Durban Definition

Durban: A place along the Indian Ocean with hot sand and blue skies. People here are brown, white and black and they carry the sticky edge of the city in their skin. People in Durban eat pineapples dipped in chilli powder and say ‘ek se’ and ‘vaaing’ and ‘pozi’. In Durban everything is five minutes away even if it is thirty. It is a city perched on a greatness that it never seems to achieve; it takes one step forward and then takes a break under the shade of a banana tree. It has never been able to keep up with its cooler siblings, Johannesburg and Cape Town. But then again, it never feels the need to. Its warm ocean lulls its inhabitants to sleep and when they wake up, sticky and sun-dazed they take long walks along the sea to Blue Lagoon where they buy oily samoosas and watch fishermen cast lines into the water at the pier. In summer the city is known for large cockroaches that scuttle on the rocks and buzz through the air like small shiny helicopters. In winter when the weather drops to 18 degrees Celsius people pull out their blankets, take out their hot water bottles and say to themselves, ‘ek se, it’s so cold, I’m vaaing pozi’. Durban is a place where the people who get left behind live. They’ve forgotten their big city dreams and resign themselves to slow living with family dinners and walks on the beach on early Sunday mornings. And as these forgotten people walk along the sand and watch the sun emerge from the sea in red splendour they smile to themselves, knowing that the best place in the world is one that doesn’t make any promises but delivers somehow anyway.

(Durban, by Shubnum Khan from Cappelens Forslag, a Norwegian conversational dictionary out in November 2016)

Posted in Cappelensforslag, dictionary, Durban, Shubnum Khan, South Africa.

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