Durban Bites: 20 Things About Durban by Danni Diana

This tasty morsel from Durban is by way of Danni Diana, who together with perfecting the practice of being a real live adult, is currently studying to become a neuroscientist. 

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Twenty Things I Can Tell You About Durban, Listed.

1. For most of my childhood there was, as you drove into town, a giant city-sponsored mural depicting a sun that looked like the Tropika logo, with the words “Durban: Where The Fun Never Sets” emblazoned across it. Even though the mural is gone, I’d like to think this is still true.  

2. Psych! It is not true! The fun most definitely sets here. Mostly at around 1am on weekends and 6pm on weekdays. Earlier, in the winter.  

3. You will never experience any kind of nagging social pressure to wear shoes in public. Live your life. Let your feet shine on like the crazy, blistered diamonds that they are.  

4. The weed here is both cheap and powerful. And the Musgrave Shopping Center sells Lady Bongs that despite being offensively sexist, are also pink and cute and bejewelled.  

5. Umhlanga is the shadowy place, Simba, and you must never go there.  

6. Except maybe to go to The Gateway Theatre Of Shopping. Yes, a THEATRE. Where both Shakespearean tragedies and Barnyard musical revues abound.  

7. *hands the white people crying about 5 some soft facial tissues*  

8. Both sharks and rotis are called Johnnies.  

9. Both will tear your insides apart and leave you for dead, bleeding.  

10. Everyone will tell you, in the hushed tones of international espionage, that they know who makes THE BEST bunny chow.  

11. Everyone is lying.  

12. This is because all bunny chows, like most popular street foods, actually taste identical. Yes, actually. The only real variable is how much emotional attachment you have to the vendor, with his hoaxy little toupee and his wee little packets of carrot sambals and funny little eyes that sometimes feel like street harassment.  

13. Sometimes you will see gangs of Indian Mynahs murdering each other to the death right there in front of everyone, in broad daylight.  

14. Once, I saw a lady in a city golf hike up her handbrake in rush-hour traffic, get out of her car and run over to where the Mynahs were doing their murdering, while clapping her hands together and shouting STOP IT YOU GUYS, NO MAN STOP IT THAT’S NOT NICE.  

15. Except, because she was from Durban, it sounded more like STOBBIT YUHGAAHZ, NO MEN STOBBIT THETS NOT NAAS.  

16. The Botanical Gardens are very beautiful and you should really go there.  

17. Bread Ahead, which is a bakery that is near the Botanical Gardens, is open 24 hours and also sells curry. Yes, a round-the-clock bakery that also sells delicious curry! Which means I have no option but to now retract the statements made in 2, because if this is not evidence of a fun that never sets then O Help Me God.  

18. A lot of Durbanites have a pathological insecurity about Nothing Ever Happening Here. These Durbanites speak very earnestly and secretively about Stuff In The Pipeline But They Can’t Tell You Yet. They also live for the thrill of saying AHA! A THING IS HAPPENING HERE! BEHOLD! whenever a thing happens.  

19. (Truthfully though, nothing ever really happens here)  

20. But not in the way where your best friend need be a volleyball with a bloodied hand print on it. Just in the way where there’s generally less structure and more space. Which can be a real lovely thing for letting ideas and passions and scenes and selves emerge of their own strange alchemy, as opposed to all the relentless pushing, pushing, pushing into being that elsewhere is the ruin of so much of what is gentle and new.  

Follow Danni on Twitter @DNLLKT


List, diagram and haiku by Danni Diana.  

Danni hates advertising and is currently studying to be a neuroscientist and actual real live adult. Until then, she’s just chilling on Tumblr, writing about gender and ruminating over why bae won’t text back.


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