/ 8 June 2012

Desperately seeking dive like Ekhaya

Sue Mabale.
Sue Mabale.

I have fond memories of Sue and Ekhaya, which was not exactly upscale, but provided a rendezvous for Sue’s somewhat bohemian clientele, a place in which they could mingle while pursuing careers and relationships (romantic and otherwise) in what was then a toddling post-apartheid South Africa.

Though Madondo called it a juke joint – the American version of a shebeen – Ekhaya did not exactly have the low-down allure of a juke joint. The latter were meant for plantation workers and sharecroppers who were barred from white establishments because of Jim Crow laws.

Journalists, arty types and professionals (mainly black) patronised Ekhaya. They were no longer barred from white establishments, but needed that last retreat to get away from whites (and their food!) and escape the new rainbow South Africa with its political correctness and idiosyncrasies.

I still crave an authentic joint in the brand of Ekhaya, which represented a sense of community, identity and belonging. I have been searching, to no avail. All the existing places have gone rainbow and lost their soul as a result of commercial pressure.

Thanks to Madondo for reminding us of Sue and an era gone by. He did it with such dazzling erudition. He has always been an eloquent writer, with attitude. &ndash; <strong>Vusi Mona, Lonehill</strong>