From “Dirtbin” to “the 031”
The Start Of Something More
I remember it so clearly, like when you land in an alien environment and are suddenly aware that everything is different and you have no idea what action to take. You know, as you do. The feeling of guilt you feel when you come back from an undeserved holiday only to hear a loved one passed away in your absence. That is how I felt about Durban.
After returning from a 7-year stint in Cape Town that saw me lose a career and a marriage, an apathetic Durban (run by the aged, with a youth that didn’t seem to have the balls or the energy to claim their own city) was not what I was needed from my new home.
It was so different. Actually, it was so.. the same. That was the problem. The same scene, the same attitude, the same everything, as when I had left. I found myself almost giving in to the cynical talk of cool-kid hipsters that the city I loved so dearly, with it’s area code tattooed on my arm, had died and everyone was booking their flights to Cape Town and Jozi.
Are you kidding me? I just came back from those places! I’ve come home to clean myself of their taint, while everyone else is clamoring to bathe in it? Then I thought: How can we make Durban like Cape Town. After a moment of self-loathing and disgust, I re-thought my thought: Screw Cape Town! How can we sing the praises of an already unique city. How can we hear what song Durban is really singing to us under the pink noise of political sagas, name changes, and the clumsy hooves of stubborn and irrational comparisons to our fair, coastal sibling.
Fortunately for me, as if orchestrated on behalf of the city by a caring God, there were a handful of other human-being-people that felt exactly the same and just like me.. were going to do their bit to the revival: the Streets Scenes, the Unit 11s, the Judd Campbells, the Ewoks, the Bob Perfects, the Dusty Richs, the I Art Inks, the Night Markets and of course those who produced the soundtrack of this city.
From Dirtbin to 031
Enough with the Cape Town already.
Durban is Durban.
Durban is not Cape Town.
Durban is not Jozi.
Durban is not Margate.
Durban is not Dead.
Durban is Durban.
Who’s going to let the people know?
So started zero31.co.za.
It’s been a long time since I’ve heard the conversational reference to “Dirtbin”, these days it’s all about “the 031”- so I must have done something right.