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Back to basics

I’ll be the first to admit that my neighbour’s cat has seen more action than this blog these past few weeks. But a dire social scene and the weather to match is enough to get any party-goer to sit down and reflect, which is what I have been doing.

I have been taking a breather as well — going out every weekend is tiring, y’all! There, I said it! Breathe in, breathe out. It took a lot for me to actually spit that out. I’m a disgrace to 22-year-olds the world over…

So this past weekend I braved it all: the lack of interesting live events and the bad weather. To be fair, there was a kwaito veterans’ gig happening at the Bassline. After such a long (it’s all relative) hiatus from the social scene, watching grown men on stage who have no business performing anything any more was not my idea of great night out. And I love my kwaito as much as the next South African. I decided to go back to the basic of a night “out”, socialising. Gooi in some food and drink and we have ourselves a grand ol’ time.

Now for some background on Newtown through the eyes of this party-goer, who just so happens to be a resident of South Africa’s cultural hub. As much as it’s touted for bringing artistes and audiences of every creed together, the place is as divided as they come.

During the day you have you drum-toting, Converse All Star-wearing, head-wrapped Rastafarians roaming around the Market Theatre, some showcasing their wares. These types are never to be seen at night around Newtown. On the other side you have the about-to-be-defunct (moment of silence, please) Horror Café — home to the poets and ragga-loving crowd and sometimes the goths (yes, there are such in Newtown, I discovered to my … um … horror). Then there is the side where you have your über-cool Carfax and Fuel crowd, mostly white.

And then you have the part that is most visible. This is where the black-diamond set hangs out, home to Sophiatown and Capellos. They are people who generally want to see and be seen. This set doesn’t usually come out to play during the day in Newtown. An understanding with the Rastafarians? Despite all this, it does come together and works for those who love the place.

For my going-back-to-basics outing, Sophiatown was where it was all going to go down. Since this is where everybody and their best bud come to be seen, being accommodated gets quite tricky. Packed is an understatement. I had to settle for a place at the bar. Not such a good idea. At least I had one out of two of the makings of this good night out, I reasoned. The food was not to be seen as well. The kitchen was closed.

But I felt good to be out again. Never mind the smelly armpits trying to score drinks that I had to dodge most of the night. The atmosphere was perfect to get me back into the swing of things.

With the festive season, Lord help us all, upon us, there are loads of gigs that are going to be happening around town. Thanks to my breather I feel up to the challenge and might just redeem myself to those who thought I had lost my vooma!


  • Sthembile is a former production assistant for the M&G Online. Sthe’s weekends are well spent at the best joints in town, where music and arts are served. She is a social butterfly who sees her weekends as adventures worth sharing.