Dreams realised and others deferred (4) The Realist

2010-07-14 10:20

The Realist

Against the backdrop of much hype and planning around the World

Cup, ­40-year-old tavern owner Thembelihle Mogatla refuses to jump on the

bandwagon.

Its walls lined with the flags of different countries, Pat’s Tavern

is one of the smaller local taverns in Alexandra township which have resisted

the influence of the World Cup.

“I am not doing this for the tourists. Tourists are just going to

be the cherry on top,” says Mogatla, who is keen on maintaining the local

character of her shop.

She emphasises her commitment to local customers.

“These guys have been here since nine in the morning, so how can I

not be loyal to them,” she says pointing to a few people chit-chatting under a

TV suspended in the corner.

It is almost two in the ­afternoon. Save for

stocking a few crates of Guinness beer and closing at later hours, she does not

plan to change anything about her business “just for the tourists” during the

World Cup.

Mogatla converted her old house in Alex into a bed-and-breakfast

establishment a year ago and says no one has booked.

“I don’t expect much from 2010. Tourists here, they are going to be

staying in Sandton, in the suburbs,” she says, handing a beer to a regular

customer.

“My business is doing well with or without the World Cup.”

The diski don

Wendy Ramokgadi (43) morphs into a teenager whenever he hears

the beats of diski dance music.

In person he is a loquacious man – his voice rises with excitement

when he starts talking about the way the dance has swept across not ­only South

­Africa, but the world.

He has taught the diski dance to so many people that he cannot even

try to estimate the numbers. And his proteges range from women in the rural

villages of Limpopo to ­students in Hong Kong, China.

“It has been hectic, and now it is venturing into chaotic,”

Ramokgadi says of the past months, which he spent travelling locally and

overseas.

Speaking to City Press, he ­jokingly remarks that his name should

be listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for the number of people he has

taught the diski dance.

At a high school in Edenvale, south of Johannesburg, he

is ­currently teaching the dance to a group of about 50 youngsters.

He then

proceeds with a series of complicated steps and ends with the declaration:

“That’s all you have to do.”

At the end of the hour he will have everybody in the room ­doing

the Table Mountain – the name he has coined for one of the moves.

And typical of

a true ­artist, he signs off: “Give me a stage and I’ll be a happy

man.”




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