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BEST OF 2014 | Just an average privileged white Capetonian in my mid-twenties

by Hugh Upsher / 25.12.2014

Originally published on 14 April 2014

(A portrait inspired by conversations and observations)

I don’t like telling people what school I went to because they just assume I’m just a spoiled rich kid. My parents still pay my medical aid, car insurance and up until recently, my cell phone bills. I have an iPhone with no airtime. When my life gets hard I know I can always go back and lie on my parents’ couch in Constantia and watch DSTV for days. If I run out of money near the end of the month I can steal food out my parents pantry.

cape town beard

I consider myself a gourmet burger enthusiast and also I consider myself a craft beer aficionado. The waiters at Clarke’s, Hudson’s & Union and Royale Eatery know me by name. I have impressive tattoos that are a couple years old, I don’t like them anymore but I want to get more. I have tried all the drugs except the gross ones. I try to go to Afrika Burn every year but it is so expensive! I’ve lost count of all the Sunday Sunset Kirstenbosch concerts I’ve been to this summer.

cape town fringe

I think I am different and consider myself a personal brand. All my friends are really creative and talented. I am not a racist but I am accepting of my racist friends. I have black friends (by that I mean I know black people who would acknowledge me in a social environment). I have drunk conversations with friends about the selfie as an existential idea. I am Facebook friends with Roger Young. I know more about Barack Obama’s dog than I know about all of South African politics combined. I assume that Jacob Zuma is the reason why the petrol price keeps going up.

I’m in a band. We have R100 000 worth of musical equipment between us, but we don’t really gig, anymore. I have an enormous iTunes library and I DJ at parties if asked. I change my DJ name regularly so there is no chance of building a following. I design and make jewelry and hope it’ll become more than a hobby one day. I model for my photographer friend in my other friend’s clothes, which she designed herself. I don’t really use my Nikon D7 camera anymore. I accidentally get cast in beer commercials.

cape town long-hair

I worked in the service industry after graduating because the degree I studied had no practical applications. I have done more unpaid internships than I’m willing to admit. I’ve been (f)unemployed for months at a time because I needed to find something that I can be truly passionate about. I consider myself a painter and a poet but I never have any spare time. I’m considering going back to do a sixth year of university education.

I did community service once. I get annoyed when I think about how bergies (homeless people) can afford to smoke cigarettes. I only buy the Big Issue every three months. (The months in between I tell myself “I bought it last month” and “I’ll buy it next month”). I only pay car guards when I have extra coins but I’m willing to spend over a R1 000 on drugs at an outdoor festival.

cape town nose

I have a terabyte of downloaded movies and series on my hard-drive but never know what to watch. I have the choice of bicycle (fixie), car or skateboard as potential modes of transport. I spend more money at 24-hour Engen shops than I do at actual grocery stores. I boast about how broke I am to my friends while swiping my debit card for a couple of R40 beers. I can’t really afford to maintain the car my parents bought me.

I’m hoping my parents organise another family holiday to Europe soon. I get invitations to have weekend lunches on private family farms in Elgin and Franschhoek. I have been to more than one 21st birthday party that took place on a large yacht. I go to Milnerton market to laugh at the obscure items people there put up for sale. I go to thrift stores and buy hats and T-shirts based on the merit of their obscurity.

I sometimes wish I was even more privileged than I am.

I’m just your average privileged white Capetonian in my mid-twenties.

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RESPONSES (129)
  1. CPT says:

    Not sure if white people are coming out of the cracks to confess their ignorance or if they’re joining in on the satirizing

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  2. Louis says:

    Beware grammar Nazis. Anonymous, If the only things in my comment you can fault me on, are two grammatical errors, I appreciate the fact that you agree with the rest of what I had to say. I would love to see you write anything in Afrikaans. While I am at it, I would like to know how it is even possible that so many English speaking people, after all these years don’t understand one single word of Afrikaans? Didn’t you have it as second language in your privileged private schools? Or does your ignorance know no bounds? The day will come when you see a hottie standing by a bar, and approach her only to be faced with the peril of her being Afrikaans, and you falling flat by not knowing what the fuck she is saying. It is quite pathetic actually.

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  3. […] Check out this super blog post… […]

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  4. Joe Soap says:

    Hating on other people for differing from yourself (i.e. Hipster) speaks far more about your own insecurities and your need to elevate yourself out the gutter of self than it says about the subject in question. Perhaps you are racist as well, homophobic too and hang out with people who are exactly like yourself and thus offer no alternative perspectives to your little world. High five on your growth as a human being.

