house’ business makes you soft. 

15. They find it weird going into a grocery store without seeing pets in there too. And, before you say anything, it’s not service animals that they’re referring to. 

And..Capetonians know a good salad. Joburgers know a good pizza. Somehow this crucial difference is more telling than anything else. 

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