Friday, November 30, 2007

Being Cold in Botswana and a Brief Venue Guide

The day starts with tea for Malebogo, Herbert and myself. It’s actually verging on cold! Well, it’s freezing for Botswana, but what in the UK we would just call a standard overcast day. Malebogo can’t believe that I’m not wearing socks and shoes, how am I not cold? It’s the natural insulation of course! We head out to Game City to Mugg and Bean for brunch. I do ask “Are we going to the outlet in Game City?” to be told that this is the only one, so yes.

I devour a quesadilla whilst the other two have burgers. Shame on Malebogo for copying Herbs, that’s all I say. They also ignore my specific lengthy instructions as to how I’d like my cappuccino and bring me a latte. Tip is of course being reduced mentally with each infringement. I point out to Lebo the waiter who, as I put it, is the only one with any brains. Oh yes, she replies, he’s the owner of this and of the Bull and Bush. Ah, that would be why he comes across with slightly more acumen than the rest!

We head back to Thabiso’s Mum’s so Herbs can get his internet fix with my laptop, before they leave me for a bit of quiet time, the first since I came to Gabs! I work on the blog a bit, then have dinner sprung on me by Suko, what a nice surprise – traditional Botswanan fare of vegetables and chicken, with some salad on the side. I eat with Dr Nasha, who laughs as we discuss the interview in the newspaper with Thabiso, where he discusses his plan to become President of Botswana.

Herbert picks me up, and takes me over to Thabiso’s house, where I learn that potentially they won’t do anything this evening. So why did you pick me up then, I could use an early night! We watch BBC Food for a bit, before going out for a couple of drinks at Linga Longa. Back at Thabiso’s, he gets a call from Madoda, who offers to drives me home. Of course it’s too late to object by the time I realise he’s had a few, but we make it home safe and I get a bed instead of a couch for the night!

Gaborone Venue Guide
Gabs is a small city, with a population of about 250,000 people. There’s not much to it, but here’s what you can expect:

* Linga Longa
The bar of choice at Riverwalk Shopping Centre, has friendly and attentive staff, an outdoor and indoor section, though unfortunately it does close fairly early – 11pm on weekdays. Not sure about weekends.

* Fashion Lounge
The nightclub, in Phakalane, a bit out of town but very close to where I’m staying. Not cheap, annoying dress codes, but some of the beautiful crowd from town will always be found here.

* Fashion Lounge 2
Jack’s house, where he’s made his own club. Crazy!

* Lizard Lounge
More grungy – I think someone said this was the first club in Gabs, and you can feel it is somewhat aged. Good crowd on Thursdays though. To be avoided on Wednesdays when it is invariably empty (why do we still persist in going every week?!)

* Thabiso’s house
Fair standard suburban house, he has electric fences and the two dogs for security. Inside, a kitchen which according to Mumsa very rarely gets used, and bathrooms without showers, which is unforgiveable! His internet connection, whilst broadband, is painfully slow!

* Dr Nasha’s House
Thabiso’s Mum’s house is secluded, has a pool in the garden, is spacious and very clean and tidy thanks to Suko. However, it’s impossible to find anything in the kitchen, there are no bins and the showers are extremely weak. All of these complaints are over-ridden by the marvellousness of having Suko cook and clean, and wash all of your clothes on a continuous basis!

* Riverwalk Shopping Centre
The better of the two big malls (there are others, but off my radar). It’s smaller, but has one side devoted to bars and eateries with outdoor seating, including Linga Longa (see above).

* Game City Shopping Centre
Bigger mall, but less interesting, and the only food option is Mugg and Bean. Which does have free wifi, a massive plus point! And their new menu launched today.

* Bull and Bush
The expat hangout, a large pub cum disco cum restaurant venue, which a very mixed crowd – the doormen are not very selective. I’m not very keen on the place to be honest.

* The Mall
The central street in Gabs, which has several run down shops and a few offices. No food except fast – KFC, Debonair pizza and a few lesser known ones. It does have the nice bar upstairs somewhere though that Thabiso has taken me to a couple of times. Not sure if I could find it myself though!

Back to South Africa

Daytrip to Mafikeng

Catching up

Today we’re off to South Africa. Malebogo has some banking to do there, and it makes a nice break. I need my old passport with Botswana entry stamp, so Herbs takes me over to Thabiso’s Mum’s house to collect it. We’re just about to leave to head back when Thabiso calls.. “where the hell are you guys” etc. What a turnaround in fortunes. Sadly, Malebogo picks him up in her car, so he’s not made to wait a true “Thabiso” length of time! We use the time to pick up Girlie on the way back home.


