Moegoes teach cocky big city clever a cash lesson

Those of us who have decided to live and earn a living in big cities like Johannesburg, Durban or Cape Town, for example, have a tendency to think that life revolves around us. We assume that small towns like Polokwane, Mafikeng, Port Elizabeth or Witbank are just that, small towns with no life to speak of.

Those of us who have decided to live and earn a living in big cities like Johannesburg, Durban or Cape Town, for example, have a tendency to think that life revolves around us. We assume that small towns like Polokwane, Mafikeng, Port Elizabeth or Witbank are just that, small towns with no life to speak of.

That, however, is far from the truth. These small towns actually have lives of their own, interesting personalities that help shape and define them and a character of their own.

For example, have you not heard of the big city's clevers, particularly from Johannesburg, who go to these semi-rural areas and start behaving like they are in charge.

Actually, in their cities they are nothing in the bigger scheme of things. But see them in these small towns, they actually behave like they own the place. They walk with a certain swagger that suggests that they are important and in charge. They forget that every city, small town or village has its own heroes and heroines, its own clevers, tycoons, mayors, tsotsis and the like.

I was recently told a story by a friend from a big city who visited home, a small town in Limpopo. He decided he needed some cash and went to an ATM to withdraw money. And as is often the case, we "big" guys from big cities normally drop our guard" in these small towns because we believe they are safe and we are untouchables when it comes to "small time rural criminals". Guess what happened. Once the machine started dishing out the moola, the small town criminals struck and relieved him of his cash. He told me that he was so angry, not because he lost a couple of hundred rands, but because he wished that the robbers were from the big city, and not some moegoes from a small town. Talk of the arrogance of the big city guys.

I was reminded of the attitude and behaviour of those from big cities once they find themselves in small towns this past weekend in Witbank to attend the opening of Mbongeni Ngema's show, Gert: Sibande The Lion of the East. The opening was held at the eMalahleni Civic Centre.

I had a chance to mix with local socialites, mainly provincial politicians and business people. These people call the shots in these towns. The way they dress, walk, talk and interact with people tells you loud and clear that this is their territory.

For example, did you know that Prosper Mkwaiwa, the well-known music promoter who owns two nightclubs in Witbank, is referred to as "mayor" by the locals. It is true! We went to one of his night clubs and word going around was the club is owned by the mayor. It took me a while to realise that the mayor they were referring to was actually our host for the evening - Mkwaiwa, someone we know in Johannesburg as a music promoter. I never got the chance to ask Mkwaiwa whether eMalahleni had two mayors.

Talking about coming back home, can someone tell me about the signage as you exit Mpumalanga into Gauteng - there is a sign that says you are now 38km away from Johannesburg, but hardly 3km later another sign says you are 40km away from Jozi.

And then, as you think, well, it's one of those things, yet another sign says you are 42km away. I know I was not a genius or mathematician during my school days, but there is certainly something wrong here.

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