You Have Failed This Suburban Area!


Approaching from the North Coast, Umzinto is not that difficult to reach. Just hop in your car and drive towards Port Shepstone, and when you are tired, you’ll be in Umzinto. Being almost exactly between Durban and Port Shepstone, it was established by people too lazy to travel between the two places. You’ll know when you’re there. It’s hard to miss the broken-down sugar cane trucks on the roadside, and some guy will try to sell you glue to feed his addiction to ARVs. It’s relatively safe. Though, you could fall into a pothole. Local Government has a mildly effective solution to potholes; they put signs, next to the part of the road that has the potholes, that say “Potholes”. You’re welcome. Potholes in Umzinto are so big that if you fall in, there’s a guy in uniform at the bottom asking to see your passport.

The local high school is on your left. Umzinto Secondary is where all the cool kids go to bring shame to their families. The ultra-hip guys crush marijuana just outside the gate. They wear their school ties while doing it. Call them drug addicts, but they still have pride in their school. The school girls monitor the road alongside, intent on finding a suitable, out-of-school mate to disrespect them. They wave you down to say, “Hey! Take advantage of me! I’m practically eighteen!”. You will probably see them start salivating when they see some unemployed guy with loud music, cigarettes and facial jewelry drive past.

Religiously, Umzinto is ahead of the game. In a 50 km radius there are 23 churches with 2.5 qualified pastors. 94% of the population are Christian and 93% celebrate Diwali with a smidgen of guilt. 99% of all residents unanimously agree that terrorism is “totally lame” because they like cheese burgers and casual intercourse. Pay attention to your driving. During the CBD upgrade, the engineer’s plans got mixed up and now the road signs and markings actually direct you towards an accident.

This guy was charged for looking fat in a Bafana shirt
This guy was charged for looking fat in a Bafana shirt

If you’re hungry, you could get some expired cereal from the shops. They sell the cereal and the prize you’re supposed to get inside the box, separately. What economic genius. Beware of falling into open manholes. It’s not as fun as it sounds. In that event you could sue the municipality and win, if your cousin works for them. Never question the freshness of the local produce. Fruit and vegetables are delivered to vendors bright and early by the local alcoholic. Don’t come during summer though. There’ll be the annual flood we weren’t expecting. Which is, as you’d expect, judgement on the town for it’s overpriced mutton. Hey, but if Rhino gets flooded you can get a two-litre of Coke for ten rand from the police officer in charge of the investigation. Crime will only affect you if you let it. There’s even a Wall of Fame outside the holding cells for guys who break out within the impressive 20 minute mark. We have a very sophisticated, ground-breaking approach to tackling crime. In Umzinto, Law Enforcement leaves the crime fighting to you. Few things can match the bitter-sweet irony of getting mugged in front of the police station.

We were totally unprepared for the flood which also happened last year and the year before and..
We were totally unprepared for the flood which also happened last year and the year before and..
Flooded = Bargains
Flooded = Bargains

The hallmark and testament to Umzinto’s modernization is the KFC right in the centre of the CBD. With it’s questionable blend of eleven secret herbs and spices, it has enslaved the population to enjoy nothing better than vomiting in their parking lot. Carry extra ten cent coins when you go there though. The Glue Boys (named so because they sniff glue), who inhabit the street outside, will not hesitate to mock your upbringing should you not give them as many ten cent coins as you have. It’s not uncommon, when you’re strolling through town, to see teenagers haggling liquor store owners or to overhear something like, “That tree will die if I keep pissing on it”. Sons of local teachers and store owners congregate in open, makeshift parking areas with their Golfs to smoke a cigarette, exchange loose girl’s phone numbers and talk about valves. Speaking of Golfs, that’s an Indian girl’s Kryptonite. Tell an Indian girl you have a Golf and she will hand you her bag to hold so she can start undressing.

Get a brown girl today!
Get a brown girl today!

St Anne’s is the primary school on the hilltop. It occupies an enviably dramatic location next to the Catholic Church and Cemetery. It’s convenient in that you can pray for forgiveness in the church whose convent garden you stole mangoes from. There’s also nothing quite so motivating than looking at a statue of a crucified Jesus, first thing in the morning on your way to school. It’s all very entertaining. I hear rumors that even the nuns occupy themselves by engaging in the local favorite game of  Guess Who’s Daughter’s Pregnant Now?

Inspiration on the way to school every morning
Inspiration on the way to school every morning

Make certain to visit Riverside Park. It has a library next to the river. It’s very picturesque to see all the overdue books floating on the surface of the water. Most of the people living there are employed in the full-time job of standing by the power box. Don’t be surprised to find the tenants dressed better than you. Food, rent, electricity and other unimportant things aren’t so much of a priority in RSP. You must understand, you have to look good enough to sit on a manhole and change your BlackBerry Display Picture all day. If you’re bored, you can join the local guys in some light cable theft. Children are left to play freely in the moderately safe environment. They are not expected to be back indoors until they get ringworms. If ringworms were good enough for their parents, it’s good enough for them. Family and Tradition, there’s a strong sense of that in Umzinto. There’s nothing quite like seeing a daughter-in-law, with her third child on her hip, fighting with her mother-in-law on the third floor window, at 10 am on a Tuesday morning. “Go sell yourself your black thing!,” she says.

