Soweto: A Conversation

You look quite tired. Rough weekend?

Bru, it was insane!

Haha! What you do?

Eish! Soweto

Choon the story

Bru! Okay I will choon you. So you know a few weeks ago I went on a tour at like 9am. Eish, that was hectic. We finished off the night before at around 5 or something and I do not remember the end of that night! Anyway, we hit Soweto in the morning. It was hard, very hard. But it was such a top trip. Kliptown! Yoh yoh yoh! I think I need to blog about that soon.

I think you do need to blog about it.

Bru, I have to blog about it! And I got some over top pictures but uh, I left my camera in Soweto.

Only you.

Bru, ONLY I will do something like that. Remember what happened to my old camera? Ok I don’t even know what happened but I had to get a new one. And this new one has been through a lot. It survived a monsoon. Like a real monsoon. It had a lukka water mark for quite a while too. Anyway, the ous kept it though so that was orite.

Ya, that camera does look about 20 years old.

I know right! Anyway, this was like two, three weeks ago. I kinda needed to pick it up. It’s slightly difficult to blog without it. So I said that on Sunday, I’d go get the camera. Out of the blue, Piotr drops me a message saying that he is going to Soweto with a friend for a tour! And I’m the tour guide. Okay I think I said I will be the tour guide. I kinda do know Soweto now. Okay I don’t but still. Who knows – Finding Jozi Tours! Haha

Bru, you should do city tours!

Ya maybe I should. I do enjoy being an engineer though. Anyway, so like I wake up and drive to Maboneng to pick up Piotr. No no! It was St. Paddy’s so I hit a drive to the Croc Inn on the R55 and I got hold of some vinyl at this Vinyl Faire. I ended up buying the Fleetwood Mac LP of “Tango in the Night.” Ok check, I actually bought it for the cover art although I smaak the songs on it. I wanna go watch them in Dublin in September. That will be a MAD mission! It’s visa free!

Anyway, they had Guinness so I hit one. It went down like water. Like seriously! I get to Maboneng and I choon Piotr that ya, I had WAY too much to dop so I can’t drive. He choons okay, he’ll drive. That was a top sneaky move. We pick up his friend and make our way to Vilakazi Street. The ou with my camera said he will meet us there.  He says he will meet us at 12. We get there at about 12:15 and I call him and he is not there and will be there in 15 minutes. I love African time. Wahaha.

What about Indian time?

Hare bapre! I wonder how Indian time and African time work together. It must be over bad for an Indian and Black person that are dating. They probably never, ever have been on time for anything. You must just choon: “Ya honey, lets watch the 5pm show at The Zone,” fully knowing that you will be watching the 8pm movie.

That’s racist

No, “That’s Racist” is Trevor Noah’s new DVD. Heeeheee

I will give you one sounder. But that was a top joke. Go on.

Oh yeah, so we parked the cab on that road which connects Hector Pieterson Museum to Vilakazi Street. They’ve set up a June 16 Trail here so you can relive that day. It’s a rather emotional route but also slightly disorganised. We jumped from plaque 3 to plaque 7 and I couldn’t find 4, 5 and 6. Bru, I dunno how that thing works.

So we hit a march down the street. I go into tour guide mode which is actually not bad at all. I do talk too much and over use span of words. But that’s okay. These kids see us and sing a song about Soweto. I must say, they were good but there are a crap load of these kids singing to foreigners for money. I’ll get back to Soweto and money later. Or I should just blog about it in the other post. I dunno. We will see. The one thing I learnt was that tour guides need to carry water. Yoh! My throat! And Vilakazi is bloody expensive for a dop!

Haha! Ya, I vied to Sakhumzi’s. Great vibe but it’s expensive.

Check here bru, those places are tops but waarheid, we can’t afford it. Anyway, the ou with my camera finally got there and met us outside Mandela’s House. I’ve been there before. You can’t really go there multiple times but it’s an over lukka place to stop at. I will blog about that some time.

