Op pad na Oppi (On the road to Oppi)
By Pheladi Sethusa and Shandukani Mulaudzi
Three camera bags, two spare batteries for each camera, sleeping bags, tent, camp chairs, bags and booze all squeezed into the back of a Polo hatchback.
Even though the day had been coming for a month, two Oppikoppi virgins were scrambling to get their things together at the last minute.
Rosebank Mall was full of people getting last minute supplies, mostly of the liquid variety.
The journey begins
Within the first 30 minutes of the drive, a wrong turn made it clear that it would be a long journey to Northam Farm, Thabazimbi.
The scenic route made up for the potholes and narrow roads which made for a bumpy ride and also provided plenty of photo opportunities.
After two hours of driving a toilet break was needed but no Engen, Shell or Totall garages were in sight – only kilometre after kilometre of dusty road and the odd bush. The only solution to this problem was found inbetween the two car doors of the little Polo.
A wrong turn gone right led directly to the Oppikoppi gates.
Thorn bushes and dust in the air welcomed the first-timers to what would be their home for the next three days. Setting up a tent and easing into the campsite took no longer than 30 minutes.
After settling in, it was time to explore the festival they didn’t know but had heard so much about. Having heard rumours about poor to non-existent sanitation, drunken mosh pits and rampant racism – only first-hand experiences could tell.
Rumours turned true-mours
A performance by band, CrashCarBurn proved the mosh pits true, leaving a rocky taste in our mouths.
A bird’s eye view of the ShortStraw performance from the shoulders of a strong man proved the racism claims.
While many sat on shoulders and waved their hands to the music, it was not a fun experience for one.
As soon as she was lifted to the gracious man’s shoulders, pushing and shoving came from the girls in the front. It could have been a matter of jealousy however, we learned differently.
The guy let our reporter down, and apologised for the failed experience.
His friend, known only to us as Francois, told Wits Vuvuzela journo Caro Malherbe: “I’m sorry. I really would like to talk to them (the black colleagues) but the girls won’t like it. They are of a different race classification.”
With shock and disappointment, the short straw was indeed pulled: by us. We went back to our tents feeling disheartened, but still hopeful.
That hope was quickly snuffed out by comments that came from a neighbouring tent. To our left was a tent with two black men who were very chatty, to our right were two white, Afrikaans men who were also very vocal.
We overheard the white campers saying “Ag, ek gaan nou iemand klap as hulle nie stil bly. Ons sal sommer die nuwe Waterkloof 2 wees”, this was followed by the two men laughing.
That was within a few hours of being on the farm, two more days to go.
- Wits Vuvuzela. Team Vuvu Oppi ball August 2, 2013.