Whitey’s Guide to the Inner Cityby 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.
*All images © Samora Chapman and Sheldon Wins.