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What Happens in Joburg

by Angela Weickl / Images by Mack Michael Magagane / 14.02.2012

What happens in Joburg stays in Joburg and if you put in enough effort you probably won’t remember most of it anyway…

The days preceding Jozifest are consumed by the controversy of Die Antwoord pulling out – after being invited to the David Letterman Show – and HAEZER pulling out due to a commitment to the Paul Van Dyk event in Cape Town and the lack of Red Eye flights to jet him up to Joburg afterwards. With two of the major draw cards removed from the line up, the legitimacy of the entire event is put into question. The Facebook page is filled with comments from enraged ticket holders threatening to boycott the party.

From a Cape Town perspective, Newtown is Joburg’s answer to Woodstock, they even have a market on a Saturday morning that easily rivals the Old Biscuit Mill’s. However, just like it’s counterpart, the minute the sun sets there is a good chance you’ll get murdered if you stray too far from the pack. What draws the masses to the city’s nether regions is the The Woods and Town Hall, these venues regularly host some of Joburg’s hottest parties.

The Woods, Town Hall and Carfax have been combined into one large venue with an extensive outside area running the length of the alley. There are four independent stages, catering for EDM, hip hop heads and metal kids.


I’m not the biggest drum ‘n bass fan, I do appreciate a couple of great tracks that I’ve heard but tonight is outrageous. From the minute the doors open until the turntable needle grinds to a halt, drum ‘n bass can be heard in one style or another. On the Monster Stage Hyphen warms up the crowd with an intelligent set never attempting to steal the thunder from the proceeding international acts. The progression from UK acts Heist, to Sub Zero and finally Grooverider feels repetitive. Grooverider is a hulking figure poised inanimately behind the decks. This is mostly due to the fact that he is blazed to high heaven, a sizeable bag of chronic is seen being passed amongst the DJs and I contributed more than a few rolling papers to their plight.

One thing I have noticed is that attaching the word “fest” to this event has made the kids rage and take drugs like its an outdoor party. Kids on pills and Monster energy drink are beyond disturbing.

Although the turn out is pretty decent, there just isn’t enough of a body count to satisfy each stage. The Carfax stage, where all the hip hop is going down, never accumulates more than a 50 strong mass and Eligh & Scarub (USA) lay down some dangerous tracks to a fortunate few.


Making my way between the stages forces me to pass the food stalls repeatedly until I finally submit to the temptation. I wolf down a double frankfurter hotdog, probably the safest item on the menu after seeing a few mates filled with regret after consuming the “chicken” burgers.

I’ve never missed a Pestroy set within my reach and tonight I make sure I keep my record perfect. Pestroy are one of the most underrated bands this country has spawned. But somehow I think that they like it that way. They can pull a crowd of 500 people into the tiniest tent on the metal stage at a music festival without blinking. Some might call them neglected, but they have a cult status that is perhaps more satisfying than being the flavour of the week.

Amidst my sensory overload I stumble into Town Hall just in time for Damage Inc, this Cape Town duo are responsible for the most evil tunes I heard the entire weekend. I have to take periodic breaks from the dance floor due to the physical pain of raging so hard.

The serious failure to provide a sufficient amount of toilets for the capacity of the party means I stand in the queue for the duration of Musical Chairs’ set, I’ve never wished I was a dude so much in my entire life. I race back in time for Double Adapter and their table climbing, neck breaking antics and a heaving dance floor of sweaty bitches and bros.

The night ends with drunken banter in the back of a soccer mom car, McDonald’s in my face and the most amazing bed I’ve ever slept in.

Saturday morning, I hate you. But it’s nothing a huge plate of bacon can’t fix.


Heading back to Newtown I’m consumed by flashbacks and experience a moment of dread for what lies ahead. It’s early afternoon, a small queue has formed outside the venue and a substantial amount of people are already inside watching Wrestlerish.

