Hello my Freaky Darlings,
I was recently informed that using Pretoria in the blurb for Fury was a mistake since most of my American readers have no idea where or what Pretoria is. Is it something they can eat?
Since most of my stories and books are set here, in Pretoria, I think it’s time I introduce you to my city.
View of Pretoria from the Voortrekker Monument
Pretoria was founded in 1855 and named after Andries Pretorius, who was some or other hero from the Great Trek and famous for killing a whole bunch of other people. Pretoria has a bit of bloody past. If you’re interested in reading up on it, you can always have a look here. I’m not going to give you a history lesson right now.
Pretoria is now a grand old lady, rather sedate, unlike her big, bad sister, Johannesburg. Pretoria moves at a slow sedate pace. It’s where the diplomats drink their wine or beer while they watch thunderstorms from their patios and they learn how to braai (BBQ) boerewors (sausage).
Pretoria is also a University city, so it has a pretty decent night life. I should know. I partied myself stupid on way too many occasions while I was young and dumb. Hatfield used to be the place where I did most of my drinking and dancing, but the main area where the clubs were, was recently pulled down. I have no idea what they’re busy building in their place now. So the clubs seem to have moved to the East of the city.
The Union Buildings
Don’t let the façade of this capital city fool you. Like it’s counter parts, Washington, London, Paris, and Berlin, Pretoria is full of intrigue and murder. Spy’s lurk in the shadows. Crime bosses fight for turf, money, and power. This city has a dark underbelly. Corrupt officials fight for dominance in the halls of power, while people starve.
Pretoria is full of contradictions. On one side of the street you’ll have the entrance to a township, like Mamelodi, which in itself is full of contradictions. But on the other side of the street is the entrance to an affluent security estate where the wealthy hide behind their high walls and electric fences. In Mamelodi, on the other hand, you’ll find a shack made out of bits and pieces of mettle sheeting and bricks that were stolen from someone else’s house next door to a double story mansion. And parked in front of the shack will be a sports car, because a man’s car is more important than where he lives. The sports car could also be stolen or not. One never really knows in Mamelodi.
All in all Pretoria is much like any other modern capital city around the world. You can sit in a coffee shop and over hear someone talking German or French or Japanese. We have tall buildings and free wifi in certain spots. We have criminals running the streets. What we don’t have is lions and elephants roaming our streets or in our gardens. We don’t live in grass huts or in trees. And we have many different religions cohabiting in peace. Freedom of religion is guaranteed in our constitution, which is haled as being one of the most advanced and liberal in the world. Too bad our politicians tend to piss on it every day.
Oh! Same sex marriage has been legal here for YEARS! In many ways we are far ahead of the so-called first world. The dollar and the pound may be stronger than the Rand, but at least here you won’t have some religious nut refuse to give you a marriage licence because you want to marry the person you love and who just happens to have the same plumbing as you do. We also don’t have kids walking into our schools with machine guns and killing other students and teachers. Here you actually have to prove that you’re competent before you’re given a firearm licence and you can’t walk into any shop and buy a rifle or a shotgun over the counter. Which really cuts down on those mass shootings.
We do however have a President who’s the butt of most jokes and whose education is that of a middle-schooler. That’s right, our president didn’t even get to highschool. Sad but true. Be grateful that your President isn’t an accused rapist who thought having a shower after having allegedly raped someone with HIV would prevent him from getting the disease. It’s one of those face-palm moments. And that happened before he was President. So yeah …
I think that’s enough about Pretoria for now. I may do some follow up posts. We shall see.
I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into my city. If you have any questions about it, let me know.