This township life

There must be something in the air in South African popular townships. Could it be the colourful four room houses or the brown and grey dusty township streets that seem to be attracting bright and colourful social butterflies to its entertainment places?

 The new trend, The Kasi Social Movement can be clearly identified in every major township in South Africa. It is an act of people shifting from chilling in suburban areas and going back to enjoy township nightlife. This movement can best be described as a merger between middle class sensibility and township simplicity. People from all walks of life converge on these venues resulting in a vibrancy that is almost a cliché in South Africa.

The quality of places like Max’s Lifestyle in Umlazi, Madlula’s Place in Pietermaritzburg and Fashion Café in Ntuzuma is something worth noting. And it’s that quality that makes them draw in the crowds. For a place that is in a township Max’s Lifestyle looks like it was taken out of an exotic beach island somewhere along the Seychelles islands. It has that relaxed Hawaii feel that makes people go there in large numbers.

Today is one of those days where ordinary people are rubbing shoulders with well known social butterflies, even managing quick social chats with them. Max’s Lifestyle, started with a vision that owner Max Mqadi had for his home township. This was followed up by a multi million rand investment and as they say the rest is history.

“I had a vision to develop this place and bring people together from their different groups, to bring celebrities in the township,” said Mqadi. He also challenged the stereotype that rich people must only chill in suburban areas; he wanted them to enjoy themselves in a township despite negative perceptions about the area.

It is a late Sunday afternoon, the sun is about to set and the place decorated in a burnt orange colour. A cool spring breeze is accompanied by the sweet melodic sounds of the deeper shades of house music. An aroma of braaied chop sticks, pap and sauce fills your nostrils from quite a distance.

One of the socialitest at Max’s is Sanale King. He points out that the township has that special vibe that surpasses any other place. He adds that he finds township people friendlier than his home boys.

“I rather travel to Max’s Lifestyle all the way from Pinetown then to relax comfortably in my own hood”, he says. This is something that is becoming more and more common amongst the emerging youth market. Something other urban based lifestyle venues would do well consider next time they consider expansion.

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