10 Reasons Why Cape Town can Fuck Off!

Screen Shot 2013-01-30 at 3.18.57 PM
The following is the original “10 Reasons Cape Town can Fuck Off” piece. I wrote it under my pseudonym Haai van der Schyff in 1998 for Skyf!! magazine, a Port Elizabeth scene ‘zine I published for a while.
The piece was meant to satirise the whole trend of leaving your home town for the big(ger) city because, well, it’s a bigger city, so it must be better.
It was later carried in SA Citylife magazine, then ended up on the global email circuit, where it has been steadily orbiting the planet ever since. It also spawned television interviews, radio appearances and other magazine articles. It was generally taken out of context – and stripped of irony – as a full-on attack on the city of Cape Town.

For better or worse, it remains my most well-known contribution to English literature.

10 Reasons why Cape Town can Fuck Off!

By Haai van der Skyf
  1. It Exists.
    If it wasn’t for Cape Town, PE would look a whole lot better. Tourists would love us if they hadn’t first had a dose of first-world sophistication before embarking on the garden route.
    And anyway, if it’s first-world sophistication they’re looking for, why don’t they just stay in Europe or Japan or wherever it is tourists come from?
    Cape Town better wake up. This is Africa, not blimming Salzburg or something. Cape Town fuck off.
  2. Capetonians are too hip.
    They’re a bunch of namby-pamby poncey glamour queens who think they live in a magazine.
    Prancing around in all their hip designer wear and looking all cool and unflustered like they’re in a fashion spread when they could be wearing perfectly good five-year-old jeans and T-shirts. What do they think this is? Marie bloody Claire or something? Magazines are for wankers. Cape Town fuckoff!
  3. They’ve got a mountain.
    What is it with their precious mountain? If that was in PE we would have built condos all over its ass, and a freeway across the top of it. For good measure we would put a Playland on Devil’s Peak and a fuel depot on Lion’s Head. And ore dumps on Chapman’s Peak. Exploit the bastard.
    Instead the bunch of sanctimonious pricks treat it like it’s some kind of national treasure, some gift from the almighty.
    Every time some poor fool tries to build a little timeshare block on the mountain there’s a hundred fuckin’ protesters chaining themselves to the trees screaming “save the mountain, hey”.
    It’s not as if they built the damn mountain themselves or anything.
    So horse bollocks to them. Cape Town fuck off!
  4. Their roads are too damn narrow.
    Ninety-five per cent of the roads in Cape Town are too narrow for two cars to pass each other.
    How do you figure a town of four million can have a road system built to sustain a seaside village of sixteen-odd and then try to host the Olympic Games.
    A case of the little boy whose eyes were bigger than his stomach, or what?
    Maybe try host a traffic-jam-free December holiday and move on from there. Baby steps, guys. Baby steps.
  5. Their sea is not usable.
    Eleven degrees? That’s a geometry angle, not a fuckin’ ocean temperature.
    What’s the point of beaches if the sea’s too cold to go swimming in?
    More proof that the only reason people go on holiday to Cape Town is to get into traffic jams on the way to the beach and then to pose around with their cellphones on the sand, not to go for a ghoef. Cape Town fuck off!
  6. They’ve got a Waterfront.
    The best thing Jo’burg ever did was build the Randburg waterfront. A crap hodgepodge of pubs, stores and restaurants to be sure, but one which well and truly called the V&A’s bluff, proving that Cape Town’s waterfront is nothing more than a shopping mall with some water near it.
    It’s just another consumer temple geared to getting you to buy garments with price tags at the child buggery level of obscenity and to be served Labels by waiters more condescending than the whole of America and the ex-smoking community put together. Cape Town fuck off!
  7. Everyone’s off their tits from drugs.
    IT’s common knowledge that the only people in Cape Town who aren’t alcoholics, smackies, E-freaks, charlie-junkies, goofballs, acid-heads or nexus-fiends are Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Tunisian high commissioner.
    For this reason, everyone you speak to in Cape Town is mad, either because they’re high, or because they spent the whole of the 90s eating pills and now they’ve had to stop because they weigh 12kg and they can’t even remember what high school they went to any more.
    Compare that to PE, that haven of temperance, propriety and good clean fun, and you begin to see all to clearly why Cape Town can fuck right off.
  8. All the best international bands and DJs go and play in Cape Town and none of them come to PE
    So if you wanna check U2 or Skunk Anansie or Tsuyoshi Suzuki you’ve gotta mission to Cape Town and deal with the skinny roads and the toxic psychotics and poncey fashion-mag E-freaks and a mountain that makes it rain all the time.
    Pricks. Fuck them.
  9. It’s turning into another Hollywood.
    Every person you speak to from Cape Town is working on a movie set.
    Either they’re doing the catering or making props or being unit manager or merting zol to the film crew or being an extra in a French cellphone ad.
    And getting paid 20 gorillas a month tax-free in Francs.
    Why don’t they just get it over with? Build a Spago at the Waterfront and a Betty Ford clinic in Rondebosch, and put up a 20-metre sign on the slopes of the mountain that says “Zollywood”.
    And while they’re at it they can just fuck off.
  10. It’s the new Riviera
    Skaapies is so dirt-cheap for Euros and Americans that they’ve all bought property there.
    But it’s so incredibly dirt cheap that you don’t even have to be an A-league jet-setter to afford a farm-size house in Bishop’s Court.
    Consequently, all the prices skyrocket because of all the rich bastards around, and you can’t even do any star-spotting because the rich bastards are only Belgian record executives or the earl of Derbyshire — crew that you’ve never heard of.
    Waste of time, really, Cape Town. Glad I don’t live there.