The most noticeable difference from last night is the brand vomit that is now covering the venue. Monster, Vodacom, Blackberry , Dunhill and Axe have covered almost every inch of free space. It’s like they woke up late and thought “Jozifest, ACTIVATE!” If you pass out drunk there is a good chance you could lose ownership of your forehead to one of them. The Blackberry people have their own sound system and a DJ who plays every song you just don’t want to hear. At one point they have a dance off to win a phone. The Axe installation has guys standing in a queue to get spanked by girls in stilettos and miniskirts, your prize – a GQ Calendar and a semi that takes you 5 minutes to walk off.

A new stage, the KillCool Stage, has been set up underneath the bridge at the far end of the venue, the concrete enhances the bass to perfection and the easy access bar creates the perfect combination of great tunes and cold beer. A lot of people have been moaning about the R20 beers, but I’d gladly pay that because at no point have I waited more than 5 minutes to be served at any bar.

On the Monster Stage edgy Joburg darlings The Frown have the massive crowd mesmerized. Eve Rakow is enchanting, with a killer set of pipes but the nonchalant, “I’m hardly playing my instrument” look of her band (aside from the drummer) makes me wanna slap them in the face and can someone give the emaciated dude a sandwich, or maybe cut off his heroin supply?

Tasha Baxter’s band manages to clear two thirds of the crowd, why she ever picked up a guitar I don’t know. She is an amazing vocalist on EDM tracks but I’m so bored watching her that I find a random queue to stand in, with no idea what awaits me at the front.


aKing and 340ml are faultless while Foto Na Dans play their last Joburg show ever. I get chills knowing it’s the last time I’ll ever hear that Pendulum cover live and as they aptly end their set with ‘Vergeet Van My’ I know it’ll be a long time before I do forget about this phenomenal band.

At the KillCool stage the majority of Liver’s set is hindered by technical problems, but like a true professional he pulls the crowd in and holds their attention to a full recovery. The gremlins are out with a vengeance as Greg Reve is forced to pull out due to irreparable technical difficulties. The night is saved by Kennedy, who ends up owning the crowd for 2 hours. Definitely the sickest DJ set of the weekend. In a rare venture outside the realm of The Assembly, Pierre Coetzee and I had the displeasure of witnessing a drunken lout dry humping unsuspecting men with his homo-erotic flashing light sabre, perhaps clinging to the hope that one of his victims has serious daddy issues.

The triple threat culmination of the night, sees Lark, Taxi Violence and Fokofpolisiekar draw almost the entire Jozifest crowd to the Monster Stage. The bodies seem infinite and the energy is tangible. The crowd pretty much sings Fokof’s set for them and by the time they play their namesake anthem people are ready to break shit. Jozifest ends with Francois singing “soet slaap sonder sonde”. It’s unlikely anyone will be sleeping sinless tonight, more likely passing out in a pool of sweat and vomit.

Jozifest has a lot to work on in terms of organisation but the one thing I will give them is that, no matter how out of control things got behind the scenes, the party goers were none the wiser. As far as the kids are concerned, they had a sick weekend.


*All images © Mack Michael Magagane / THIIS

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  1. Bentastic Ben says:

    If “what happens in Jo’burg stays in Jo’burg”, by writing this article have you not just contradicted that?

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  2. Die Melkman says:

    The Frown were quite shit, but that’s just my opinion. And Fokofpolisiekar’s set was just Van Coke Kartel covering Fokof songs with Snake and Johnny present. The magic wasn’t there without Hunter, and you can feature two lead guitarists. Taxi Violence was amazing, though. So were Foto Na Dans, aKING and Tidal Waves.

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  3. Carolien Greyling says:

    “From a Cape Town perspective, Newtown is Joburg’s answer to Woodstock, they even have a market on a Saturday morning that easily rivals the Old Biscuit Mill’s. However, just like it’s counterpart, the minute the sun sets there is a good chance you’ll get murdered if you stray too far from the pack.”

    Newtown is part of a city, woodstock is a suburb, the Saturday Market is in BRAAMFONTIEN, and who is this ‘pack’ you speak of? White people? Newtown is racially integrated and quite safe. You would know this if you ever strayed from the ‘pack’.

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  4. brandon says:

    This was really well written, Angela. Ignore the grim little pilot fish.