Anyway, we march down pass Desmond Tutu’s house and then to the monument on the bridge where Hastings Ndlovu was shot. He was apparently the first kid shot. Hector was the first photographed. You know, that photo gives me insane goose bumps. Imagine you’re a kid in 1976. Think about it bru – compare yourself now to the ou you were in high school. We’re like completely different people. Imagine if you were one of those kids that knew you had to fight for your future. It’s hectic. We can’t even empathise with them because we have had it so easy after 1994. When ous actually strike because of the bad conditions, we choon them off for disrupting classes. It was a different time though. But ya, the ous got shot trying to ensure they had the right to dignity, the right to live free and the right to make a decent living. Instead they got shot. Swak huh?

Over swak.

The thing about the monument is that it’s not really a monument. Well they got a statue of Hastings but the bridge is like a showcase of Soweto. You should start any tour here and then decide what you want to see in this city. Bru, Soweto is freaking huge. Ous choon there are 4 million menses living here. It’s not part of Jozi, it’s a twin city. I wonder when they will call it the city of Gauteng.

One two ous might choon they prefer to call it Pretoria or Soweto for historical reasons. Haha

Bru, I’m not even going to get started on name changes. But they have some lukka names of streets in Durban. I think they also changed Sauer Street to Pixley ke Isaka Seme Street in the Jozi CBD. That’s overboard long though. I don’t mind them changing the names but seriously bru, that’s a bloody long name! Seme Street or Pixley Place would sound tops.

What about the new name for NMR Avenue in Durban?

Haha! Ya bru! Yoh! I dunno. But I kinda like the new names but not really but really. They are necessary in some cases but not all. Anyway, so now, the ou that dropped off the camera just opened up a more authentic shisa nyama on Vilakazi. It’s just past Orlando West High School on your right. You will see the red umbrellas. We vied there for a chow but they were still cooking so we vied back to the car. Now it was DAMN hot! So we stop at the tuck shop on the side. Tea rooms are actually quite a South African thing. Okay no, you get them overseas but they’re like all very different. It’s sad that all the tea rooms here are closing down. You still find them in the townships but Pick n Pay and Checkers have their budget branded stores so these are taking over. I still believe that small business is better but anyway. We choon with the lady that owns the tuck shop. Interestingly, her great grandfather was Scottish. She chooned us the story. I must say it was fascinating. I love the unique stories every person has. It’s great to find out these stories. I blogged about that years ago. Yoh! 2009! I was a different person back then. Anyway, so I get an Iron Brew coz I want my tourist to taste it. It’s actually a South African drink coz the Iron Brew overseas is very different. She said it tastes like Dandelion and Burdock. It all made sense to me in life at that point. It was a great moment in life.

WTF is Dandelion and Burdock?

Oh yeah. You’ve heard of Frankies right? They are the only ous that make it locally. It’s quite lukka. It only hit me at that precise moment that it tasted the same. Okay but the Frankies one is a bit different. HAHA! Apparently “a bit” is very South African. Ok no, the way charous say “a bit.” Anyway, so we drive. So I’m still in tour guide mode but there was a moment when my mind chooned me that we need to dop and I need to find a shebeen. I’m an expert in finding shebeens.

Really?

No. That was a lie. But it was a good lie. But I found a shebeen. We were on our way to Kliptown and I checked one on the side of the road. Made Piotr turn back! See, I got skill bru. Anyway, I thought we were vying to Kliptown but I honestly had no freaking clue how to get there! HAAAAHAAAA! But doesn’t matter.

So we walk into the shebeen. Okay no. We cross the road and enter the yard. There is a deck table outside the front door. Two uncles are parking there having a dop happily. Now I have no idea what to do and I am useless and chooning with people. I need to change that. I dunno what happens but we end up talking to the owner. Her name is Brenda. Over tops lady. Very friendly but like you know when people have that look that there is a story to their life. Ya, she had that. So we get a few quarts of Black Label and the two uncles choon us to sit down with them. They were over excited too! And bru, yoh, what a TOP TOP time we had. You know, ous vie around searching for their authentic township experience. But why are you searching for that? I don’t get it. You actually are out searching for fun in an organic way. And just like when you vie to a jol and meet up with people there, you’re doing it based on people. My issue with the more commercial places is you not doing that. You vie there, get served exactly like how you would get served at some restaurant in Sandton, some local comes and choons with you but he knows he’s only doing it to please you and you’ll probably give him money at the end. There is nothing authentic about that. And the ous will also charge you authentic Sandton prices. You know how much the quarts cost here?