The drive down is fairly uneventful, and it’s not long before I’m on to my new passport, hurrah. I watch nervously as the South African immigration chap slaps the visa sticker in, does he not realise that he needs to take care with those “first stamp” privileges?!

Mafikeng is a town which seems to largely have grown up so Botswanans can pop across the border for some decent (relatively) shopping – lots of big malls about. We’re primarily here because Malebogo needs to do some banking, having been here for several years at Uni. Whilst she does her banking, we wait in the car. I must admit to feeling slightly more on edge here. Too many damn white people about. Thabiso reckons I’m racist to my own kind.

For lunch, as we’re back to a sea-faring (or at least facing) nation, we go to Ocean Basket. Good to have seafood again, I go for the platter. Girlie hasn’t really had much seafood before, but to her credit she tries everything, and likes it.

On the way back there is some dispute as to who should be driving, but in the end it falls to Thabiso. Problem with this is that his stomach is misbehaving, so we end up having to make a stop for gas. Not of the petrol variety!

Quick stop

Shake it all about

In the mall before leaving, we had given each other (boy – girl) a task – buy a present for the other costing not more than 20 rand. Girlie got an ice-cube tray, and in return I received a pair of boxer shorts, which I proceeded to try out on the drive home.

They came off quickly though when Malebogo said I look like every other white guy who comes to Africa, has braids etc. Noooo, she thinks I’m a hippy!! We visit Thabiso’s Dad on the way back too, he’s friendly, and you can really see from both of Thabiso’s parents where he gets his happy easy-going nature.

Girlie heads off to Riverwalk to meet friends, with express instructions for me that I’m not to go there! Charmed, I’m sure! We hang around a bit at home before.. heading out to Riverwalk, to Spur, a restaurant upstairs that has truly shockingly bad service – it takes about 15 minutes to get a beer. Herbert mentions that Girlie was leaving when we arrived. Say what?! So we go downstairs to Linga Longa.

She has gone, and so after a couple of beers at Linga Longa we head to the inevitable Lizard Lounge.

Thabiso falls off his chair in excitement

At Lizard Lounge, Thabiso has trouble talking us in. It’s Wednesday night, the place is empty, and they still insist on charging us. Only when we’ve said we’re walking away do they finally let us in. They’re making enough money on drinks already, I don’t see why they should be charging us entry to an empty nightclub.

Back trouble or good dancing

Herbs has been up and down with his mood all evening, woman trouble of course, but finally perks up a little here.


Herbs cheering up

Miss Botswana and Wearing a Skirt

Sunday morning for the first time I head out on my own, walking along the dirt track to the main road, where I find a bus going into town. It’s actually quite refreshing, as I’ve been feeling guilty about being chauffeured everywhere. I still don’t have a great feel for the geography of Gabs, mainly because I don’t have a map to refer to as we drive around, but I am beginning to piece together the place, plus people are really helpful when you ask them which combi minibus taxi to take to a particular place.

Over at Riverwalk, I head up to 25 Degrees, where the owner, Mr Sharma, remembers me and greets me warmly. Their power is out, but he promises to prepare food anyway, though in fact it’s soon back. Khumo finally turns up, and we wait a short while for the food to come, a minor disaster as she has a bus back to Francistown at 1pm, giving us about 15-20 minutes to eat a full Indian meal, with starters, mains, lassi etc. Quite a mission, and we end up asking for a substantial part of it take away. Khumo likes her first Indian food experience. Good.

We rush out having paid, and I assume we’ll take a cab. There are none to be seen though, so Khumo takes me down to where the combis leave from. We have about 5 minutes! There is one filling up (they wait until full before leaving), but I say we should hop in an already-full one that is just stopping to let people off, as they’ll leave immediately. Nope, we sit and wait 5-10 minutes for this one to leave. Khumo thinks we still have a chance. At the station, we dash across the footbridge, it’s now 15 past, surely the bus will have gone. On arrival, it turns out that in fact there are later buses, grrrr! Why did we have to wolf our food down?!

Khumo leaves, and I hop on a bus going back to Phakalane, which is roasting hot. I’m sitting waiting for it to leave when Lebu, who I’d met at the music thing yesterday, appears, so we chat for a bit. It’s such a small place, Gabs, that I can understand how you can’t go anywhere without meeting people, especially when it comes to going out, when there are half a dozen venues that everyone goes to, almost every night! (Venue guide coming soon!)

