A woman named Anne Stevens recently proved that not all Durbanites are peace-loving, banana-eating hippies, when she lambasted Cape Town (“Cape Town, you can keep your mountain”) for its many flaws.

Hey, she’s got a few points. My hometown is far from perfect. It irritates the shit out of me that we’re such crappy drivers for example. But I think she was a little harsh and deluded, especially in her Durban comparisons. So here’s my argument for the defence.

Charge 1: The “bloody mountain” is everywhere.
Defence: Yes… it is… Seriously?

Charge 2: The traffic is a nightmare.
Defence: Dude, have you been to Joburg? The Cape’s hour-long drive home is a friggin’ nature walk compared to the Ben Schoeman highway. And Durban’s got its entire population travelling along one damn freeway every day because they’re too cheap to pay the new toll road. However, I do concede that CY drivers are pushy. You would be too if you lived in Belville.

Charge 3: Cold and rain make for a hellish winter.
Defence: This might come as a shock Anne, but that’s what winter is supposed to be like. You’re from a city where 21 degrees is considered a cold snap. Besides, there is a cosy pleasure in sitting by a fireplace with lamb curry and red wine while the rain lashes the windows. Try doing that in La Lucia.

Charge 4: “I would venture that [the restaurants] are not only characterised by indifferent service, but overpriced and over-hyped grub.”
Defence: First of all, it sounds like you haven’t even tried a Cape Town restaurant. What the hell does “I would venture” mean? I’ve sampled a few ‘good’ restaurants in Umhlanga and I’m sorry to burst your bubble but they were priced the same as Cape Town. I found this exorbitant because the food was terribly average. Not bad, just not as good as when you have to cater to a bunch of fussy, fickle Capetonians who would never refer to food as ‘grub’.

Charge 5: The people are rude and irritating.
Defence: Now, now, play nice Ms Stevens. Every city has its fair share of tribes and snobs. I take the mickey out of Cape Town cliques all the time, but they’re no better or worse than anywhere else. There are “Sloane Rangers” in 4x4s in Ballito and Parkhurst too. As for Capetonians being rude, you’ve obviously never been to Paris. We’re really just straight-talking. Suck it up already.

In mitigation of sentence:

  • People live and work in the city centre. We have not relocated all our business and residential areas to outlying suburbs.
  • Muizenberg’s water is pretty warm.
  • The mountain really is spectacular and we’ll keep it, thank you.

Table Mountain

14 thoughts on “In defence of the Mother****ing City

  1. The original article reminded me of Hargen Engler’s [FHM editor] article “10 Reasons why Cape Town can F_ck Off!”. Naturally he ended up living in the Mother City about 6 months later when he worked for You magazine. At least in Hargen’s case the article was written with his tounge pressed firmly into his cheek.

    http://www.hagenshouse.co.za/story4.htm

  2. LOL – brilliant! thanks for that. i read her piece too and was like, huh? foh shizzle? but then i thought, ‘shame. durban. anything to make you feel better.’

  3. Well said, ma’am.

    Her restaurant comment is much like this chick who tells us all how terribly dangerous SA is – and then admits that she’s never been.

    Oh – and @Johan – can you really not CY? 😉

  4. Nice one! 🙂 Cape Town is the most popular city in Africa. Millions of tourists can’t all be wrong.

    I read the article on IOL but the comments section was closed at the time. I had to smile because I thought they deliberately closed it knowing that Ignorant Anne would have received a proper backlash; and so she did.

  5. It really is bizarre they closed the comments section. Surely you’d want traffic and people to spend time on your site?

  6. Don’t know much about Durbanites, although I do like them. They’re friendly and down to earth, not at all smug and self-satisfied. Johannesburgers are generally fast at getting things done. Capetonians are generally slower at getting things done. Those simply are the facts. There are exceptions, although one I do not like is on the roads, where they’re VERY fast and usually up your arse while talking on a cell phone, but never any traffic police to catch these moving violators. And why is it that no-one in CT knows that a faulty traffic light becomes a 4 way stop? You DO NOT all move into the middle of the intersection and block everyone from getting anywhere. Surely that’s common sense? Apparently not. And nothing is ever in stock here. Two very current examples: I tried to buy a Leica camera yesterday from a Leica stockist nogal. Not a fancy model, just a small, digital camera that I wanted that day as a birthday gift for a friend. It had to come from Jhb. Two days they said. Today I wanted a very common spare part for my wife’s 328i BMW. The part has to come from Jhb. Why is this? Its because no-one here ever complains. No-one is really that bothered. More’s nog ‘n dag. Its not a business town; its a tourist town and if its unfriendly, so what, so is Paris and Paris doesn’t suffer (now there’s a really and truly beautiful city that’s confident and not smug.) CT restaurants: plenty of value places. I think Anne Stevens was talking about the “top ten” that regularly vote each other onto the top ten lists. I’ve eaten at just about all of them. They’re mostly over-hyped, the food is over prepared, and they’re all over-priced for South Africa. Apart from some exceptions, the service is NOT good. But what absolutely gets my little goat is the slyness here. A waiter at a Green Point restaurant trying to induce my foreign clients into buying a bottle of SA wine at R1,000 until I told him to eff off in Afrikaans. He thought I was also a foreigner. Their sister establishment in the Waterfront NEVER has in stock the reasonably priced wine on its wine list, but they always have, and highly recommend, a hugely more expensive alternative, and when you have foreign clients, its a bit embarrassing to refuse it. A colleague of mine on the London Times once said “there’s nothing particularly special about any Cape Town restaurant.” I have to agree. The good ones are good but they’re no more special than a good restaurant anywhere else in the world. What does set them apart, is that tourists who could not ordinarily afford such quality in Europe, can afford it here. Unfortunately that is the level of tourist attracted to CT. Its still not a destination for high flying socialites – unless they’re flying from a tax man! – and then they just invent a title and gullible Capetonians are all a-fawning. But anyway, it is a pretty little town, as long as you exclude the Cape Flats, Mitchells Plein, the tin shack airport “suburbs”, Delft, Woodstock, Salt River … by the way, I like also saw “comments closed” on, lake shoo, keep-town websites bru. Lake, just weigh is it bru? Like especially aftter the website owners made their comments, and shoo, like, just closed. Like so untotally.