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  5. Outsider says:

    Just in the writers defense , I attended the festival and was told by various locals that it probably wasn’t the best plan to be walking around anywhere that wasn’t linked to the festival or Town Hall venues etc .

    LOCALS told me not to wander about , it wasn’t just a paranoid judgement call .

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  6. Emaciated Dude says:

    I have a rather healthy appetite actually. I’d love a sandwich, thanks.

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  7. Carolien Greyling says:

    I happen to be a local, and wondering around most parts of Newtown is quite safe. The area is far far larger than the limits of Town Hall. For example: Museum Africa, Niki’s Oasis, The Market Theatre, Couch and Coffee, Sci Bono science tunnel, Gauteng Tourism Authority, Sofiatown Bar, and many other places that are under 24 hour surveillance. Comparing New Town to Woodstock is really quite ignorant. I’m not saying it’s beacon of safety and good city management but really: “the minute the sun sets there is a good chance you’ll get murdered if you stray too far from the pack.” Wow, I expect just a little more research when I read an article.

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  8. Carolien Greyling says:

    BTW: the very night of Jozifest, I was in fact walking around Mary Fitzgerald square at 2am. I also, left my unattended bag on a table at Niki’s Oasis for 30min, (which is full of these people who are ‘not part of the pack’) and when I came back SHOCK HORROR it was still there. Cannot BELIEVE I made it out alive.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Angela, besides your horrible style of writing, this drivel could do with some subbing. You obviously don’t understand punctuation very well. This is littered with run-on sentences and misplaced apostrophes. Please, stay in Cape Town, where blogging badly is considered a suitable career choice for the spoilt kids of the upper classes.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Shame poplap, so glad you didn’t get raped and murdered in Newtown yo.
    Luckily for you, you can breathe easy and go back to the City Bowl where all those mean gangs are restricted to the Flats.


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  11. Koos de la Rey says:

    Am I supposed to trust a journalist who recommends ‘Pestroy’?
    Also, Eve Rakow from The Frown has a killer set of pipes?
    JK, RITE?

    Death to all involved.

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  12. Capie says:

    @ Carolien-is it that time of the month hun? Newtown is a shitnest. There were no racial undertones in this piece yet you chose to see some.

    @ Emaciated Dude -a heroin sandwich,obviously! Love your band all the same!

    Great piece of writing!

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  13. Carolien Greyling says:

    @Capie, you know what the great thing about Johannesburg is? People who are stupid and provincial enough to think it’s a ‘shitnest’ stay away.

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  14. Koos de la Rey says:



    Also, Capie, thanks for being a sexist piece of shit and also not reading the article properly before you started ‘insulting’ Carolien in much the same way a prepubescent boy would. Also, you admitted to liking The Frown so obviously you’re a FUCKING IMBECILE and probably a friend of the journalist.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    Capie is either the “journalist” herself or her boyfriend. Angela and Capie’s privilege is showing. Isn’t it strange how the areas you two see as dodgy are places where non-whites can be seen? Please, stay in your little have of white privilege by the sea.

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  16. Roger says:

    Maybe you know your fair bit of music but stick to that if you don’t know what Newtown is… By the way there is no Sunday Market in Newtown, except your occasional vendors that sell fake Ray Bans and jewellery.
    Murder?? Really? Ignorant much? On our way to. The Mills there were dozens of members of ‘the back”, alone or in groups that walked from. Braamfontein (where the actual market is) to Newtown and I’m pretty sure they’re alive, have you perhaps taken a drive up the road to Mary Fitzgerald, The Plaza, Sophiatown Bar or Sci Bono area which are guarded and under surveillance? No murders there either. Right opposite Town Hall is an apartment block with a gallery (yes, people actually live in Newtown) and I’m sure they would contest your opinion of the area.
    P.S in the past 7-10 years of Carfax/The Mills area, there has been no reported crime.

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  17. Outsider says:

    I don’t see how race and danger came into this . I’m from Durban I know where to go and where to watch your pockets in my hometown . When you aren’t familiar with an area and an ASSORTMENT of races ( not just spoilt white kids) AT THE EVENT are telling you to watch your back . You believe them .