Back home, I enjoy some quiet time, after having a video conference with Grandma Daphne, who is 80 today! Happy Birthday Gran!! There seems to be some amusement that I still haven’t had a hair-cut, and Gran just wants to know when I’m coming home. I’m on my way, Gran! Thabiso rings and tells me he’ll pick me up at 4pm. I’ll be ready by 5:30 I reply, to which he laughs. Of course, he turns up at 6pm. We drive around for a bit (as usual), before arriving at a BBQ being held by some of his very old school friends.

One chap seems to be mad about my Afro haircut. Almost intimidatingly so! Anyway, the food is good, simple meat, sausage, pap, stew, and salad, and just what is required. It would seem in Botswana that garden parties are the thing to do, and why not when you have fairly reliable good weather like they have here. The only issue tends to be it being too hot, which is why you lounge about doing nothing until the sun goes down!

Another tourist, Vinnie, from South Africa, joins us as we head on to the next place, a party being given by the owner of the Lizard Lounge club. Again a really nice atmosphere, with kids dancing on one side, lots of people milling about chatting, or dancing. The music is impressively loud, as you would expect from a club owner! Thabiso chats with his bank manager. Apparently he never has to go to the bank, as he meets this chap in clubs or parties – tells him what he needs, the bank manager agrees, and if necessary Thabiso pops into the bank the following day to sign the papers. Personal banking at its best!

Now for the potential highlight of the evening, we’re off to Miss Botswana, being held at Gabarone Sun, an upmarket hotel and conference centre. This is actually the second time the competition had been staged, as last time they had to cancel it because one of the girls had her main dress go missing. I’m afraid that my Canon had run out of batteries at a very bad time, so the best I can offer is a grainy shot from my mobile:

The auditorium is dark when we arrive, and adverts are being shown on screens at the side. Soon the girls come back out, and the final six are nominated. I’m not sure I agree with all of the judges choices, but there are some very pretty girls up there. The remaining six are asked the following question: “Why is Botswana called the Diamond of Africa?”, and it is in answering this that one sees the performance of most of them fall apart – some ask to have the question repeated again, others forget the phrase “Diamond of Africa” and so say “Botswana is called (pause) *that*“. I’m not sure if it’s nerves or lack of brains, but it’s noteworthy that the only sensible answers are being given by a girl who is at UB (University of Botswana) doing Political Sciences.

Next question is “How should Botswana use its strategic position for the 2010 World Cup”, which again is a shambles as some girls completely miss the point and waffle, before concluding that “that is all I have to say” and walking off. I know there must be some pressure being up there, but this is what these girls do – most of them list “modelling” as their primary talent! So no surprise that the 18 year old who answered so well, and in fact is very tall and quite pretty too, wins. I think No.2 and 3 were ranked the wrong way around, but No.3 fluffed the last question completely, so it had to be this way around.

Next we pick up Janet, who for once finished at the time she said she would, and is waiting.


We go back to the Lizard Party for a bit, before the Beach Party at Ozone. What a strange concept, as Botswana is landlocked, so there are no beaches. Furthermore, it was quite empty, and so not much of a party either. And the most bizarre aspect at all, was that one could say it was actually cold! Certainly chilly and there was a breeze blowing through. Who would have thought that one would be cold during a beach party in sunny Botswana?!

In the morning, Herbert picks me up, and we go back to Thabiso’s place, where I find that finally Chotki loves me, yay! No more being eaten! I’m still slightly cautious though, in case she forgets me. And the key test will be a night-time approach to the big metal gate, then we’ll find out if we’ve truly broken the ice between us.

Out to Riverwalk, Janet and I go shopping for a bit, and I pick up an orange stripy t-shirt, as my signature white and blue one has some dodgy stains. I wanted to buy some others, in Afro colours - Green, brown, white, orange etc, but Janet told me not to! We lunch with pizza at Debonair, and Mr Sharma spots me and says hello, this is getting embarrassing! Malebo picks us up, and takes me home for shower. I find dear Suko has taken all of my clothes to wash them, and is busy making an interesting bean dish. Today I’m going to wear my longyi, or sarong skirt. Suko doesn’t believe it.