Some guys spoil all the fun
Some guys spoil all the fun
We only trust white people to search for drugs
We only trust white people to search for drugs

All in all, Umzinto is a great exhibition of the spirit of middle class alcoholics. Which is why it was rated the number one immigration destination by Nigerian, Pakistani and Chinese drug/human traffickers. Jealous much, Park Rynie?

Find out more, Punk:

Church Robbers

Sugar Cane Killer

Drugs and More Drugs



Lola’s blog post about an incident at Umzinto Secondary

At The End Of The Rainbow

I struggled to sleep last night.  Kept up by the usual thing, when you worry you will forget how to breathe. The dreams don’t help either. Dreams bring repressed imaginings to the surface. It‘s a rigid system of symbolism. If you dream about spanners, you are sexually attracted to spanners. If you dream about sex, you may be sexually attracted to spanners. So I’m not sure if the following actually took place.

I woke up. It was morning. The first thing I do in the morning is regret. I had forgotten to cover myself last night and so I got frostbite around my knees.

Next, I checked the bedroom to see if there was anything there that shouldn’t be. People called me delusional when I spoke about the possibility of there being generous robbers: burglars that don’t steal but actually break in to leave stuff, just to mess with you. Many times I found things in the room that wouldn’t normally be there, like mussel shells and a garden shovel handle.

Now it was too early to be surprised or anything (my body doesn’t react physically to stuff until about ten) but I saw him. He sat in a stained, faded green suit, slumped in the corner. The little man, about half as tall as me, looked in my direction. He had whiskey eyes and a scraggly unshaven face. A few missing teeth from what I could tell. Like the product of womb abuse and exposure to heroine as a fetus  Not at all like the other hobos who usually broke in to sleep on the bedroom floor.

Me: Am I dead? Who are you?

He sneered as he pulled out a cigarette and stuck it between his dry, chapped lips.

Him: Got a light?

I handed him one of the six lighters on my bedside table. I’m a lighter thief by the way but that’s another story. He took a long drag. I repeated, “Who are you? What are you doing here?”

Him: “I’m the god damned Tooth Fairy. What do you think?!”

He grumbled a few swear words and scratched himself in a way that wasn’t publicly acceptable. There was enough disdain emanating from his wanton countenance to fill three large dog baths.

Him: “I’m a Leprechaun. Haven’t you seen one before? You would’ve, if you weren’t such a lazy !@#$%^&*.”

Me:  “I don’t think you get Leprechauns in Umzinto. A Leprechaun? You don’t sound Irish? And you may want to move, a spider lives in that corner. He’s a hard one to kill. He’s the Rambo of spiders.”

Him: “Ugh…Do you have any Bourbon?”

Me: “No”

Him: “Scotch?”

Me: “Nope.”

Him: “Brake fluid?”

Me: “Nah. “

Him: “Ugh…how do you live?! Listen, Kid, not all Leprechauns are from Ireland right? I just need a place to hide out for a while. Now shut yeh trap and put on some clothes. I’m seeing parts of you only your wife should see.”

Me: “Hide from what?”

He reluctantly proceeded to tell me his current situation in vivid, vulgar detail. Joe, as he was called, had racked up a ton of gambling debts. There was no pot of gold either. I assumed the Euro zone recession was to blame for that. And the whole reason Leprechauns are believed to be Irish anyways is that they are the only people with the unique combination of being drunk enough to claim to have seen them, and being tolerable enough of other people who have actually seen them. I reasoned this in my head. If Jimmy says he saw a Leprechaun, many other people would say he’s an idiot. They would throw him into prison with a cabbage and an old blanket for company. Whereas Irish people would say, “Ah that’s just Jimmy. So what if he walks around with a paper bag over his head? What’ya  gonna do?”

Joe’s most recent misdemeanor was sexual harassment of a fellow Leprechaun (you get girl Leprechauns apparently), which was not unexpected.

Him: “Hey Kid, I can’t be held responsible for myself when I’m drinking.”

He had won the case in court by bribing the judge with money he borrowed from a cut-throat mob family – so vicious in fact that their idea of entertainment is watching toddlers fight to the death over potato chips.

Him:  “The Feds think I’m in on it Kid – with the O’Leary’s and everything and on top of that I got half-a-dozen Casino sharks up my !@#$%^&*. I bet you think you’ve got problems with that over sized Adam’s apple over there. I thought which better place to hide out than this dump? – no offense. But all the major scumbags hide out in Umzinto.”

Me: “Fair enough.”

He lit another cigarette.

Him:  “You don’t know what it’s like having punks after you that either want you dead, imprisoned or both if they could get it. Life’s cruel Kid. The best you could hope for is some good chocolate ginger biscuits if you play your cards right. A day’s just long enough to get regret and then you have to go the bed.”

Me: “But you’re a Leprechaun, don’t you know some magic or some good stew recipes you could use to maybe make things better?”

Him: “Oh yeah – about that. I’m not.”

Me: “Not what?”

Him: “A Leprechaun. You actually believed that !@#$%^&*? There ain’t no such thing as Leprechauns. 

Me: “Wait. What?”

Him: “Yeah – this is all a dream. Look at my face. Recognize it?”

I took a good look at his face.

Me: “Neighbor’s white dwarf gardener?!”

He stood up, nodded and flipped me off.

Him: “Now wake up before you choke on yeh own spit.”

I jerked awake in my bed.  The only thing looking back at me from the corner where the Leprechaun should have been was the spider no one could kill.