Walking around the City

Trip Start Sep 21, 2009
1
10
213
Trip End Apr 28, 2010


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Flag of South Africa  , KwaZulu-Natal,
Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I got up at 9 today which was bloody great considering I had been up so early the previous 2 mornings. I could not have a shower though as there were loads of school kids getting ready so I just decided to head into town. I did not have a great impression of Durban because of the hostel, its staff (just that one useless girl actually, the rest were fine) and the area it was in. As I left with my bag, which had all my valuables as I did not want to leave them in the hostel because of their dodgy lockers, the receptionist warned me not to take any valuables with me. Great I thought!!! I just wanted to find an internet café and use my laptop.

So I was not in the best of mood when I set off but I must say as soon as I hit the streets and mixed with all the locals, all those bad feelings went away. It just felt great to be walking around with the streets absolutely packed. It very much felt like I was the only white person there - I loved it. It is strange that I haven't met a lot of white South African so far. The only ones I saw were having a brunch in the restaurant where I had my breakfast. By the way it was an absolute nightmare trying to find a place to eat that was not KFC, McDonald’s, Nando’s, Chicken Licken bla bla bla. It is sad to see that they have the same crap as we do.

Eventually I spotted a restaurant that did not belong to some sort of chain but once I sat down and looked at the menu it was very much like Calcio on Cryws Road in Cardiff (Marc will know what I mean). So I ended up having an English breakfast, paid the bill but decided to go the loo before going. On the way to the toilets were a few freezers which is quite unusual and also a big cockroach on the floor - I think it was dead but at least they could have cleared it up to pretend the place was clean!!

Anyway, back to the fact that I hardly see any white people around. The only other white people I saw were a German tourist (well she looked so German to me) and a group of people on their cigarette break outside what appeared to be a bank I think. I really have the impression that it is really difficult for the blacks to get access to the best jobs and that the best paid jobs are occupied by the whites. You very often see a white boss with black employees but I am yet to see the other way around. I am just trying to get an understanding as to how post-Apartheid South Africa actually works. When you ask locals most of them contradict themselves so it is really difficult to know exactly what is going on.

From my perspective, Apartheid might be long gone but it seems that the disparities are still very big and that the whites still have most of the wealth of the country. I keep thinking how can a country that is clearly 90% black have been ruled whites with such a discriminating government? I guess we’d have to look deep into history …

That evening, I got to talking with Kevin which was quite interesting to say the least. Kevin was an ex-army man from South Africa but now works as a chauffeur for this multi-billionaire’s wife or mistress - it just did not make any sense. He was saying his wealth is something like 32 billion dollars which is more than Bill Gates I think - so that was bullshit for start and also if he was to work for such a rich man what was he doing in the shittiest hostel in the city?? Any we had interesting conversations about Apartheid and his vision of South Africa. He also gave me an overview of the political parties in the country. Every time he mentioned the Blacks, he was looking towards the door as if they "were listening"!! He did come up with some crackers like “the blacks only know one way to get to power and that is guns”. He kept saying “us the whites, we just watch the mess and take the country again in the next elections”.

It is very strange because I reckon he was coloured (in SA it means one white parent and one black parent) but he said to me “I can pass as coloured but I used to do a lot of surfing hence the darker skin” - sounds like he was in denial to me!!!
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Where I stayed

Comments

Durbanite on

Wonder why you didnt move hostels, but went back for a second night???

alexhuchet
alexhuchet on

Good point ... I could have done that but just didn't have much time to look around

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