Christmas fever hots up

Phindi Kekana and Simon Mazibuko doing their last minute shopping at the Southgate mall in Johannesburg yesterday . 23/12/08. Pic. Mohau Mofokeng. © Sowetan.
Phindi Kekana and Simon Mazibuko doing their last minute shopping at the Southgate mall in Johannesburg yesterday . 23/12/08. Pic. Mohau Mofokeng. © Sowetan.

Dudu Busani

Dudu Busani

Today is the last day for Christmas shopping, meaning shopping malls will be in chaos and children will be restless.

Photographer Shaun Smith and carousel operator Rodney Nimmo have come to the rescue by providing entertainment for the little ones at the Southgate Mall.

Smith does not know whether it is the beard, the big belly or the red costume that attracts children to "Father Christmas" but he has proved to be the most popular man at the mall.

For a single picture on the plump man's lap, parents have to pay R20. Smith takes the pictures while his team prints and gives them to the owners.

A portion of the money will go to charity.

"It's the first time that we're doing this in Southgate mall," he said. "It's not an easy job; some children cry and others run away."

Smith said they took up to 600 photos a day and have children as young as two weeks old.

Nimmo said in the past few days he has got used to being surrounded by toddlers because every time he turns around, there's already one behind him waiting to be picked up and put in the carousel.

"Each ride takes four minutes but some refuse to come out and parents have to pay extra," he said.

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