I play some of my music as we head into town, including Lemonjelly’s Ramblin’ Man. The afternoon passes with nasty storms overhead, watching the Africaans 7de Laan soap, and in the evening we go to the Bull and Bush, where one of Thabiso’s friends is throwing money about, buying us all drinks. As usual, I’m on the Hansa.

Next day, Thabiso drives down to a recording studio. This weekend he is hosting a “Cleavage Party” in a venue north of here, and needs to hack the radio advert he used for the last one. His friend has a proper sound studio.

So Thabiso puts on his manic party voice, throwing his arms around the air and rerecording the bits with the date and venue name.

The price has also changed, and he hits on an idea to include me in the list of MCs (he bolts on “UK Sam” to the list of names, and make me do part of the jingle, so I find myself inside the room with the brief to say “30 bucks gets you in, baby”. I’m not convinced I have the voice for this, but after a few attempts, they use my voice just for “30 bucks gets you in”, as my baby just doesn’t cut it (sorry girls). The premise of the party is that if girls are showing off their cleavage they get in for cheaper the whole night.

As to how me MCing will work. Well, I’m not at all sure about that. Thabiso tells me it will all be fine as long as I don’t say “ni**er”, that strange word that black people use all the time to refer to themselves, but white people are not allowed to say – then he paints a picture of the music stopping abruptly, angry stares from several hundred people, tumbleweed blowing across the dancefloor, and me being torn to pieces. Okay, I’ll stay off racism!! All I can hope is that it’s quietly forgotten that I’m supposed to be doing anything involving the microphone. Unless I can get hold of Seamus for some tips before Saturday.

Eskimo Launch and the Fashion Lounge

After a pleasant late start, Thabiso calls me, and tells me the plan is to have a BBQ here, can I get the fire going, he’ll be over in about 30 minutes. I’m suspicious, but decide to go for it. Charcoal out, firelighters, and I carefully strike the single match. It takes a while, but eventually I have a nice glowing stack of charcoal. No Thabiso. I sigh, open a beer and read my book in the sunshine. About an hour late, Thabiso rocks up, and asks where everyone is. Who? Apparently a car-load of people left his house 20 minutes before him, supposedly to come here. A phone call reveals that they went home to sleep instead. We pop out to buy some food for the BBQ, though 10 seconds into the drive, the plan is changed – we’ll head over to a house where there is a music launch party for the Eskimos – they’re bringing out a CD called Still Makimo.

Setting up stage

They’re still setting up, and there aren’t many people about yet, but the beers are already being brought out. There will be food later too. We grab some seats and lounge about chatting.

Benetton Advert

Generally everyone is friendly, and there’s some good music being played by the chap setting up the sound system, who Thabiso tells me is the best in Botswana. After half an hour or so, Thabiso gets a call, his friends have finally shown up for the BBQ, so we head back. Thabiso’s Mum, Dr Margaret Nasha, is home too. I make her a cup of tea, and am promptly accused of being a sell-out by the others. Did give me a chance to offer it up in the England mug I’d spotted in the cupboard though, surely a diplomatic coup for UK Botswana relations?!

Thabiso's mother, Dr Margaret Nasha

Outside we sit round drinking and chatting. Flick, Thabiso’s friend, talks about “gangster” life – “If I see two brothers comin’ for me, I gonna pop their asses” etc. All very good natured stuff.

The Nasha

Back to the Eskimos Listening Session
Once the beers have run out, we head back to the launch party. No bbq then. There are lots of people here now, Thabiso knows them all, so we just mingle and chat.

The main gig only gets going once it starts to get dark. The first some is a bit “Chumbawumba” for me, but some of the others are good.

Stuck in the car, and to Linga Longa
After this, we drive around for hours in Thabiso's car, popping in to see people, running errands etc. I’m starting to get annoyed as I’m so bored. We do however meet Miss Botswana from many years ago at a petrol station. Thabiso and Herbert both pose for photos with her.

Next Linga Longa for some drinks. The lovely Fifi apparently loves British accents. Herbert clamps his arm round me and declares “here is your man”. Yes, says Fifi, and my boyfriend is half British too. Drat!

Fi fi

Nina and Girlie

Once again, it’s back to Thabiso’s Mum’s house, where Madoda is entertaining friends. Will we ever go out? The answer is eventually yes.

Fashion Lounge
As we get to Fashion Lounge at almost 3am! We meet Malebogo and her friends coming out, and I’m tempted to switch cars and go with them! Anyway, I have a battle getting into Fashion Lounge because my Crocs are apparently “sandals”. I point out that this can only be the case when the strap is flipped forwards – as flipped back they are shoes, but he doesn’t buy it. I end up flattering him into letting me in, making sure I’m out of ear-range before cursing his stubborn arrogance.

