The Tastes of Durban Part I: An Introduction
‘You’re way too byoootiful girl, that’s why it’ll never work. You’ll have me suicidal! Suicidal!’
Sean Kingston’s electrified voice cheerfully sings these lines in his upbeat dance number. It may be the most popular song in Durban, South Africa. It is about 7:30 a.m. at Pius Langa Residence Hall, and the song is reverberating off the walls. Some student occupying a room in the building I am in, or possibly one of the neighboring residences, has decided it’s time for everyone to get up.
Allow me to introduce myself: Paul Backus, literary journalism major, somewhere in the middle of my fourth to eighth year as an undergrad. This school year I finally graduate, and I am spending the fall term in South Africa through EAP (the UC-wide Education Abroad Program). I’ve been here about two months now. When I arrived in late July, it was for the start of South Africa’s winter semester. When I leave in early December, summer will be heating things up.
Durban, the city in which I’m studying, is just about as diverse as anywhere in California. There is an interesting mix of black Africans, Indians (from India, not Native Americans) and whites of European descent. The Indians and whites live off campus. The residence halls are all native black Africans and international students (there are about 20 UC students this semester, around 50 American exchange students and maybe 20 Europeans living on campus).
Durban’s multiculturalism is reflected in its variety of food. Most of the time when you read about countries dealing with Westernization, the subject of fast food