    I’m sure the writer doesn’t believe they would have been killed , ever heard of hyperbole ?

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  18. Roger Young says:


    “P.S in the past 7-10 years of Carfax/The Mills area, there has been no reported crime.”


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  19. Merc Person says:

    Isn’t Angela Coloured or Portuguese or one of those, like, dangerous races?

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  20. Roger Young says:

    I am a pedophile.

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  21. Anonymous says:

    What the fuck is raging? Are you a teenager? Angela comes off as one of those people who desperately wants to be cool and misses the mark. She also sounds like a pathetic groupie with all the name dropping.

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  22. Bentastic Ben says:

    You dolts are missing the point – that ‘you’ll get killed’ comment is a joke! Jesus.

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  23. Capie says:

    Jissis but you cunts from Joburg are parochial.You folks need to like,seriously chill my broe! There are much more folks who leave Joburg and come and live in Cape town than the other way around. Bet you all own guns and big fuck off dogs and live in houses that look like prisons.I take my comment back about Newtown being a shitnest,-the whole of Joburg is a fucken sewer!

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  24. Angela says:

    Hi, it’s the racist upper class privileged know-it-all groupie writer.

    I only have one thing to apologize for, i messed up on the location of the Neighbourgoods Market, bad research. For the rest, i was asked my opinion and that is what i provided. So all you nay-sayers can eat a dick (is that teenage enough for you?)

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  25. Roger Young says:

    I love eating dicks, give me every dick to eat.

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  26. Angela says:

    oh yeah, @anonymous… not shy to share your opinion but too shy to type in your name? What are you afraid of?

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  27. Das Kapital says:


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  28. Roger Young says:

    @Roger Young

    Please can I eat your dick first?

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  29. Roger Young says:

    @Roger Young.

    Not again, please, that’s what we did last night.

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  30. Anonymous says:

    Capie, a lot of racists from Gauteng have moved to Cape Town as you convieniently sweep the underclasses behing your mountain but I think you’ll find there is more migration here because we actually have jobs here. Gauteng is the fourth largest economy in Africa.

    Angela, you’re a sad little groupie with delusions of being a journalist. Shut up.

    Bentastic Ben is also obviously one of the author’s little loser friends. If Angela had any skill in writing, she might have been able to convey to the reader that she was making a joke but, sadly, she doesn’t.

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  31. Outsider says:

    I’de rather be swept behing the mountain than swept behing you’re I’mSooooooonewsouthafrica I hang out in the dangerzone electric fence attitude . Hyperbole , personal experiance , not a commentary on the state of white vs black in Jozi and Cape Town

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  32. George says:

    Sideshow is king and fuck all of you. I stayed in Joburg for a good couple of years and moved to Cape Town about 5 years ago. I don’t miss one fucking thing about that shit hole of a place. Enjoy.your.fake.lives.idiots. One day when your old and sitting with a gas mask on your face from the over polluted air, you’ll realize that there’s more to life than sitting in front of a blog and criticizing peoples work. Idiots.

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  33. DANK says:


    hahahahahaha SOME FUNNY SHIT RIGHT HERE!

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  34. carolien says:

    last article I read about capetowm was a study that concluded with a compelling argument stating that capetown had the highest murder rate in south Africa.

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  35. Henry Boardman says:

    Mahala is a lightning rod for cunts.

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  36. Disgruntled says:

    Just a pity none of the artists are being paid. They’re a bunch of crooks that steal the artist’s names to make a buck and then claim “they lost money”

    Ask any artist if they have been paid and they’ll all say they are still waiting…

    A wait which in my opinion will carry on till it’s safe to walk alone at night in Newtown…

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  37. Denis says:

    now I know where all the people who turn every news24 article into a race thing come from…

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  38. Robfather says:

    Having lived and worked in Joburg and Cape Town and having friends and associates in both, as well as Durban (where I grew up) I would like to say I am actually embarassed by the comments from Anonymous. You are a very immature and ignorant person, a sad indicator of South Africas youth. The article was entertaining and informative BUT Pestroy still sucks.

