I know, I know. We are all a bit down in the mouth these days. The news cycle is not helping. If you live in the city of Tshwane, where ANC leaders have been killing each other because they are adamant that their faction’s choice of leader should become the next mayor, then you would also be a bit down in the mouth. Things don’t look great.
Fortunately, there’s always the SABC and its shenanigans to bring some light relief to the nation. Yet another acting CEO has resigned there. And another one been installed. James Aguma is, what, the 10th CEO the public broadcaster has had since 2009? Amazing.
“People at SABC are very excited. There is no revolt within the organisation,” the man who is really in charge, COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng, said last Tuesday.
Of course it’s all good at the SABC. It is as good as at SAA, where everyone from the CEO to the cleaner is in an acting capacity. Only president Jacob Zuma’s friend Dudu Myeni, chair of the board, is in a “permanent” position. Oh, and she oversees a board that does not exist. Everyone has left in disgust except Myeni and two others. They run everything. The hills are ringing with the sound of board fees. Ah, delicious.
Anyway, the point I am making is that there is much to smile about in our country. Take the economy. I was in Pietermaritzburg last week and on the Sunday rolled down to Ballito, Durban. This was the day after the Durban July horse-racing event.
People have been complaining that the economy is stalling and all that. Not in Durban last weekend it was not. Apparently 50,000 people descended on the city on the Friday for the parties, fashion extravaganza and music festivals.
And we say the economy is tanking. Durban was so busy the good curry places had run out of food. Fortunately I had eaten at Pride of India just days before.
I asked Nervin, the waiter who always serves me when I go to Pride of India in Tshwane, how business was. The restaurant has moved from its old Groenkloof premises to a petite, unassuming centre in Hazelwood. Several other restaurants are in the neighbourhood. On a Friday afternoon you spot those irritating people who look as though they never work sitting at tables and smoking cigarettes while sipping chilled wine. I think it’s disgusting, except when it’s being done by me.
The new Pride of India is on the first floor of the building and you can find a nice quiet sunny spot to delve into your curry and ruminate quietly. Or have a rowdy party. My friends Frans Mojela and Donny Mothoa (he brought three of his friends along) were with me, so it was the latter.
Nervin told me business had been poor in Groenkloof, but things were hopping in Hazelwood. I was happy for him, particularly when he revealed that tips were flowing in nicely.
It was the week of the Tshwane riots, so we were keen to eat and be merry. The way it was going we didn’t know whether there would still be restaurants in Tshwane when the comrades were done with each other.
We ordered a lot of food and ate a lot of it and took home the leftovers. We had palak paneer, lamb vindaloo, chicken biryani, crab curry, vegetable jalfrezi and tandoori chicken. Plus rice and naan bread. No-one said “Tim Noakes!” That entire table would have run him out of town.
Pride of India has consistently served lovely food. That is why, over the years, I have returned again and again. I didn’t regret my visit this time either. Nervin is still a great waiter (though he disappeared a bit this time) and the food has stayed delicious.
Now that’s something to smile about, no?
**** Pride of India
Corner Hazelwood Road and 16th Street, Hazelwood, Pretoria
Tel: (012) 346-3684
***** Thuli Madonsela
* Hlaudi Motsoeneng