Writer, editor, ghostwriter, writing coach. I've been involved in 30+ book projects - for myself and for clients, partners and colleagues. Experience in marketing, PR, advertising, television, print and digital, corporate and editorial. Former editor of FHM magazine. Currently Director, Editorial and Content at Ogilvy PR, Johannesburg. Musical performance, spoken word as Inspector Ras. Guitar/vocals for The Near Misses, (Worst Band In JoburgTM). @hagenengler

(34) Comments

  1. Excellent…….but you forgot to mention the crap weather…..those gloomy grey winter skies with rain all day and the howling,gale force south easter wind on most summer days…actually spring and autumn is not too bad,except for the captonions xx

  2. haha.Cape town what a beautiful place.Only other places i've been to in SA is JHB and Durban.What horrible dirty and disgusting places.Their CBD if you can call it that still looks like it belongs in the 50's.If it wasnt for the banks in JHB CBD then that palce would of been demolished ages ago.to the best world cup city-cape town

  3. It exists? Cape Town can fuck off because it has a mountain? DAFUQ are you on about!? I lived in PE for six years and you’re just bitter cause it’s boring as fuck and CT is fun.

  4. What a pile of crap! … If Cape Town is such a bad place, please do us all a favour and STAY in you dirty, boring, run down crap holes you guys call home! That would certainly spare us the arrogance and congested roads in December. Oh yes, FYI – this is rich coming from PE. Its not our fault its such a horrible place. Even East London makes you guys look bad …

  5. @Richard – Ever heard of tongue-in-cheek? This line should have given you a clue:

    “Tourists would love us if they hadn’t first had a dose of first-world sophistication…”

    Don’t take life so seriously, hey.

  6. Goddam I love reading shit like this – makes me even more proud to live in Cape Town. This is very clearly a tale of \”your city is fuckloads cooler than mine so Im going to be a spoilt little brat and try my hardest to make P-fucking-E seem greater than Cape Town. What a joke. PE is the most boring fucking ghost town I have ever had the displeasure of visiting. The only thing that has a vibe there is the fucking casino at 3am because its full of fucked up addicts sitting there in their shit and piss-filled nappies drinking their sorrows away (clearly because they live in the worst city on the planet – I sympathise with them for that) – and funny enough it has the only scratch of a vibe in the entire city. I\’ll keep my mountain thank you. Oh and guess what – I am a Unit Manager. A kiff one, hey.

