David J Smith
David J Smith

Viva Dirtbin!

There’s this turf war going on. Cape Town versus Durban. Peeps are getting fired up, calling each other out and throwing down with the insults, the stereotypes and the cliches. Getting red in the face, tapping away on keyboards, ringing up the papers. Claiming this place is a dump or that place is a shithole. Saying their city is friendlier while that city is tripping on its ego. Words are going back and forth like yo-yos. The usual bollocks of an argument based on sentiment and emotion rather than logic and reason. But since we’ve got our poison pens out, let’s do this thing! It’s time for me to weigh in for the Dirtbin that spawned me and all that I love.

Dirtbin is everything Cape Town isn’t. Cape Town is coming down from the mountain like a fairy on three E’s. Durban is coming up from the streetz like a bottleneck of the best D.P’s. Yes, I did say streets with a zee because that’s how we roll in Dirtbin. We’re not sucking on skinny lattes or vibing to Whale Songs, the best of. No, we’re at the beach sucking on a blue-top, pulling in the shad or dropping peri-peri chicken livers while punishing another quart. Shit, if we heard that whale sing, we’d catch that thing and sell it for bait. You won’t find us wobbling on about the organic fair-trade veggie store that just opened down the road. No, for us fair-trade’s a quarter mutton and a Stoney from Sparks Road. It’s buying shit from our brahs and not from some middle-class douche-bag’s hobby farm. And you won’t get more organic than sitting on the pavement pulling mutton bones out of that government white loaf while tuning kak with the larney behind the counter

Miss Sevasti, you go on about eating lamb curries in front of open fires in winter. You need to try one in summer when the curry is only slightly hotter than the sun. That’s what makes a true son of the African continent. Not a Cab-Sav on a rainy day. Like you said, we don’t have a winter. But what has winter ever done for anyone? It’s not like you can snowboard on that mountain of yours. In the Dirtbin, we are blessed with a summer and a summerer. It’s hot like vindaloo and wet like soggy jocks but that’s why we live next to the beach.

A beach we can use. The water may get a little dirty but that’s because it is, well, being used. Unlike the water in Cape Town. Which like most things down there is just for show. Homogenised, sterilised and compartmentalised. Another little box on the tourist brochure. … This is our mountain, it’s way cosmic and this is our sea, it’s way blue but it’s way too cold to swim in. So now let us take you to the V&A waterfront. Ja, it’s sooo European, you’ll love it …

That’s something you’ll always hear from our cousins down south. … Cape Town is not really an African city. It’s more European. Very Mediterranean. Very cosmo. That’s why all the film crews like to come here … No my friends, they go to Cape Town because the rand is cheap. They’d rather be in the real deal, shooting in Paris or Barcelona or anywhere. But they lucked out, didn’t get the budget they wanted so now they’re in Cape Town, trying to make do. Smiling while the locals tell them how Cape Town is so Euro. You don’t want to know how many times I have been in the van with overseas directors and film crews while the Cape Town driver is telling you it’s just like Europe. Out the window you’re looking at Bellville and thinking: What are you? On fokken tik?

And it’s not just the whiteys in Cape Town who have these Euro-delusions, it’s the black peeps too. They even voted in a white government. What is this? The 28th member state of the EU? Dirtbin has never had that problem. You only have to step out your door and you’ll find Africa. It’s in the greenness that pushes though the cracks in the walls and in the pavement. It’s in the sticky heat and ever-throbbing sun that won’t let you go. It’s in the smell of spices, the colour of the wayside temples, the hills of Inanda, the shebeens of Jacobs and in the cackle of the street vendors. It’s up on the rock where Shaka stood and it’s in the house that Gandhi built. It’s in the monkeys, the buzzing insects and the banana trees that just grow without any thought. It’s in the fact that our favourite restaurant is also a car repair shop. It’s in the song of the Shembe ladies gathered under the trees and it’s sitting on the grass at Kingsmead. It’s the chaos in Vic Street Market, the skelems on the bluff, the Amazulu amaqhawe and the toughness of the Sharks. All of them African to the bone. And proud to be so. Unlike the captain of WP, Mr Luke Watson, who said he would he’d rather vomit on our national jumper than wear one. What team does he want to play for? England? Or maybe Australia? Sydney is a nicer version of Cape Town. He can always go there. There are no potholes in Sydney. Because that seems to be something that worries Capetonians — the number of potholes in Durban.

Yes, we got potholes. Plenty of them. But it’s not the number of potholes in a city you have to worry about, but the number of assholes. And thankfully we got a lot less of those than we got potholes. Now, by saying that, I am not implying that Cape Town is full of them. I’ve been there and met some really nice people. Cool, down-to-earth friendly people. But come to think of it, they were all from Durban, just living down there. There were also some nice Eastern European girls I met at Mavericks. I told them they must feel right at home in CT, since it is just like Europe. They just looked at me confused. I don’t blame them, Cape Town confuses me sometimes too.

Big love to my Dirtbin cuzzies. And to my buddies in the Mother City, I love you and all but you may be better off acting less like a mother and more like a brother. Peace.

  • duaneson

    wow – fantastic read guy – shot