How much?

R11! And we checked that you can get them for R9.80 if you look hard enough. There was some joint in Dube where quarts were that price. Freaking cheap boss. But ya, you really should never be searching for that experience so you can post it to Facebook. You’re there as a human being enjoying life with other human beings. That’s what you are there for. And to talk about leopards.

Did you wear your leopard print boxers?

How the hell do you know about those boxers?

WAHAHAHA! Is it like the ones from the Vodacom ad?

Let’s not talk about this! Anyway lemme choon you about the leopard. Now my tourist. I like calling her my tourist. Okay not really. It sounds wrong. Anyway, she was in the Kruger Park before she came here and she told us how to get rid of a leopard. So everyone knows that you can get rid of a lion. All you gotta do is stare it down, show it you’re a bigger beast than it is and it will walk away?

Waarheid?

Helll no. That thing will map you! But for this story, let’s believe this is the case. Anyway, you can’t do this to a leopard. Those things are freaking crazy bru. Now, you can’t climb up a tree coz the leopard can climb a tree and it will chow you once on top. You can’t jump into a river coz that thing can swim! I never knew they can swim. But oh yeah, my neighbour’s cat was swimming in the pool this morning. I was like “HUH!” But anyway, ya, that thing will chow you. Oh ya, you can’t run away from it coz that thing will chase you and catch you and chow you. Anyway, so if it attacks you, the only way you can survive is if you fight it back. Give it one two loose boots. When you put up a decent fight, it will see that you’re hard to catch and then it will stop.

Yoh! Does that work?

I dunno! Probably not. Me, I will never be in that situation! Ous that get into that situation are shambies! Those ous must get chowed! Anyway, so if you get attacked by a leopard you know what to do.

So we parking at the table chooning with the two ballies. Such top ous. You know, there always is so much to talk about even with people you don’t think you have anything in common with. I also learnt that “Hello” in Xhosa is “Molo.” Bru, I never ever knew that. How the hell did I not know that!

Anyway, so we parking and chooning and dopping and having a skyf.

Then I’m like over skraal and I need a chow. So the one ballie choons he will take us to a shisa nyama around the corner. So we vie but its closed so he takes us to Wandies. We have a dop and then leave there. It’s a top joint but I wasn’t keen on paying R110 for a chow. So we hit a drive. Don’t ask me where bru. We just drove until we saw some smoke that smelled good. Like seriously bru, we had the windows opened and were driving and then we saw braai smoke. I reckon it called us. It was a sign. I think we were in Dube. We stopped and there was a butchery in front and smoke and music coming out the back. Now ok, the music. Yoh. But lemme choon you about the chows first.

Ok this place reminded me of that corner tea room in Silverglen. You know when you’re driving from Unit 3 to Unit 5 in Chatsworth, you vie past this corner tea room building. It’s near the Hospice.

Bru, I have been to Chatsworth like five times in my life. I have no idea what you are on about!

Oh. Ok. But still. This place reminded me of that. That setup. There was a butchery, a tea room and a shop selling some clothes. So we vied into the butchery and ordered the meat. Now what you do is you choose whatever you like, pay for it and the ous braai it in the back. They give pap with it and you can get atchar or sambals too. It’s over over lukka. So the ou choons with us lukka and he tells us to give him about 20 minutes and he will organise the thing for us. So we walk out the shop. The other ous vie to buy more quarts from the shebeen on the other side of the taxi rank. I vie to the tea room and they have kotas. Now I am hungry and you must never shop when you are hungry. But I was dopped so I bought a kota with cheese, chips, polony, a Russian and a Vienna. It was 16 bucks. Bru! How cheap is that? And they made it over fast. I chowed that thing. Eish, it was lukka.

What about the meat?

Okay after I dagged the kota, the meat came. Now this was over tops. It came in this long wooden serving bowl with the sambals and the pap on one side and long strips of meat on the other. I thought they’d give us three separate plates but it didn’t matter. So you just picked up a piece of meat with the sides and chow it. Bru, that is one of the best pieces of meat I have ever had. It looked like a lot of meat but we just chowed it all. Chowed the bones too. Now this one old ballie sees us and he comes to park with us. Ou is dopped out his brain but we let him come. He starts chooning. Starts chooning about the Prince of England – not Harry or William, but Charles. He then asks my friend to marry him. She says she’s a lesbian and then the ou makes two marks with his finger by her eyes. We ask him what he’s doing and he choons he needs to remove her eyes then he starts laughing.

