Discovering Little Paris - Bara

If you're from Johannesburg, then you know about Bara.  If you're from South Africa, you know about Bara.  And possibly those of you from Africa also know about Bara.  This is because Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital is the biggest hospital in Africa and the Southern Hemisphere.  It is also one of the largest hospitals in the world.

The name Bara tells of the hospital I was born in.  The hospital is situated in Soweto, so you think of the township it caters to.

In Janjina we also have a Bara, which is the name of the lower village.  We walk through Bara almost daily.  It is like a small preview of the world we left behind in Africa.  There are old cars in the middle of open fields and the buildings look like they were haphazardly put together and extended, with some looking in dire need of maintenance.  Okay, I'm under exaggerating, some of the buildings are ruins.  The quiet chaos looks like a “location” to us so we refer to it as “lokshin”.

We pass lokshin on our way to the beach.   It marks the first downhill on a long way down to sea level.  Going through Bara makes us smile as it is a reminder of another faraway Bara that is also our home.

Maja Dezulovic

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