All posts filed under: Africa

things to do in durban, hayani, playhouse theatre durban

Discover Durban, the Hipster Soul of South Africa.

If Cape Town is the pretty face of South Africa, Durban is its hipster soul.  The infectious spirit of the locals, the alternative curry culinary experiences, and the artistic bent of the city blew me away. I fell in love the moment I saw its long white coastline, caressed by the deep blue Indian Ocean; it’s Zulu name eThekwini encapsulates this perfect confluence of water and earth. Here are some quirky ways to experience Durban: Delve into the local art scene My friend Andrea Rees (who runs The Heart of a Woman project near Cape Town) stumbled on a tweet about Hayani while we were in Durban. We landed at the local Playhouse Theatre that night, the only outsiders to catch this phenomenal two-man play that traced the stories of two young boys and how their lives have changed over the last two decades in South Africa. Even though part of it was in the native Xhosa language, the incredible depiction of the characters and the raw emotions of the audience gave me some much-needed perspective into this complex country. Refer …

south africa culture, mamelodi south africa

Bittersweet Feelings in South Africa’s Mamelodi Township.

On a lazy Sunday afternoon, the whiff of gently spiced curries floats through the streets of Mamelodi. Men from the township chat jovially under a wooden shelter, drinking beer, taking turns to stir the large metal pots on the open fire. Cow heads, they tell me as I look curiously, reminded of open-air communal cooking in India, though you seldom find men taking charge here. From a narrow street ahead, reggae music pours out, calling me towards it, towards women chilling in the outdoors over beer and gossip, dancing, playing pool! This is no party, just their only day off work. And so what if most of them are domestic workers with meagre wages, they sure know how to have a good time. I awkwardly smile at first, wondering if I am intruding. But the awkwardness melts away quickly in their jokes, and turns to hugs when they hear I’m from India. Take a picture of us, they urge me, so you can show your people how we live here; I oblige, for we can sure learn a thing or two …

seychelles

Island Legends From Seychelles.

I often dream of a time when little of the world had been discovered. No maps, no connectivity; travel was only for people with a heart for real adventure. People set sail without knowing their destination. One day, a lucky bunch of them would end up at a group of pristine, uninhabited islands in the Indian Ocean and decide to stay. These are their legends. This is a glimpse of Seychelles beyond the beaches. 1. The World’s Most Expensive Coconut. A Coco De Mer costs 6000 Seychelles rupees (or 30,000 Indian rupees) and you can’t even eat it. Arabic sailors often sailed to these parts looking for goods they could sell back home. They landed on Praslin (pronounced Pra-lay), the second biggest of the Seychelles’ islands, and chanced upon Coco De Mer. The nut of this palm tree resembles the shape of a woman’s butts or lungs or other parts, depending on your imagination. The nut has no functional value, but became a sought after ornament, selling at the same price as spices in those days; …