How would one describe the psyche of our city and its people, I wonder. In the past, the “sleepy hollow” mentality prevailed. There is the true story of an aspirant city councillor who gained election on the basis of an anti-development stance. The gentle folk of Pietermaritzburg didn’t want their lives disrupted by industry and commerce, it seemed. It was sufficient to have a safe high street with one or two department stores and some family businesses which commanded traditional loyalty. And if one sought a bargain, there were shops “downtown” that would oblige. One could go for lunch at the club (and the races on Saturday). Women had access through the side door only and one of the more prominent local businessmen was denied membership on account of his not being white. The city is no longer “sleepy hollow”, capital status is vastly different, the population of the officially demarcated city has more than trebled (with only a marginal increase in the size of the rates base), the city belongs to everyone and we are part of the real global and contemporary world whether we like it or not.