  7. Well done Karl. You seem to have read the tone of the piece correctly. It’s satirising the insecurity of small-town PE people about losing their punters to the glitz and glamour of glorious Cape Town. Bay locals have to rationalise their staying somehow and they do it in ways like this. I’ve not made it to the PE casino at 3am, but I’m sure it’s exactly as you describe. 😉

  8. I first read this when it first came out and I still lived in Cape Town (where I grew up). I found it hilarious then and even more so now that I live in the Eastern Cape (Gatstad, not PE ;). Every few years I remember this article and look it up, and laugh out loud again and share it with some friends who haven’t seen it yet. Most recently I made some Joburg friends’ day with it ;).

    A classic. Capetonians who don’t find it funny can just… you know what!

  9. Great meeting up on the plane today. It proves that when airlines screw things up, there is opportunity to meet new and interesting people(going to PE).

  10. This was “uber” funny (remember when uber meant very and not a taxi service) when I read it all those years ago and remains a writing I set amongst my “classic” literature (remember when classic meant William Shakespeare not cool/funny/whatever)

  11. I remember reading an interview with Hagen some years ago, and he said stories like “10 reasons CT can fuck off” will never earn you money. So he has to write about male sex issues in girly mags. Glad this one went further than the ones on masturbating in public loos.

  12. I see dumb people! Go to the dictionary and get the definition of the word \”SATIRE\”. Gee don\’t take life so seriously. This is brilliant! Thanks for making my day! After living everywhere in this country I am proud to say that I live in PE now, and is happier here than anywhere else! PS, we have the \”Lady\’s slipper\”.

  13. Brilliant, as a Capie I see a lot in this article to laugh at and that is the most important thing, laugh long and hard but most importantly at yourself. Thanks for this piece of humour, now piss off back up the Garden Route back up to Uitenhage!

  14. Born in PE, bred in Cape Town…First time I read this I laughed so hard my tummy hurt. Zollywood…EXCELLENT! All we need to do to affirm this is to have lush plantations on our beautiful mountain so that if it does go up in smoke there’ll be trillions of volunteers and we\’ll all be happier…as if we couldn’t be more cool 🙂

  15. Great piece of writing. Classic and good for us to laugh at ourselves. Your extended list could include the fact that there is a warmer ocean if you’re happy to dodge sharks every few hours and socially we’re about as friendly and un-clique as a Bosnian military platoon. Love your work!

  16. Nice piece. Just for the sake of the English language, this:
    Every time some poor fool tries to built <— should be build.

  17. From the missive on CPT/PE, is is quite clear that you really need to visit that city of cities, my glorious, and uniquely wonderful Bloemies. What is it with Slaapstad\’s mountain standing askew from the City Bowl as though it has been to a sorryfull confession. Bloemies has a proud flat topped mountain slam bang right in its centre, standing proud, all of ten metres high and you can drive on top of it watching aardvaarks making love. For good measure it is called Nawelhiel, with Modderdam somewhere on the horizon and Clifton some 1 500 km further afield. Not that it will trouble the good people of Bloemies, because they sport the best loosing rugby team in the country and don\’t call beautiful young maidens and women over 30 Ms, but Meisie or Niggie and Tannie as it should be, because that is the way God ordained it to be. And if those smug Capetownians could only come to their miserable mistaken senses, they will realise that they will never be able to also paint a moerske big white horse on the side of Devil\’s Peak. Van Donk will never-ever allow it.

    • Absolute genius. It is not widely known in the city-bashing community that I was actually born in Bloemfontein. I lived there until I was one, so I have no memory of it. But I’m pleased to know that the development and natural attractions are as impressive as the real jewel in the South African crown, North End, Port Elizabeth.

  18. I FOUND IT! I remember this piece from the good old email funny days. It slayed me then and slays me now (Capetonian to my roots, family in PE). Only #10 is sadly no longer true – it stopped being cheap quite some time ago… (I live in Switzerland now, you’d think with all those francs I could live the high life back home, but uh no.)

  19. Wow if you think Cape Town is amazing then really feel sorry for people living in PE. Cape Town is home for me now but after 2 years it still feels like I’m trapped in a bad version of Back To The Future.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Please type the characters of this captcha image in the input box

Please type the characters of this captcha image in the input box

Please type the characters of this captcha image in the input box

Please type the characters of this captcha image in the input box