Enter Catwalk, which appears to be a loungy dance club for house fans. A red carpet extends onto the pavement, inviting you into the seemingly posh interior and up the stairs to the dance floor. Only to be welcomed to a homey Boer sokkiejol. Langarm experts twirl barefoot across the floor to the beat of "Hokaai stop die Lorrie" and other songs you thought were banished to the Free State.
Hear someone complaining about the jocks' apparently subtle aggressiveness and you know, there's a Capetonian. A letter in the student paper, Die Matie, recently lamented the growing presence of "jocks" at Bohemia. Public outcry in response was, "Who cares?!" The truth is that Stellenbosch's students are far too preoccupied with their good looks to be bothered by what other people are doing or wearing. Everyone hangs out with everyone at everyone's favourite places. The border between jock and rock is vague, if it exists at all.
And Capetonians still brave the 45-minute drive to Stellies for big nights out. Why? And why are so many rock songs written about this little town of traditionalist white facades and oak-lined streets, nestled in a green valley in the heart of the winelands? Besides the obvious of the scenery and the wine, Stellenbosch is that rarity, perhaps one of three in the country (Grahamstown and Potchefstroom being the other two) of a die-hard student town. Student Town by definition implies that you forget there are actually suburbs and middle-aged inhabitants, that driving at night sounds ludicrous when you can safely walk to any destination, where the by-laws about smoking have not yet registered with local policemen and where you can see live music every second night of the week.
"The one thing that becomes tiring, is that it's hard to study here because you are constantly aware that there's always a party in Stellenbosch," a classmate complains. After all it is easy to forget that the word "student" is a derivative of "studying." And then you wonder how come there are so many post-graduates in Stellenbosch. It seems like half the town's current population is pursuing some academic higher ground like an honours, masters or even a doctorate. The Peter Pan syndrome is highly infectious. Few graduates are willing to leave this all behind to enter office jobs in the real world. And so we all live happily ever after. Together, forever studying. It's a small price to pay for eternal partying in paradise.
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