Time for horsing around 


12 July 2020

Vusi Nzapheza


I’ll honour return of Durban July in my usual fashion

As the Grim Reaper that is the Coronavirus wields its scythe mercilessly, it is hard to discern a silver cloud in its path of destruction.

However, we know that one of the beneficiaries of the lockdowns that were imposed to slow down the rates of transmission of the virus is Mother Nature herself.

When the factories that had been spewing noxious gases into the atmosphere stalled, nature could finally breathe.

The animal kingdom also came out to enjoy the respite from the absence of intrusive human beings. Lions could be seen lounging on the tar road in the Kruger National Park. Birds also soared higher without any fear of being sliced into pieces by aircraft.

With the lockdown eased across the world and the resumption of some semblance of economic activity, Mother Nature and her animals are once again disrupted.

That’s what human beings do. We are here to mess up the planet with little consideration for other life forms.

I was pleasantly surprised to read this week that the Vodacom Durban July would go ahead on July 25, with our hooved friends taking centre stage. For the longest time, this iconic event had been less about horses than a fashion parade.

As for me, the couple of times I attended the Durban July was simply to indulge in expensive hooch at the expense of some corporate. For one thing, I do not have the wardrobe to hobnob in celebville and I’m not one to be starry-eyed in the company of celebrities and their hangers on.

So I would find a liquor marquee and do what I do best: imbibe religiously.

However, the Durban July has made and broken many a publicity whore.

Zodwa Wabantu was thrust into the limelight a couple of years ago when she crashed the horseracing event wearing the skimpiest of outfits.

Last year, the ill-advised tenderpreneur Sam Chabalala shot to national prominence when he took a 72-convoy of luxury cars to the annual horseracing event.

That act of folly put him on the radar of the taxman and law enforcement.

He has since been nabbed for allegedly falsifying his identity and attempting to bribe the Hawks, and is on the run after skipping bail. He must look back with regret that he made noise instead of eating silently.

This year’s Durban July will make history. It will take place behind closed doors without spectators due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown regulations. The glamour and fashion
extravaganza will move into the virtual space.

So, how am I going to partake in my favourite pastime at the horses from my remote abode?

I’ll be safely tucked in my sweat pants at home when the horses bolt and gallop, with a can of my regular swill in one hand.

It’s called the new normal.



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