01 December 2010 by Chris Marais

Down on ‘See Me’ Street

This evening, I’m on a drive around Intabazwe township in the Eastern Free State, with the ultimate aim of buying some beer at an obliging shebeen.

It all happens in metal containers around here. At the busy mobile cellphone centre I meet Tulwane Moloi, a local teacher who really wants to be a male model. Nearby is another container where you can fax a letter, have your CV typed up and enjoy a township braai (barbecue) - in one fell swoop.

There’s the 702 Kiosk where you can buy fruit, cigarettes and sweets. Next door is the Masakhane Car Wash, which does a roaring trade on weekends. But where’s the beer?

At a hair dressing salon, the proprietor comes out and offers me a haircut at a good rate. “What hair?”, I have to ask him. He laughs.

I drive slowly down Mponeng Road (See Me Street), a mellow Abdullah Ibrahim jazz CD playing in the car. See Me Street is the stylish thoroughfare of Intabazwe, where folk who have acquired a fancy new car, a cell phone, some smart clothes or simply a pretty girlfriend come to show off to the public at large.

Here’s a church choir in full swing, practising for the weekend services as the township relaxes into twilight. Two kids sharing a pair of rollerblades glide like flamingos down a concrete drain.

Light shines out from the open door of the Cahora Bassa Tavern, where - in addition to all the kwaito music your heart could desire - there is ice cold lager. Someone calls out a welcome, and I dive in with my drinking boots on. I’m having the best time…

Category: Culture & History

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