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  5. Hugh says:

    @Joe Soap and others:
    For an article written under my own name and with most sentences beginning with “I”, you’d think I’d be just a little self aware about my own circumstances.

    PS: Where does homophobia come into it?

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  6. katpoot says:

    Get a job and contribute to our country and stop with this self indulgent drivel

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  7. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if Mahala realizes what a self-perpetuating vortex of Poe’s Law it’s becoming

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  8. Vuyo says:

    There’s something beautiful, honest and hilarious about this piece. So well written, I love it Hugh.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    This piece waz written by a Black person.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    @Louise

    What’s pathetic is that no one cares about your dying ( is it dead yet? ) language anymore. Some of your own people can’t even speak it these days. If I met an attractive girl who opened her mouth only for that Pig Latin to spew out I would be turned off immediately. As soon as I hear it my mind turns to the thought of gigantic, fat, half-witted men strolling around shopping centres barefoot. Most of us did learn to speak it in school ( what a bloody waste of time ), but we prefer not to speak it as it leaves a foul taste in the mouth, much like after you’ve been sick.

    The north has it’s fair share of spoilt brats in places like Welgemoed and others, not to mention those who still treat their workers like it’s 1948 on their parent’ s wine farms. Get over yourself.

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  11. Ed says:

    I really think this is excellent dude, well done. It’s not all true for me; but more of it is than I’d like to admit and I think you said it in the most calm and honest way possible. Impressed.

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  12. bullet says:

    only solution is to get a job an stert afresh life, couse we learn by mistakes

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  13. Vuyo@JHB says:

    I like your life. I live accordingly to society’s ‘ways of life’ and just to have one moment to just live where I am not required to be normal. One day you will look back n and you’ll say you lived life hard. Please teach me lol!!!

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  14. Zog says:

    These people sound a lot like me. Except I’m 38 YEARS OLD! If you think its easy to claw your way out of the hole you’ve fallen into you got another thing coming pal.

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  15. debongz says:

    you still have not learned anything in life…wondering whether you ever will; what a self serving and coceited egomania you are.

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  16. Desmond Wolff says:

    Jusis I love Mahala that it, in this case through Hugh’s article, peels back the layers

    BTW it’s a magazine with multiple contributors, not a blog with only one – blogs are like assholes, everyone got one

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  17. berryjuice says:

    Sounds like 95% of my AAA class mates lol

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  18. ServantLeader says:

    I blame the DA for your misfortune 😉

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  19. Jezza says:

    Oh shit! I’m a 41 year old average privileged white Capetonian in my mid-twenties!

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  20. Rolf says:

    Gee, you guys (the comments) are so dead serious. Its good stuff for a comedy or a play at one of our arty festivals.
    Hey we all want a privileged life and to hell why would anyone want to feel guilty of it. Just enjoy the finer things in life or you want the poor devils handcrafting a Rolls Royce together to become unemployed? All the poor social workers have no more jobs without the poor and drug dealers won’t have bright intelligent woman to impress any more. If all are rich who is going to serve the food, do the pampering nail treatments, foot massages … You?

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  21. derp says:

    this article is just marvellous.
    the hatred levelled at the writer is a sure sign of his talent.
    he has made a lot of not-very-clever, vaguely-insulted-but-don’t-know-why dickheads very angry, and it gives me pleasure. If you find Hugh’s writing so offensive or so exploitative, write your own own article. it won’t be a very good article, probably, but at least it will assuage your burning anger toward the writer.
    Hugh, you’re the best writer to come out of South Africa in ages! godspeed to you and your pen! Viva!

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  22. Sindi says:

    I loved reading this :). Awesome read. That is all.

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  23. Bcross says:

    Its funny cause its true 🙂 brilliant

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  24. msxlie says:

    this article reminds me of some of the people that do work for Mahala.co.za

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  25. Loop says:

    Another waste of time. Actually had to skim this article. It’s boring and egotistical. Sounds like a normal mahala post. Sigh.

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  26. […] I thought this was hilarious and spot on 😉 Just your average privilege white capetonian in my mid-twenties. […]

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  27. fneh says:

    You are an idiot. This article is a thinly veiled humblebrag. You are the worst kind of Cape Townian, I assume you went to bishops because only a bishops boy could write such a piece of self serving tripe.

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  28. […] Mia at Naulene’s, drove back to Cape Town, Van Hunks with Georg and Janey – we met this guy (again), Janey managed to get her car wheel clamped – so we gave her a lift […]

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  29. […] shared what (in her own words) could be considered a racist blog post on Facebook titled “Just an Average Privileged White Capetonian in my Mid-Twenties“. (Read it now, you lazy fuck). She asked me if we would still be friends even though she […]

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