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Whiteys Guide to the Inner City

Whitey’s Guide to the Inner City

by Samora Chapman and Sheldon Wins / 01.11.2012

In light of a recent call for Caucasians to boycott Woolworths, me and my man Sheldon Wins (aka My Best White Friend) thought we’d put together a little pocket guide for shopping in the inner city. The aim is to help our pale-faced bredren navigate the labyrinth that is the Poison City CBD… ‘cos there aint no air-con in the ghetto motherfuckers. In fact it’s gonna be hot as hell and full of Africa flavour.

With that we welcome you to the official… Whitey’s Guide to the inner city.

If you are driving a German automobile down the hill from the trendy ‘burbs you better pull into the Workshop for some iron-curtain parking… which is what me and my man Sheldon do with our k-boet smirks, all rainbow nation like, hiding behind our canon lenses to disguise the fact that we’re still exploiting poor people and parading them for the world to see like Saartjie Baartman.

So first tip from the skinny white boys is: only take as much cash as you need and a backpack for your goods. Squeeze that folding stuff down the front of your pants, lace-up your running shoes, limber up and get set to hit the streets. Enter the workshop to ease into things and enjoy some light entertainment as the rickety old Ricky Gass serenades you with his Piano Fingers and makes you feel sad with his watery eyes.

After that you can head out bravely on your African safari… starting with the Workshop Street Market for cheap imitation kicks and fake wayfarers to make you look like the Prince of Bel-Air for under one clip.

From there it’s time to jet up Monty Naicker Street (Pine Street the throwbacks) where you can get a classy portrait taken for 17 bucks, choose from a glittery selection of the finest jewels, belts and kak watches and get a nice new weave that moves in the breeze.

Head inland (West) and keep glancing down the aisles (I mean alleys), until you peep the fresh produce alley between Naicker and Xuma streets (Pine and Commercial). It’s dark and narrow and painted all brown and here you gotta seriously watch your back cos there’s some shady characters in that groove. But you’ll find a lovely selection of fresh fruit glistening in the gulley and deep green spinach, which is just delish for those summer queeshes.

Out the gulley… turn left and after a couple blocks you’ll find yourself on infamous Dr Yusus Dadoo Street (Grey Street), the historical Indian business district of Durban. Here you can get yourself a slick as hell black suit and a top hat for your next GQ cover shoot, a wide selection of TVs and boomboxes from Chinaland and burqua for your husband. Also, ask around for Little Gujarats, where you can hook a gourmet curry or bunny for R15 bucks.

Cross the road, put your head on a prayer matt at the Jummah Masjid Mosque, to give thanks, and then continue into Ajmeri Arcade for records and wedding attire; or the stinky Madressa Arcade for traditional muthi, animal skins, sewing machines, plastic nappies and Docrat’s incredible five foot square shop that contains everything ever invented by the twisted human mind. Mr Docrat is a real raconteur, and can tell you many a tall tale about the Indian luminaries of Poison City. If you emerge out the other end of the arcade alive you can have a quick celebratory game of pool under the church spires and pop in to see Jesu at the Emannuel Cathedral. Shed a few sins at confession if you into Catholicism.

Now to get down to the serious ish. Drink a litre of water, take seven deep breaths and walk West until you arrive at the mythical Victoria Meat Market. This part of the trip is not recommended for vegans. It is however strongly recommended for those who frequent classy establishments like McDonalds and Wimpy. Swallow your spit and try not breathe as you browse the sheep brains, chicken giblets and other unidentifiable beast limbs.

Once you have survived the abattoirs of hell, you can cross the small alley to the main Victoria Street Market, which is a well sanitized and sophisticated shopping experience for those guacamole bourgeois types… there’s a selection of traditional Indian spices with kif names like ‘Mother in law hell-fire’ to light a flame in your belly and make you sweat until you can’t sweat no more. Sanusha Moodliar in the spice shop will give you spiritual guidance for free and bless you in the name of Sai Baba. There’s also video games for the kids (street fighter two) and some kak touristy trinkets like Ostrich eggs and those prints of elongated African cats lounging in the beautiful tundra despite their hunger pains.

Out on the street again you can check out what we’d like to call ‘giant pile’ stores. Here you can find more kif things like machetes and maids aprons. The perfect tools for everyday life in the jungles of Zion.

Now run back to your car as fast as your skinny legs can take you, ‘cos in Africa resources are scarce and there’s plenty of cats willing to redistribute your wealth to those less fortunate.

Good luck.

*All images © Samora Chapman and Sheldon Wins.

