HOW TO GET AHEAD: WORKING ABROAD ... JOHANNESBURG - You might expect war but Jo’burg has a nice side to counter a hard underbelly

Marcus McKenzie, strategic planner at The Daily Telegraph, used to work in Johannesburg for The Guardian as group sales manager.

Marcus McKenzie, strategic planner at The Daily Telegraph, used to

work in Johannesburg for The Guardian as group sales manager.



’Johannesburg is purported to be the most violent democratically run

city on the planet. It has one of the highest rates of rape and, where

weapons are concerned, the preferred ’tool’ is either a 9mm pistol or an

AK47.



’This was the psychological baggage I took with me to South Africa. The

reality was completely the opposite. Like anywhere, if you’re in the

wrong place at the wrong time, horrible things can happen, but simple

precautions are the most effective deterrent.



’Working in South Africa is fantastic. They drive on the left like us

and despite there being 11 official languages, English is the norm.



’My working day started at 8am but finished at 4.30pm. The pace is

slower than the UK, although just as competitive in certain quarters. I

was surprised to find the communication infrastructure to be first-world

in many respects.



Getting the pronunciation of names correct is an ongoing difficulty but

people are quite forgiving. Learning a few rudimentary words in Zulu and

Afrikaans is a real winner.



’The social side of things was out of this world. I met the president,

acted in commercials, ate at the best restaurants, went on safaris,

frequented shooting ranges and addressed a graduation ceremony at Wits

university. And yes, I had a swimming pool in my garden.’



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