South Africa – The Low Down Adventure
The entire STMT X South Africa sourcing trip was a series of crazy, on repeat – crazy beautiful then crazy scary. It was like some surrealist movie about angst and hunger and pride and division. But instead of watching it, I was living it.
We arrived real late on our first night in Johannesburg. The drive to the apartment was straight out of The Wire – you’re inside a car, creepin’ down the road, crossing dark alleys while you spy gangs of people hanging out on the corner, surrounded by abandoned buildings with busted-out windows. That shit exists in the world. Was I scared? Hellz yeah I was. 59 sourcing trips and this was the first time EVER that I didn’t want to get out of the car. And we’ve been to some sketch and crazy places!
The next morning I woke up and headed out in search of coffee. Within minutes I saw the most surreal image – a young teenager on a skateboard-like rig, pulling a pile of pallets stacked high, down the street. He was coasting, he looked like he was flying. A homemade ski mask with eye holes masked his face, but I locked eyes with him when he soared by me. He looked hardened, he was young. I wish so badly that I busted out my camera to capture that very moment. But the moment was gone before it even registered.
But the first 12 hours in Joburg didn’t turn me off. Instead it made me wanna understand it. The fear that I had of Joburg the night before was put in check once I walked around during the day.
Have you heard of sundowners? I hadn’t. The Danes get hygge. The South Africans get down with sundowners. Crack open a guide book or look up stuff to do in South Africa and you’ll quickly discover that it’s gotta be the unofficial, everyday ritual of every South African. Simple in theory – grab a drink and watch the sunset. Seek out a super-chill spot or join a packed room with party people celebrating the sunset like it’s the last one they’ll ever witness.
The South African work day must be intentionally short to make sure everyone gets to their spot in time to watch the sun set with drink in hand! And the best ones happen on Sundays – because on Sundays the music sounds better. The alcohol tastes sweeter. The vibe is friendlier. It’s an afternoon social not to be missed.
The more years we knock out, the more countries we hit, the more it drives home that what we do is really damn special. South Africa – you M'THR F'IN beautiful country. Complex and beautiful. Pleasure be the game and we be killin’ it.