When the memories come out to play…

“There aren’t many Pirates fans in PE,” says Xolisa, gesturing to the expanse of
Zanzibar, which, on match days is packed with punters.

Just then a guy walks into the bar wearing a Pirates shirt. It’s Baby’s old mate
Trevor. He’s known. He’s a successful guy.

Just as we’re saying howzit, Fred’s like, “Bob Kernohan’s next door at Café

We pop outside and there’s Bob, having a tramezzini. He’s the guy who taught
me the ropes. Taught me sub-editing, which to this day is about the only useful skill I

Nelson Mandela Bay tourism are taking us on a tour of the Bay, even though
we’re from there. We’re tourists in our own city.

And that’s the old Farmers Home hotel. Where Hally had to go fetch his drunk
father in Athol Fugard’s Master Harold & The Boys. Tourism should start an Athol
Fugard tour, they really should.

They could go visit the Donkin, Bob says, there where Hally and Sam went
and flew the kite, that time in the play.

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That’s where we’re headed next, The Donkin. It’s just down the road, we can
walk it. And as we’re doing so, just there, outside the old Wu’s café, a bakkie hoots at
us and stops.

It’s Steve! Shabba Schultz! From the old days. He’s on a work mission, but he
stops and we have a lekker catch-up, there in the middle of Parliament Street.
Steve’s in flooring, but he’s still jamming, still rocking the bass like back in the
day. He’s busy with an awesome contract out at Kromme. So lekker to check him
again… “Have I still got your number?”

The rain is coming back, and in the meantime, the peeps are waiting for us
there at the Donkin. There where they’ve put up that awesome artwork with the
pipes. It looks like a pipe organ that melted in the sun.

There opposite Donkin Terrace, where there was a Vodacom agency once.
There where me and Jerome bumped each other the one time. Near the old Grey
Institute where Robbie used to work.

Next to the Edward Hotel, where I made my modelling debut in the old
Images 2000 competition. Across the road from the old Up The Khyber where we
played pool with Rodriquez after his show at UPE.

At the same intersection with the Grand Gardens hotel, where Napalm Death
played that time, where I went and played pool with my old man and we checked
Sandon and Jules.

Up the road from the Opera House where I got hypnotized by Max Collie. He
made me passionately kiss the lady next to me. And I was only 15. She was in her
twenties. It was a good time to get hypnotized.

And it’s a good time to be a tourist in your own town. When you’re from a
town as full of memories as this, coming home is magical.

Even on a rainy day. The weather is atrocious, but somehow it brings the
memories out.

Writer for television, print and digital, corporate and editorial. Editor and writer of books. Musical performance, spoken word as Inspector Ras. Guitar/vocals for The Near Misses, (Worst Band In JoburgTM). The last whitey at umsebenzi. Latest book 415 Action-Packed Neighbourhood Marketing Tips with Basil O'Hagan, out now. @hagenengler

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