Fashion Lounge is one of the main nightclubs in Gabs, and it has a beautiful crowd and a nice large open bar area.

Chatting to Girlie, who likes crunching on ice (sure sign of an iron deficiency according to Malebogo), she tells me I am her first white friend! She makes me laugh by reeling off all the stereotypes that she has about white people, a few of which have some grounding in reality, but some of which are rubbish (white people watch different kinds of movies). That said, we couldn’t agree on many movies we’ve both seen, so perhaps she’s right.

Passport in Two Days

Next Thabiso takes me over to his Mum’s house. He’s cut a deal with her. I can stay, as long as I buy her a pizza on the way over – she’s hungry . Dr Nasha is a government minister, currently holding the Local Government portfolio. Her house is out of town, past Phakalane and along a dusty road. It’s surrounded by high walls, and has on-site security. Inside I meet Suko, the house-maid, who has a friendly smile. Thabiso tells me she’ll look after me, and shows me to a room with a large double bed and en-suite bathroom. An upgrade from his couch, it has to be said. I have a shower in the dark (light bulb needs replacing, which we do afterwards). Also the water is cold until I finish the shower, when the solar-heated water finally makes its way through. The shower is one of those exciting ones with lots of jets pointing in all directions and multiple heads, but the water pressure isn’t really high enough to drive it. Still, it’s a shower. Thabiso just has a bath. Suko feeds me an enormous portion of some tasty traditional food, beans, meat and some vegetables, before we head out to dinner (!).

Of course, dinner is not required, instead we pop over to Jack’s house. He’s a rich Indian business man who has an entire bar club area with Jacuzzi in an outhouse in the garden. Quite impressive, though it’s strange how the plot of land is not that big, but the house completely fills it in two stories. I think what he needs to do is buy all the adjacent properties and knock them all down to make a nice garden! We walk round the house after confirming that the 7, yes *seven* attack dogs have been called off! Inside the “club”, he shows off his sound system, and to my displeasure (for the noise is awful) all of the sycophantic (mostly) expats inside pretend to be happy that he’s splitting our ear-drums. I suppose lots of money does that to people. I end up chatting to a pilot chap from New Zealand, running charter flights around the region from here, primarily to Johannesburg. How awful, I exclaim! Oh no, he says, it’s nice to go out and chat up white girls there. But Botswanan women are beautiful, I point out, surely if you’re living here for a couple of years you will have found yourself a nice local girl? He raises his eyebrows at me. I realise we’re never going to get on.

We pick up Janet at Gaborone Hotel on the way to Lizard Lounge. This evening (Thursday) it’s a different place, packed full of people, initially all black, but a fair few white people by later on. There are a couple of the Miss Botswana contestants floating about. The music has its ups and downs, depending on who is DJing – they seem to be cutting over approximately hourly. Starting with common R&B, it moves on to some funky jazz stuff, before house and back to R&B. The crowd is fun, happy, dressed up and dancing away. Why do black people just inherently have dance moves built into them? I think part of it is that there’s no embarrassment when dancing in African cultures – people have garden parties and it doesn’t take vast amounts of beer to get people shaking their stuff, just good music and some friends. In the same way that the Swedes are not shy at bursting into song at a moment’s notice (especially Sofia and her gang in Jo’berg), so most African black people will dance anywhere, any time, even if it’s just a gentle little shake on the spot. I’m deeply envious!

It’s late by the time I drop Janet off, and head back to Thabiso’s. Now, any hopes that Chotki and I had made our peace were dashed as she and Legetla sprang at me from behind the fence. I’m scared to put my hand near the buzzer to wake up Herbert to let me in, which he finally does, steering me across the forecourt and holding off the snarling canines. This night I know the drill, make sure that door is bolted! I don’t have any sheets though, so make do with sleeping in my pants and using my shirt as a sheet. For the next several days Thabiso goes around telling everyone I slept naked. I do half wake up to see Herbert coming into the house with a girl. Go Herbert!, I think, until I later discover that this was Mumsa, the housemaid. Still, she’s a nice girl!