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  39. carolien says:

    I will never read a mahala article in my life. peace and love, cheers. ps table mountain sucks

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  40. konradie says:

    jozi fest was awesome! well written bokkkie! as for you retards in the comment section. . .

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  41. Capie says:

    @ Carolien.Yep,you are so obviously on the rag.For the sake of those around you, I hope you are sticking a sanitary pad in your mouth too!

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  42. Anonymous says:

    Capie, you’re a sexist piece of trash. You’re probably from shithole like Parrow.

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  43. Capie says:

    @Anonymous – I just gave you a “KIF”because I feel sorry for you due to your lack of humour and the fact that you live in Joburg.

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  44. DANK says:


    some of these bitches didn’t get ROSES TODAY hahahahahahahah!

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  45. Just shut up. says:

    Jesus christ.

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  46. Just shut up. says:

    I could feel my brain dying as I read these comments.

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  47. Max says:

    People, for the most part, are retarded. They disregard a well written article in favour of ONE line and get cuntish over it. Sad.

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  48. that guy - says:

    a very well written article indeed – to the point, less self indulgent than most mahala agents and quite insightful for a non jozi local…. No one can say for sure how safe any area of jhb city is after dark . i hope to see more party / fest reviews by this writer …

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  49. JR Ewing says:

    I could feel my brain dying as I read this article. The only thing were than a “music journalist” (read professional groupie) is someone who does it recreationally. Does Mahala intentionally publish the most obnoxious people in South Africa?

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  50. Anonymous says:

    Lets hear more about how the organisers didn’t pay any of the bands.
    I love capitalist cunts with now integral investment in the music scene who take our bands for a ride.

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  51. person y says:

    People keen talking about name dropping or being a groupie . But honestly how the fuck is anyone gonna know who you’re talking about if you don’t use names .

    Well Band Y was amazing , myself and Person XR had a great time . Pity I missed DJ 4 .

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  52. Jem says:

    Well written article Sideshow!

    So sad how people have ruined it with all the comments that really have nothing to do with Jozi Fest.

    just one thing i have to bring up…

    “P.S in the past 7-10 years of Carfax/The Mills area, there has been no reported crime”
    @Roger where that fuck did you pull that stat up from – and do you expect us to believe it??

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  53. cnut says:

    I thought this piece was quite good really… not fantastic… but informative from the writer’s perspective…

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  54. Malek says:

    Did not read the article, I’m just here for the comments

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  55. Thato Tsotetsi says:

    Oh but Cape Town people are fucking anal hey….lmao!!

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  56. lekker oke says:

    Wow. The human race has totally gone to shit.
    Keep it together people

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  57. Anna says:

    I think that the comments are ridiculous, thanks for making my Wednesday morning. The only problem that I had was that Newtown was compared to Woodstock and that there is an ‘Old Biscuit Mill’ Market there – but she apologised.


    Joburg and Cape Town rock, I’ve lived in both cities myself. I currently reside in Joburg and I don’t think that people visiting Fourways have a right to say what the culture of Joburg is all about. It’s like me living in Somerset West and commenting about Cape Town CBD – ain’t fair yo! I love Jozi, the people here make me extremely happy.

    Also, I love the emancipated boy from the Frown – he is cute!

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  58. DJ Shadow says:

    You should read the other review, that guy has it down.

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  59. Anna says:

    Title please?

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  60. Phumlani says:

    It just takes one line.

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  61. Anna says:

    Sigh, true that. I just find it weird that the people who complain about Joburg the most have never left the shadow of their table-like rock and vice-versa.

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  62. Skyler says:

    Ang, I think you are kiff as fuck… If you’re as hot in real life as you are in my imagination, let’s hook up…

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  63. Roger says:

    Out my black ass.

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  64. DJ Eatadick says:

    You will get murdered if you stray from the pack,hope that was a JOKE…

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  65. sad says:

    what terrible, terrible writing. stick to terrible dj-ing please.

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