Fake sea and phony beaches: why Joburgers love an ocean fantasy

Johannesburg is the largest city in the world not located on a major body of water. Yet its landlocked inhabitants have a years-old fascination with manmade versions - and it's growing

14 November 2021 - 00:04 By Sean Christie

Very little about veld-bitten Woodmead Drive suggests water. It is true that the road crosses the Jukskei River, but overgrown banks and creeping business-park perimeter fences all but obscure the water on approach. Water has been privatised, occluded.

Motorists and pedestrians face estate walls, dealership flags and large billboards: Classic Monday Burger; Granite Warehouse; Fragrance Sale — the ugly inertia of pre-Google consumer capitalism. Most messages fail to catch even the corner of the eye but one, promising the impossible, compels a double take: EXCLUSIVE BEACH LIVING, the words printed above a poor artist impression of a large, sand-fringed pool, topped with red kayaks...

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