  7. Wow Dave. That’s the longest comment my blog’s ever had, thanks. But seriously, a very common spare part for a 328i BMW? Come on. A spare part for a VW Citi Golf is ‘very common’, not a Beemer. Having dinner at the Waterfront is like having a cafe au lait on the Champs Elysees. Capetonians very rarely eat there. And when we do it’s because someone is visiting and really wants to see the “Waaa-terrr-front”. Yes our driving is kak, no arguments there.

  8. Clearly only Capetonians read this blog…? Because if you took your heads out of the mountain cloud for just one tiny second you might have noticed that dear old Anne Stevens was not totally ripping the city apart. What she was doing was pulling apart that “Cape Town mystique”, that it is a perfect living and tourist heaven. And heck even the most narrow eyed Capetonian, which seems to be everyone these days, has to accept we got problems. So quick to label any criticism from anywhere in SA as jealousy, like they would be priveged to live in Cape Town. Come on folks its that kind of malaise and arrogance that kills cities and believe me, it can happen.

  9. I love Cape Town.

    I do not love the grid lock which is now at two hours, not one.

    I love Cape Town, I def do not love the cccccold water on the west coast but it is a whole lot of fun on a hot day and once you are in the water its not that bad, Muizenberg of course is just as warm as that east coast current is what makes Durban warm during winter.

    Durban has its attractions, Pinetown is nearby so is the Drakensberg, now Table mountain is unique to Cape Town and the Mother city its true is full of cigarette , smoking ,hard drinking and hard party animals but then so does London, Berlin and any other world class city. I agree that it is not nice that people will smoke at you everywhere unlike a world class city that Durban could be.

    I love Cape Town yet some Cape Town drivers are rubbish, true, but who else would have our Taxi drivers?

    London drivers are just as bad.

    I can tell you some really funny stories of cape Town drivers who have driven Beetles off the highway while doing mascara or a lady driver that called me on a breakdown to help her remove her car after she drove it vertically onto her garage door and it parked nose upwards facing the heavens! Hilarious!

    True we have some poor drivers, yet they are ours and Captonians are the only uptight bunch with the Chutzpah to give a Taxu driver the finger and know he will back off.

    We are all completely nutzes, who wouldn’t be after being stuck in that traffic for two hours just to get to work!!

    yes JoBurg is worse, which is why you love and live in the Cape. I cannot tell you how many people from Durbs and JoBorg have said we Captonians are slow when they spend six hours getting between appointments and live in fortified mausoleums!

    Let it be said that JoBorgs are hectic because they sit for six hours every day in gridlock.

    Cape Town needs to fix things up, we moan and bitsch and complain because we know that’s how we get things done.

    If we had not moaned five years ago about the water we would be in the situation as JoBorgs and Durbs are in with filthy water in the home.

    That does not mean our beaches have not been royally screwed up by the greedy robber barons – Big Bay recently lost its vaunted blue flag status because the prevaricating developers were pumping raw sewage into the bay from the development.

    Oops! They lied. We moaned, it is getting fixed, apparently.

    The fact is that was protected land and the development is far too big and badly built. The groundwater level and the high tide and seasonal river were never taken into account.

    Yes Cape Town has problems but those same picky fickle Capetonians have a habit of moving mountains to keep South Africa free and keep Cape Town clean.

    And yes it takes time , man. eish

    Keep on pointing out that this City needs constant care and be blunt about it and tell your local MPs. After all they do nothing most of the year from what the municipal staff tell me.
    That is until they need your vote.

    So do what you do so well , complain about the things that are wrong, get the Facebook page and give feedback, twitter about it to the rest of the world, because unlike the govt, the rest of the planet is listening.

    At the end of the day we want a great place to stay. We have a vigilant Police force and a vibrant night life = even if its a bit too small because some of my fellow Capies are tight fisted diamond makers!

  10. Nice one
    Why do you think I supported the Lions v the Sharks in this years currie cup final? There are some Durbanites that have a serious hate-on for Cape Town. Inferiority complex? I love my Cape Town and our Table Mountain……….which BTW is on the New 7 Wonders of the world list. Yes, I know it is a commercially based 7, but who gives a toss. Our flat topped lady is on it. HA!

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