Rob Rose Editor: Financial Mail

For a brief instant as a child, I was a Wimpy advertising star. At one of Joburg’s inner city Wimpy restaurants near Eloff Street, I become the implausibly delighted wide-eyed kid, biting into the sort of manicured bur-gers you’d never actually get over the counter, while an irritable photographer manhandled the props. After each take, a new burger magically appeared before me, until the mechanics of biting began to overwhelm me. I was paid R50 for the trouble — a ridiculous amount of money for a child in the early 1980s. I still suspect my parents took a cut. For a time after it opened its first restaurant in Durban in 1967, Wimpy’s American diner-style red-and-white interiors were as fundamental to local culture as Ford Bantams, Marie biscuits and Chappies bubblegum. Billing itself as "the Home of the Hamburger", Wimpy reaching its zenith in the 1980s when it claimed to be the first SA restaurant to serve all races. Kids would hold parties there, submersing the odd brown-grey patt...

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