Snapshots of Durban: The Good, the Bad and the Weird


A handful of scenes have become permanently and repetitively fixed in my memory during my semester of study in Durban, South Africa. These ‘snapshots’ capture the variety of my experiences over these last four months:

I. Getting out of a Khumbi: After a trip to the grocery store, one memorable experience was getting off a Khumbi, a 15-passenger minibus used for public transportation in Durban. My stop was the last one, and I was the last person to exit. As I hobbled off and closed the door, I heard the driver’s anguished cry, ‘Why?’
‘Why what?’ I asked. He answered, ‘Why did you slam my door?’ I could only reply that I didn’t believe that I slammed his door. However, he insisted, ‘Well, you did. I have no problem with you. If you slam the door like that, it may not open later.’
I asked him if he wanted to see if the door still opened, and I told him that I wasn’t sure what to do. He demanded, ‘I think you should apologize for slamming my door.’
After I apologized, he said, ‘Thank you. We are brothers. We need each other. Me to drive you, and you to pay me. Tomorrow is a new day. No problem.’ I gave the driver the thumbs up and went about my day.

II. A Saturday Afternoon in my Residence Hall: I had a few hours to kill before a rugby game, so I figured that I would see what the guys on my floor were up to. A bunch of them were playing FIFA Soccer on their computer, and they let me join their tournament.
Between games, we browsed through South African car magazines and discussed the differences between the cars in our countries and what our dream cars would be.
Over the semester, I got to know this group of guys pretty well. We played a few poker games, talked endlessly about what America’s like and what Africa’s like

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