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Published: April 22nd 2014
Mr Moses Mabidha
I am ashamed to say that I did not read the biographical information beneath the bust. I can be pretty sure that he is somehow linked to the freedom struggle and was in all likelihood affiliated to the ANC. Anyway I took this picture with face detection enabled. My camera flashed a warning: blink detected! Honestly? Mr Mabidha?
I departed Sandton, Johannesburg, as I had arrived: on the airport express service. The train breezed eastwards through suburbs, industry and intervening golf courses to Oliver Tambo International. I disembarked and scurried down the escalator to a help desk. "Where is the domestic terminal?" I asked of a young woman behind the desk. She pointed back upstairs in the direction I had seen various other people from the train heading. Feeling a bit foolish I took another escalator up to the next floor and found the SAA desk. I skirted the self check-in which I still find intimidating and joined a queue. It was being held up by a family who were taking advantage of the free cling-wrap service or whatever they call it, whereby your bags are wrapped in layer after layer of cling-film, allegedly to prevent or discourage would-be thieves from stealing. I only had one bag for the hold and there wasn't anything of particular value therein so I moved to a free check-in desk. "You are not wanting to use our service?" the middle-aged African man behind the desk enquired. "No, I don't think so" I replied. "Is theft a problem?" I asked of him. He shook
his head without actually verbally asserting that it was safe. I had heard loads of stories in the past about baggage being tampered with in transit but it had never actually happened to me. I took my chances in the knowledge that I was helping to contribute to one less load of plastic in a local landfill. I doubt my feelings were shared by many others in the vicinity though. The chap doing the wrapping seemed to be pretty busy.
En route to security I decided to try out my prepaid travelcard for the first time. I spotted a cash machine with only one person at it. As it turned out, the one person, a young black lady in figure-hugging red dress was doing the equivalent of three people's ATM needs. She punched in various PINs and the machine in turn spat out a succession of paper slips which she crumpled and tossed in the small paper bin attached to the front of the booth. Eventually she moved on and I was able to make my withdrawal. From there it was through security - a formality - and into the departure lounge. I had 45 minutes till takeoff so
Near North Beach
Moses Mabidha stadium in background
I hurried to the boarding gate to find only a handful of people waiting there and no crew as of yet. Everyone else seemed to be inhabiting the nearby Wimpy fast-food restaurant. I might be able to slip in a quick coffee and bagel I thought to myself, but was reckoning without the lady in red who sidled up to the counter shortly before I got there. She proceeded to whip out a loyalty card which didn't seem to be registered correctly. The staff member behind the counter scrutinised it with a perplexed look on her face while the young woman in red did her best to explain where she had got it and how she had been told she could register it even though she didn't have a credit card. After several minutes my patience wore out which coincided with the opening of the gate to the aircraft. Fortunately it was a South African Airways flight rather than one of the low cost carriers so I fervently hoped there would be coffee and breakfast aboard. That proved to be the case.
We arrived in Durban less than an hour later and disembarked into a balmy coastal
Somewhere near Addington beach. My grandfather was once chief medical superintendent at Addington Hospital which overlooks the beach. It is currently undergoing a facelift.
atmosphere. Very pleasant indeed. The next step was to find my rental car. First I headed to Hertz only to discover that because I had changed my original dates my provider had also been changed (I had done it online through a comparison site called rentalcars.com). I was redirected to Avis. There were two attendants on duty. One was attending to a young couple who were debating the dimensions of two baby chairs at length and the other was attending to - and here I had to do a double take - the girl in the red dress! "Why oh why?" I lamented to myself. Blessedly she took a phone call and wandered away from the counter. I was able to slip in and claim my rental, a small Chevrolet Spark, allegedly the most economical in that pricing group. A few minutes later I was driving away from King Shaka International towards the N2 highway. A mile or two further down the road was a toll booth very conveniently situated. The fee was peanuts (R4-50 which is about 25p) but I didn't have any small change yet. I slipped the toll booth lady a R100 bill and she clicked her
Beach photographer does his thing.
tongue disapprovingly. I assured her that it was all I had and she returned me a wad of notes and a few coins. I didn't have time to count it but I parked off on the edge of the road and double-checked it. I discovered I was R10 short. Deliberate or otherwise I couldn't be sure, but considering how small the amount was I continued my journey.
Enough of the petty details. It gets late! Suffice to say I arrived at my relative's house to discover that they were mostly out, at least those capable of opening up the locked carport below. Therefore I was compelled to make another plan. An easy decision really. When in Rome you go to the forum; when in Durbs, you head to the beach. Hence the majority of the pictures I have uploaded feature the beach. I will now do my best to annotate them...
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