Now that is a bit hardcore. Like ok, in that context he was joking and he wouldn’t have taken out her eyes but I dunno if that would be the case with a local lesbian. The ou might actually gouge her eyes out. Even though we have such a liberal constitution, on the ground level, we are racist as hell. It’s not only in the townships that this happens though. It’s sad that when people of the same race meet at a braai, they still are bloody racist against people with a different skin colour. Hell, they’re also damn xenophobic against people of the same skin colour that are first generation imports. Bru, even saying first generation imports is racist. There is such a fear of anything that is different in South Africa. It is absolutely everywhere. It works at corporate level with huge companies lobbying for protectionist legislation right down to this drunk ballie that cannot marry someone because she is a lesbian. Individual South Africans are determined to get their way and their way only. In many cases it’s good. I mean, look at Oscar Pistorius pre-murder trial. Okay let’s look at Natalie Du Toit and Terence Parkin rather. They were determined to be the best at what they did. Not the best out of the people that had their disabilities but THE best in the world. Like absolute best. It’s the South African “boer maak ‘n plan” thing. But it’s the same infliction that makes one want to rip out eyeballs and have this privileged outlook towards life where you must get your way because that is how the world is supposed to work. But I dunno hey. I guess it’s a balance thing where we should have this unstoppable spirit but use it in a way that is not harmful to other people and whatever they believe.

Anyway, the ballie was trying to get a dop from us but after that line, we used it against him. Didn’t give him a dop and we left him. Then we went to see the band. Okay so, there was a band practicing in the back. They were over tops! And they were a metal band made up of only black dudes.

Black metal?

Haha! Yes! Black metal. But that is racist! Shurrup! But bru, they were damn good. The ou broke his string when we got there. But it was quite tops listening to metal in Soweto. I reckon this is not what you consider normal but check here, it is. It’s completely normal. It’s a product of our democracy where even though we have people like that ballie that wanted to dig a lesbian’s eyes out, you get this diversity that makes you as a person happy. It’s that diversity Hector and Hastings died for. It’s that ability to be whatever you want and do whatever you want with your life because we all have the freedom to do it. It’s like how so many Indian kids our age are huge fans of rock and indie music. I’m one of them. Hey, but I didn’t catch the bands name but I reckon that if they are big, I will recognise them.

Ok then, yoh, this story is tiring! We take a walk around the building and in front of the butchery, a DJ is set up with his subs and one two members are swaaiing with quarts in their hand. This was a proper scene. From metal to deep house. Apparently deep house is also big in the UK. We join them and hit a swaai. Bru, you don’t understand how lukka it was. The ous even chooned us to chip in for a crate of quarts. It was like R108 but we were over bust so we left before we got the crate. I reckon we should have parked, got dopped and dossed on the floor in Brenda’s shebeen.

Bru, that would have been the maddest mission ever!

I know! But like I couldn’t do it! Something inside me told me not to. It’s like we have grown up with all these negative connotations attached to certain areas. I was drunk so I reckon a lot of these things went through my mind. Even though logically, we would have been fine, I just couldn’t tell myself to let go completely and have the most insane Sunday night in Soweto. You know, the same thing happened to me in Mozambique. I was there on the beach with the stars above me and I could have fell asleep on the beach and woke up the next morning. It was deserted and I would have been completely fine but I just couldn’t do it. I probably need to loosen up a bit more.

But ya bru, that’s what happened and that’s why I’m so bust. You know what I realised though. Like you can look at this as a Soweto Experience that you will choon ous about but that’s not the whole story. This is a Jozi experience. That’s what the city is and what the city is for. We explore the city and meet the people that live here and just let go and have a freaking fantastic time. That’s what we want at the end of the day.

Ya bru, let’s vie get a dop now?

Okay tops. I don’t want beers though! The Black Label over wrecked me!

Soweto Tshirt suburbs

2 thoughts on “Soweto: A Conversation

    1. It’s awesome hey? I don’t know where to get it. I took a photo of some dude wearing it. Didn’t ask him where he got it from

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