Mhambi has been redeployed.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Talk the talk, walk the walk

Mhambi is a soutpiel (Afr: salt cock). I live in England and meddle in South African affairs. One leg in England another in SA with my member dangling somewhere off the Ivory Coast in the Atlantic.

Originally uploaded by Wildebeast1.

But Mhambi wants to semigrate. Semigrate is a term coined by Roof Bezuidenhout if I'm not mistaken. It's a term for whitey South Africans migrating from the North of the country to Cape Town. Cape Town being soo dreadfully European that moving there is like moving halfway to Europe.

But Mhambi wants to do a different kind of semigration. Move from one hundred percent Europe to the Africa-Europe that is Cape Town. Mhambi is very lucky to have a lovely Spanish chica who likes the idea. Laura is a shoe designer of note.

This month she is in Cape Town to manufacture a set of prototypes. We hope that if that goes well, she can manufacture her whole range of shoes in South Africa.

She is collaborating with the brilliant South African artist / designer Peet Pienaar. Peet is also doing the designs for the world cup football.

The factory where she wants her shoes manufactured has just this January completed its last order of shoes for Puma. Previously it produced for Nike and many other well known brands. Now most of the business has left for China. Only one floor in the factory still produces shoes, the rest is storage.

Other South African footwear factories have closed down alltogther, or have become importers of shoes. It's sad really. The shoes Laura, my girlfriend, wants to produce need some sophisticated equipment that this factory used to have, but not anymore. She may have to go to Durban, another South African city to complete the shoes.

It's considerably more expensive to produce shoes in South Africa than China, but she hopes to make the fact that SA has stringent labour legislation and better payed workers, part of her unique selling point.

So far everything is going well. It looks like the shoes will be made. Everybody is very excited. There is just one real problem. Laura's orientation is very bad. Cape Town's highways notoriously random.

She is scared to drive to the factory, which is close to Elsies river on the Cape Flats. One or two wrong turns and your in gangland. Workers at the factory have advised her to leave early. They told her that its not a good place for a woman to be driving alone. She is very nervous, and so am I.

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