I have been waiting very impatiently for an important event here in Johannesburg – the blooming of the Jacarandas. These trees are scattered across the city, and every October they erupt in blossoms, turning Joburg into a purple wonderland. Jacaranda’s are not a native African tree, but their surprising beauty has become a symbol for the city.I saw my first purple buds a couple of weeks ago, and ever since have been on the hunt for the perfect Jacaranda scene. I pictured a quiet street where the tangles of tree limbs arch over the road in perfect symmetry, creating a complete canopy of lilac.
I crisscrossed the northern suburbs for weeks but never found that “perfect” street. I was beginning to get frustrated at Mother Nature for being a rude tease, but Spencer convinced me to give our own neighborhood a second chance. I’m glad he did. With camera in hand, we combed the streets of Westcliff, and while the blooms here were a bit patchy, they were still beautiful. Down the quiet streets of Westcliff, the gnarly tree branches create magic, lilac-tinged passageways as fluttering purple petals fall into puddles on the roads.Our camera skills are amateur at best, so these photos don’t come even close to capturing the dainty beauty of these trees. Still, here are a few more favorites.
Ironically, this symbol of the city has been declared an invasive species and it is now illegal to plant them. I’m glad I got to see them in their full glory, and I am actually happy I never found the picture perfect Jacaranda street I had dreamed of. It makes a nice metaphor for Joburg as a whole. The city is not the prettiest at first glance, but with some searching and an open heart, there is so much beauty to find in Johannesburg.