Later Herbert takes me back, picking up Ona on the way, to Thabiso’s Mum’s place, where I get to meet Madoda, Thabiso’s younger brother, who lives here too. He invites us to join him for lunch, which we’ll do once we’ve finished a few errands. I notice that Suko has tidied up my room, including carefully organising everything I’d left strewn about the room into cupboards, shelves and drawers. I shall have to be very careful not to leave anything later! She’s also taken all of my dirty clothes and washed them, so kind!

Herbert and Ona

We head back to town, first to the British Embassy. For, believe it or not, yesterday evening I received a phone call from them – my passport is ready, after the grand sum of two, yes 2 single working days! Who would have thought! After being quoted 8-10 weeks by the lazy jobsworths in Pretoria, here it’s almost next day. And why not – all they need to do is type in my name into their computer, tick a couple of boxes, click “submit” and it’s all sent to London, which approves then returns an ok for the local embassy to print the passport off. So where does 10 weeks get lost? British FCO – sack the South African pen-pushers and centralise operations for Southern Africa in Botswana!

The embassy closes at 1pm on a Friday, and we cut it very fine – Herbert swerves into a “no entry” parking area and I leap out and run round. All is calm inside of course, though sadly my very well-spoken girl is not there today, no asking her for dinner then. Next we take Ona over to process her provisional driving licence, exposing me to Botswanan civil servants. The office is supposed to open after their lunch break at 1:45pm. This time comes and goes. A rather large lady waddles across the corridor with a cup of tea and some food. Eventually things get going. Ona has a ticket saying she’s number 2088, which worries Herbert and I when we hear number 67 being called. Turns out they have different numbering systems for different kinds of applications. Of course.

Next, the hair dressers for an appointment. I can sense the “ooh I’d love to do something to that” stares at my mop all round, but it’s not too be – Ona and her friend are coming here the following day, we’re just in to book the time. And then back to Madoda, who by this stage had given up on us and eaten alone. He rouses himself, and we head out to Spa and Woolworths (which in SA and here is like Marks and Spencer, i.e. good food), before back where he expertly roasts a chicken for us, with potatoes and a salad. Herbert reckons Madoda’s cooking is the best, and it seems he’s right as we tuck in outside, looking over the garden and pool.

Madoda brings the finished product out

That finished, Khumo turns up off her bus down from Francistown, so Madoda and I pick her up, before coming back and feeding her too.

We then have a swim whilst Madoda picks up more of his friends, in what ends up being a nice evening drinks session on the wrought iron garden table and chairs. Wine, Hansa Marzen Gold (my beer of choice) and cider flow in copious quantities. Whilst we’re here, the others, Thabiso and Herbert, are at Linga Longa with friends, Herbert with my camera which presumably isn’t going to last much longer. Here are some shots from Linga Longa, not mine but as it seems to the bar of choice, I’ll publish them anyway:

Later we head out to a party at Jack’s, but a phone call to Thabiso on the way tells us that the venue has switched to the Bull and Bush. This is the main expat pub joint. It’s a strange place – trying to be everything – pub, restaurant, nightclub, pool joint, outdoor terrace drinking spot, and yet somehow not being especially successful at any of them. It also seems to be the venue that lets all of the underage kids in, some looking about 12! This has implications which the idiotic door-men may not always consider though, as someone (presumably a kid trying his first cider) throws up on the dance floor, leaving it with a very nasty smell.

Aside: They have an interesting feature with mobile phones here. Almost everyone uses pay-as-you-go, and are always running out of credit. If you want someone to call, but have no credit, you use “Callback”, where you tap in a code and the number you want to speak to, and it sends a message to the other person, without charge, saying “please call this number”. Nothing else. So if you recognise the number, you call back. Clever, eh?

At Bull and Bush, the usual suspects are about, and I meet the lovely Lebu, a mixed or “coloured” girl who is heading down to Pretoria this weekend. We’re getting tired, but somehow Thabiso is going on to a club. Not for us after drinking all day, and luckily Madoda is driving his friends home so we get a lift, albeit at about 200km/hr. Is it even worth wearing seatbelts at that speed? Anyway, in the early hours of the morning on a “going out” night, one sees the worst driving in the world. No exaggeration! As we wait at some traffic lights, a 4x4 zooms through, swerving around the waiting cars, then appears to be going straight for the traffic lights in the central reservation. We all cry out, but at the absolute last second he veers away, almost tipping the vehicle, but avoiding the post. Driving along at speeds not to be shy of ourselves, other cars do “James Bond Pursuit Driving” – weaving back and forth between lanes and zooming past us. Madness.