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Another Day in the Mother City by Benjamin Weinberg
 

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  • People up in Gauteng, South Africa’s go-getta province, the province built atop the great reefs of gold that lie beneath the Witswaterrand, the province of Jo’burg – Egoli – The City of Gold, the Province with GP licence plates that all the rest of the country likes to nod and say hmmm mmmm GP, ganstas’ paradise.

    Well, up in Gauteng, people like to say that Capetonians live at a different pace.

    Mostly they mean slow.

    I know that as soon as I get off the plane, if I fly, or when you wind down out of the dry mountain ranges to the east and north and see the great mass of Table Mountain and the shimmer of the sea and the wind that sweeps relentlessly across the sandy plains around, as soon as you arrive in Cape Town you know you are somewhere different. The smell of salt in the sea spangled air, the push of the wind, the easy breezy bright sardonic chatter it all lets you know you have arrived.



    We only meant to run out to take the little one to the sea for the afternoon. She put her costume on underneath and we all piled into the car. There was a stop for smokes and this and that at the little mall down the road. You couldn’t help notice the commotion at the intersection. The groom was a big man with rugby thighs.

    That man has pink wings, said the little one from the back seat.

    And so he did. Pink wings and a pink tutu and pink body paint and pink hair.

    He passed among the traffic cleaning windows and holding out his hard hat for donations.

    He has pretty earrings, said the little one.

    And so he did. His faux diamond dangling earings shimmered and sparkled.

    His mates stood in a row along the side of the road taking video and pictures, urging him on and calling to the drivers to give the man a job.

    We got the smokes and the what all else and headed for the sea. The little on chattered in the back seat about sand and shells and waves.

    A ways down the road the traffic stopped.

    Expect significant delays, the sign board flashed.

    Three hours later we turned off still miles short of the sea. Two trucks had overturned one was on fire still. All lanes were closed.

    Martin cranked the tunes, the sea air finally flooded the car as we drove home again.

    Life at a different pace in the Mother City. It’s not about the destination there, but what you find along the way.
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