Lack of tourist attractions makes Tembisa dull
Save for the overnight emergence of drinking holes, public phones, ATMs and the never-ending road works, Tembisa remains relatively uninteresting.
Infrastructure has improved greatly, but try and look for a decent eatery and you will be shown a KFC and some dodgy pizza place in a packed shopping centre - a far cry from Jabulani Mall.
This is not a mandate from the tourism office, but for a township that is so close to OR Tambo International Airport - a bridge for international tourists - this is obtuse to say the least.
On the far end of everything lies Caprivi, a four-star entertainment place with a deft service, but try and have a quiet drink and you will be mobbed by patrons who clearly have not been schooled on mannerisms towards tourists.
Those who mind their own business try to braai some meat and wash it down with cold beers. All the while there's no stopping the sgubhu competition from their car boots. Taxis outside are on a mission of their own - and it does get scary sometimes.
But the otherwise decent locals are having drinks and looking at our black and white group as something of a miracle. Do you blame them? Malawians treat theirs with respect and have learnt different skills to milk unsuspecting travellers in what many would call hustling. They will sell atchaar to an Indian. And this is all because Malawi had travel T-shirts boasting about their lake from when Msholozi was still a herdboy.
One hustler going by the name of Jazzman tells me this was his plea when he wrote to the Zola 7 show some five years ago. He was hoping that tourism would help eliminate the drinking culture threatening to wipe kids off school premises in droves.
But where do you take tourists in a place whose only nice park is owned by a guy who started it from scratch and has not received any form of a reward or assistance from the government? So he remains the only one to have ever plucked up the courage of this nature. Even Yolanda Makumbila, who established enough contacts to run a tourism office, had to close shop for lack of places to take these tourists to.
So shebeens remain the only other option if you are into the soccer culture. For the football revellers, there's plenty to drench themselves in.
There are Philly's games, Philly's games and more Philly's games. It must have been here that Saddam Maake, Kaizer Chiefs' number one fan, learnt about this contagious passion.
It was also here that DJ Sbu and Thulas Nxesi found themselves. I just find it odd that a township with more than a million inhabitants has nothing going for it at all. Tembisa FM and Sheila's Place save the day, but this B&B has had no competition for over 10 years. This seizes me by the guts.