Flying Cows of Jozi

An invitation to walk

Inner city resident Josine Overdevest invites leaders from business, social and art communities to join her on a walk in town to experience the diverse sights, sounds and special encounters that spell Jozi.

Jozi, the city that reflects and condenses the contradictions at play in the country, and maybe in the world, today: where you can drink your rooftop champagne with a view of overcrowded migrant hostels.

As Josine says: “How I experience my walks can be equally contradictory: sometimes they offer the anonymity I seek, other times I unexpectedly find the sense of community that I also long for, like when a car guard calls me over to share the neighbourhood news.

Some observations of city life break my heart and have me smarting from the unfairness of life: a homeless man carefully preparing his pavement bed. Others, like a passer-by guiding schoolchildren safely across a busy road, bring a long lasting smile to my face and confirm my belief that people can and do make life worthwhile.

It’s in absorbing the city’s extremes and trying to make sense of them that I find how deeply urban walking grows my heart and my horizon. The walks provide me with a perspective that I would love to share with others by inviting them to walk with me and be present in this micro-cosmos of the country, the birthplace of Joburg’s economic activity.”

The intimate walk is offered free of charge. We only ask you “to stop for a moment, to pay attention, to put down our arguments and our fixed positions and to open our eyes.”

And in the weeks following the walk we’d love to hear how the walk has impacted you and inspired you to reflect on, reach out or make changes to your personal, social or professional life.

The Flying Cows of Jozi gladly assist in taking any of your ideas forward so together we spark connections that contribute to a more inclusive society.

 

At Faith47’s Una Salus Victis Nullam Sperare Salutum” at the corner of Rissik and Fox Street. Image: Christi Sa

Impressions

“The Flying Cows CEO walk through a portion of the Jhb CBD was an eye opener for me. Yes, our CBD is just like any other CBD in the world, but it’s our CBD!

The walk was informative, visually pleasing, safe and most importantly I have found other venues to visit for food, reading, drinks and architecture. Josine was a great guide, keeping the walk light-hearted and informative.

I would recommend the Flying Cows CEO walk as an opportunity to take time out of your diary to reconnect with the city, its people and to appreciate what we have.”

Alan Tait, CEO Advance Call

” I have enjoyed the Flying Cows Walk as a returning local, re-walking the streets I remember as a bustling Central Business District. It is exhilarating to retrace the steps inside memories, but equally eerie when the physical representation of those memories is no longer really there.

It is only months later that one begins to review and question the remodeling and re-habitation of urban spaces as politics, economics and sociology migrate and reconfigure. What should be preserved, why and for whom? Equally, what should be disposed of, why and for whom? When businesses go through an inevitable restructuring (always circumstantially, hardly ever voluntarily) what can, and should be, retained in legacy and how should a revamped image and brand project?

Times change, sometimes dramatically, usually imperceptibly. A little revisiting helps to remind us of this constant.”

Chris Primos, branding and advertising executive currently on rediscovery sabbatical

Connections

“Jozi, the city that reflects and condenses the contradictions at play in the country, and maybe in the world, today: where you can drink your rooftop champagne with a view of overcrowded migrant hostels.”

Having these contradictions compressed on just a few square klilometres presents a perspective that is hard to escape and in an intriquing way shapes your understanding of the issues we’re dealing with as a society.

Walking is the best way to experience this perspective, to immerse yourself in the special sounds, smells and sights that spell Jozi.

Josine’s own experiences discovering Johannesburg CBD on foot since 2013 have led to the Flying Cows Walks. After 10 years in the suburbs the joys of urban walking came as an eye-opening surprise and sparked an interest in the wider relevance of the inner city perspective.

An interest that is shared by many others and reflected in their writings, art work and tour-guiding initiatives.

Under Connections you can find the books, tour organisations, links and quotes that further inspired and enriched the perspective offered by these urban walks.