Cruising at the car wash

2012-12-19 11:01

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Need a break from politics? Looking for the biggest jol? Point your car towards Mahungra and party with the people. Cathy Dlodlo reports

As the lyrics of Rose Royce’s 1976 hit tell us, you might not get rich at a car wash, but you’re sure to meet some interesting people.

That’s definitely the case at Mahungra, Bloemfontein’s famous car wash that is also one of the city’s hottest party spots.

A court interdict scuppered owner Power Tshabalala’s plans to host a different party every night during the Mangaung conference, but the legal eagles didn’t say anything about people not being allowed to hang out at Mahungra.

And hang out they do, zooming along Zastron Street and past the subway.

You know you’re close when the traffic jam renders your engine idle, distant bass starts making your car vibrate and the mouthwatering smell of braai meat hits your nostrils.

By the time you reach Mahungra and find a parking spot, you’re hungry and ready to move your body to the bass beats.

But first there’s another traffic jam to navigate – thousands of beautiful people are at the venue in their best clothes, cooler boxes absolutely groaning with bottles and cans, all they need for a big night out.

Some cooler boxes are so full it looks like their owners are preparing for a week-long jol.

Tshabalala is coy when asked how the monster party happening in his venue’s front, back and side yards is in keeping with last weekend’s urgent court interdict.

“It’s my good service,” he says.

On a warm Monday night, as the public holiday winds down and lightning flickers overhead, the place is absolutely packed.

Partygoers sit or stand in groups, holding glasses of their favourite poisons.

Car boots become makeshift bars and camping chairs abound for those who don’t feel like standing while they groove.

Age is nothing but a number here in the party trenches: many of the Mahungra faithful are in their late 20s, but one woman says she’s of an “undisclosed age”.

Money also isn’t an issue – the expensive cars and motorbikes parked outside Mahungra suggest guests have plenty of cash to splash, but they’ve chosen to come here instead of forking out R200

for cover charges at inner-city nightclubs.

Other township hot spots wound down as the hour got later, but by midnight the music was still pumping at Mahungra, the many beautiful women in short skirts looking less than steady on their stilettos.

The tables are littered with empty bottles and the resident DJ’s playlist sounds more like background music because guests are blasting their own tunes from their pimped-out car stereos.

Tshabalala knows he’s not getting an early night, but that’s okay – he’s been pulling some seriously late hours in the past few days.

“I go home when everyone has gone home. It usually is in the early morning hours,” he says.

The party starts early at Mahungra.

Tshabalala says: “I get a lot of delegates who come and enjoy lunch and then go back to the conference. Other people come for lunch and chill for the rest of the day.”

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