It’s a busy time for Dave Smith, the Guardian’s Africa correspondent, as the Barmy Army of UK soccer supporters packs for SA. Dave advises to bring along your own DIY Ikea collapsible bed and sofa as “furniture sold in South Africa is either expensive or tat. I’ve shopped in the malls that service the middle class and found furniture wildly more costly than in Britain or America: a basic bed or sofa can cost several hundred pounds. I’ve also tried discount stores in working-class areas of Johannesburg such as Alexandra or Newtown where cheap and flimsy tables, chairs and beds appear one sneeze away from collapse.” The first requirement for spectating being a decent sofa.
The second, a supply of nibbles and Dave lists some safe (and expensive) dining options in Jozi: Wombles for Rhodesians, the Grill House in Rosebank and Auberge Michel, if Paul Mashatile is paying. Bice, Signature and Narina Trogon also get the nod, with the reservation that “none of these is especially South African, or African. In Newtown there is Gramadoelas, which bills itself as ‘exotic African’ with a menu including pumpkin pritters.” Now all that remains is to figure out what a pumpkin pritter is.
What a pity Dave doesn’t act like his proletarian name and recommend the Radium Beer Hall in Orange Grove or the Troyeville Hotel, for that matter. Joa and I had a couple of peri-peri chickens there yesterday and owner Lawrence Jones confided he’d found a magnum behind the bath. Visions of bathing in Dom Perignon with one of the restaurant’s dusky beauties quickly evaporated when he said he’d called the cops and handed the gun over to the authorities.