A run in with Aryans and a trek to the Trekkers:-
Diary of The Travelling Seanchai
A run in with Aryans and a trek to the Trekkers
2007-08-11 to 2007-08-13
Johannesburg has a bad reputation on many fronts and it is generally accepted that a trip to Pretoria is a better option if you are killing time before you fly out of Joburg. Like I said I had met Elliot, James and Paul and we went to the 1322 backpackers, much to the surprise of Tim, the manager, who only had 3 beds left! Still, Tim was to turn out to be one of the truly great backpacker managers I have come across and he made up a makeshift bed for me for the night!
What made this more remarkable is that he has the appearance of a Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels hardman and is a die hard Manchester Utd fan! With the Liverpool game about to come on, he did say to me that I might be in luck because if one of the three lads were Liverpool fans he was going to kick them out and I could have their place! Hmmm, best not wear my Liverpool top this evening then methinks!
After we went out to Hatfield Square, a collection of bars all pouring out on to one square. The predominant language was Afrikaans and even the music was Afrikaans with some disturbing throw backs to some early 90`s music that we suspected may have only just reached the charts around here! “Saturday night” and “Macarena” were two of the more memorable!
We were told that the Drop Zone was the place to go but getting frisked as we went in caused me to take a double take on the clientele. Proportional representation of the population clearly wasn`t in effect in here as there was a predominantly white attendance. There was a large group of huge men hovering around the bar, suspiciously all wearing black jeans and T-shirts and a fairly even split of skin heads and spikey blondes. Needless to say, I didn`t need a spider sense to tell me to steer clear of these guys. (I was told later that these were The Boer Boys)
A while later, an Indian man tried to push through them to get to the bar but he was firmly rebuked but, with his spider senses on holidays, he persisted. He made gestures to the group of pointing to his eye and then to his dark skin, inferring that they hated his colour. I told James that it was about to all kick off in the next 5 minutes. I was out by 3 minutes, it only took 2…
A huge melee ensued around this fella and all and sundry were getting dragged in voluntarily and otherwise. One of those that did get involved was this girl that had been associated with the Aryans and there is simply nothing more pointless than a girl getting involved in a fight with men.
This was firmly emphasised when she got smacked back on to her bum several feet away from the crush but then, in a display of enormous stupidity, jumped back in only to be seriously bashed again and ended up flat on her back… What did she think was going to happen?! The very definition of madness is performing the exact same actions and expecting a different result!
Either way, the bouncers eventually came, removed the Indian guy and then selected ONE of the group (the sacrifical lamb) and kicked him out too. The rest of the group then high fived each other for seriously over an hour, basking in their `epic` victory. Morons.
Before we left the club, we were treated to another display of testosterone when two groups of whites had a right go at each other (they probably couldn`t find any more coloured people to take their brandy infused anger out on).
Next day, I set off to see the Voortrekker Monument. This celebrates the great Trek that the Afrikaaner people set off on to avoid oppression at the hands of the English in Cape Town in an attempt to set up their own country. I decided to walk there, an enjoyment which has been denied to me on so many occasions due to security concerns in most cities. I set off and with my basic tourist office map I was fairly sure that I could make the short jump between two roads and cut out a long walk. WRONG!
I walked for nearly three hours in the blistering sun as a result, a lot of it along main freeways with no footpaths, praying that no cars would have a blow out! Not for the first time I wondered why I insisted on making things difficult for myself. I did not fail to see the irony though of my difficult trek to get to a monument which heralded the exact same thing (although I am not holding my breath for a monument of my own anytime soon!)
I have to say I was going in with negative thoughts about these people, seeing as how I had seen first hand how their descendents had behaved the night before, but I have to say they were seriously impressive and decent folks. They had been oppressed and had set out on an idealogical trek with no particular end in sight, but with a belief that they would be delivered to a better place.
The memorial itself was very impressive, set up in a way similar to Stonehenge where at midday, on the 16th of December (the anniversary of their famous victory at Blood River against the Zulus), a light shines through the roof and lights up the words on the crypt below which says, “We for you, South Africa” in Afrikaans. They couldn`t be held responsible if a few generations later, their descendants couldn`t handle their liquor I suppose…
I have to say that the Irish in me came to the fore as I mourned that we couldn`t have a building like this at home, sure it`d be leaking all the time!
Monday morning I set off for Joburg and what was to be the final stop on my South African tour…