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  1. HarryCrews says:

    Durban is not that rough. I’ve visited many 16 year old girls on Point Road.

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  2. HarryCrews says:

    Also the name changes of the streets are ridiculous. Che Guevara boulevard is all some people got out of liberation. Another thing, why do blacks let it get so run down? No other beach front property in the world look like Durban unless it’s in Somalia or Maputo?

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  3. Emilio Noorani says:

    Now, us whiteys, need one of Hillbrow/Berea and Yeoville…

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  4. Yuzziz says:

    @HarryCrews – Whatkind? When last were you along the Durban beachfront, bra? The whole fokken strip from the harbour mouth to the rivermouth is like fokken Rio, guzzy – they redid the whole jol before and after the Worldcup. Coffee shops, swmming pools, surfers, boulevard, bikini bitches on rollerskates, kiddies drooling ice cream and sweet fokol merchies to be found! Wise up, china bean!

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for re-confirming what we already knew – Durban CBD is a stinky, crime-ridden shithole, best avoided by those that don’t have to go there.

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  6. Yuzziz says:

    @Anonymous – well didn’t we turn out to be a wonderfully bigoted picket fencer? It’s cool – stay in the shade where the Woolies millionaire shortbread tastes good and the barb wire frames your view.

    There are enough people who think real experiences still have some grit.

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  7. HarryCrews says:

    @ Yuzziz when have YOU been down to the beach. Yeah they re did the whole strip for the cup and haven’t doe anything since. I especially like how they brought in the palm trees that are all dead and look like telephone poles now. It’s Rio with nothing but the crime. I love Durbs.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    @Yuzziz – One of the characteristics of a bigot is that they don’t allow other people to have a different opinion, so maybe you’re the bigot?

    I found the “real” experiences and grit lose their charm very quickly. I used to go into town almost everyday for 2 years to take the taxi to varsity. In that time one of my classmates got robbed at gunpoint waiting for the taxi and another friend got stabbed in the chest and nearly died after being mugged leaving Warwick triangle.

    Being hassled for money every 2 mins, trying to avoid tripping over or colliding with the drunks, hearing the same, rambling, life story of a schizophrenic hobo while waiting for the bus, trying not to get mugged. Everything stinking of piss, hot as hell… It gets very lame fast. I’ll keep the shade and shortbread thanks. Had enough of town to last me for a while.

    But if your life is so devoid of grit and excitement then by all means take a chance and go and look at some spices and sheeps’ heads in town.

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  9. Samora says:

    @ Anonymous… I didnt intend to paint town as “a stinky, crime-ridden shithole.” I wanted to juxtapose the sanitized experience of a first world supermarket with the overwhelming, noisy colourful, multicultural atmosphere in town which is intrinsically African, and intrinsically Durban. The thing is, you can go to Woolworths in Glenwood and you may as well be anywhere in the world… you may is well have just stepped off a London high street into Marks and Spencers, with its rows and rows of neatly packaged, homogenous products, elevator music and air-conditioning.

    But there’s nowhere in the world quite like a Grey Street arcade.

    That said, I am saddened by your experiences of violent crime. I know it exists in this country and I have been lucky enough to be spared. I have been mugged in London, Marrakesh and Rio De Janeiro. But never in Durban.

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  10. BludClot says:

    @HarryCrews: yeh doggy do yourself a favour and check it out, you got the wrong idea … you obviously aint a Durtbin local so keep quiet foreigner …

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  11. Matthew says:

    queeshes? You might want to look that up. Quinches maybe…

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  12. Anonymous says:


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  13. derek says:

    Nice piece Samora (I’m becoming a fan) – and least we foreget – it is a piece – let’s not all get pedantic and position ourselves according to ‘the great divide’. I too have been mugged in Barcelona, Paris and Tel Aviv but never in Durtbin – hope I’m not hexing myself here – and, as a long-time veggie, Little Gugarat is a must do whenever I do the inner city. Surats, toward the racecourse (off Cross Street), is also worth a visit

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  14. popskiet says:

    Durbs is a kiff little gem. In one strip u will find a Catholic church, a Mosque and a Muthi market all within a 300m radius from each other. At the beach u will find swimming berka’s, skimpy bikini chick’s and Zulu ladies in spandex and shower caps all catching the same wave. Durban is a very good example of cultural and religious tolerance.

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  15. Wayne Tomblin says:

    Sadly Ricky Gass passed away Monday 3rd June, in his flat in Marine Parade, Durban. He is survived by his Daughter Irene, who lives in England.

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