Winter Mornings in Marabastad
by Cyril Skosana
(Marabastad, Pretoria, South Africa)
Winter mornings in Marabastad
Cyril observes the Winter mornings in Marabastad
Winter, the season that locks people inside their homes under warm blankets, sipping on soup, and watching family movies. I must admit, I’m part of those people, though school and work always dictates otherwise. As good as the idea sounds, it seems never to work that way. Most of us have to get to their jobs, on time, irrespective of the freezing mornings. Some are fortunate to be going to warm offices that have air conditioning even in the toilets. However, some only dream of such luxury. Some are freezing elsewhere, jobless, *side note* thank God my classrooms have air-conditioning.
The winter has arrived in its famous, conventional way, freezing. It is hits everyone, especially those who have to travel in the morning, be it a pupil to school, a student to varsity or a parent to work. Then there is that woman who sells vetkoek that are freshly baked in the crack of dawn and the ones whose destination is the streets of the freezing Marabastad.
As described in Wikipedia, Marabastad is a business area near the city centre of Pretoria. The original Maraba Village was founded and ruled by the Pedi Chief Maraba in the olden days. The place is now home to refugees with diversified countries of origin. A large number of people who are in the location moved here for business purposes, an effort to put a stop in the chain of poverty and unemployment.
There are formal businesses in the area, with proper structures for their operations. However most of the businesses in Marabastad are informal in nature, with no permanent structures. Street vendors use tents and cardboard structures to conduct their daily operations. This becomes a bit problematic during winter. These are the low cost dining places, hair salons and herbal outlets and similar operations.
During winter, these people go through an ordeal in performing their daily business. Summers are as harsh though. The difference is in temperatures but the harshness of Pretoria summers gives the same torturing experience. The only prayers that the hawkers have is that of blocking a possible drizzle. Winter rains are scary. Even though that is the case, these people wake up every morning, irrespective of the weather conditions, to carry out their business in order to survive and feed their families, selling you a cup of warm coffee and scrumptious vetkoeks whilst they are out in the cold.
Spending one of the winter mornings in Marabastad reminds me of the harshness of life and inequality in our country.