Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pretoria Parties On Racial Lines But Knows How To Have A Great Time

Siphumelele Zondi

Hatfield Square
Pretoria can be slow when it comes to music at times, but South Africa’s capital definitely knows how to party. As the financial hub of South Africa, Johannesburg clubs are often filled with young professionals and the emerging black middle class with a lot of disposable income to spend – but the same cannot be said about Pretoria.

Pretoria clubs are often frequented by students who would not spend as much on drinks. In Hatfield people can still find drinks which cost less than R20 whereas Johannesburg has clubs and cocktail bars which do not charge less than R25 a drink with R40 being the norm for many cocktails sold there.

While racial lines are often blurred in most night spots in Johannesburg, the same cannot be said about Pretoria. On Saturday night the Hatfield Square was packed. The crowd in the area was at least 98 percent white and Afrikaans whereas just a few blocks down in places like Zanzu, and Cappello they were predominantly black.

Despite this there are a few individuals who see the need to go to the other side and they often find that nothing bad happens. In Hatfield Square people were predominantly drinking, sitting down or chatting while standing. There wasn’t much dancing there but all ATMs were busy with long queues.

Hatfield Square is an open area with many clubs, bars and restaurants people can choose from. They would either sit inside the place they have chosen or buy their alcohol and find a spot somewhere in the square. On most Friday and Saturday nights this square often has a few seats available.

Zanzu is often popular with those who want to dance to international hip-hop and local house and dance with their two dance floors.

Cappello claims to be strict with everyone getting searched at the door before entering and the bouncers turning all those who look under 21 and cannot show documentation to prove otherwise back. Despite this, the crowd inside this place is predominantly made up of students with a few people who work. Most Cappello is known as restaurants where people sit and eat, but the same does not apply in Hatfield. The Hatfield Cappello does have a kitchen which opens until really late, but there is a small dance floor as well but people stand and dance everywhere in this place . The music is predominantly popular house with Durban sounds dominating the dance floor.

In the early hours of the morning current and classic international and local beats are introduced. On Saturday night songs like Rihanna’s ‘Pon de Replay’, TKZee’s ‘Dlala Mapantsula’ and Mandoza’s 'Nkalakatha' were played in the early hours of the morning. At times Capello’s kicks everybody out at 04:30 but there are days when they open until 06:00.

The main downside to Cappello is that there are people who bring their own alcohol, sit outside and listen to the music that is played inside. Anyone who does this would never get the same atmosphere that is inside and the reasons behind their behaviour are not clear as there is no cover charge at Cappello.
A few blocks down on the other side of the road is The set up at is similar to Capello’s except there is an outside sitting area for people who want to get a bit of air to sit. The crown at also appears to be slightly older to the student crown that is found at Capello’s. With good friends, this is also a great spot to hang out.

On the other side of Hatfield, on Duncan Street, is a club called Ekhaya which caters for the more upwardly mobile crowd. Those found there are often in their late twenties to their late thirties. The club plays various types of music and often has live acts. It is a great place for those who want to get away from the students often found on the other side of this part of Pretoria.

Again, like in most places, there are those who choose to sit in their cars, drink their own booze and only after they feel they can handle the dance floor with enough confidence do they go inside to dance. This obviously allows them to avoid the expensive alcohol found in such places.

The night life in Pretoria might be divided on racial lines, but Hatfield definitely is a great night out on any weekend. The clubs, bars and restaurants in the area have a variety that is suited to every type of individual.

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