It’s not easy being the City Manager of Durban.
You have to make lots of tough decisions in the best interests of your ratepayers and you’re almost constantly vilified by public and press alike.
You stump up big dosh to have Durban’s Waterfront built, which necessitates the removal of ancient institutions with aquatic interests. Bang! You get whacked. You have the beautiful old Dolphinarium knocked down and approve the construction of uShaka Marine World, which immediately starts losing money hand over fin. Bang! You get whacked.
You rename loads of Durban’s streets, formerly named after the outrageously racist settlers who masterminded the building of Durban, after Che Guevara, Fidel Castro, Saddam Hussein and Humpty Dumpty. Bang!
In a heroic effort to ensure that the descendants of those nasty settlers never again have their grass verges trimmed outside their homes in previously hugely advantaged “white suburbia”, you demand that refuse hardly ever gets removed from those areas, that “loadshedding” be assiduously implemented and that the once pristine beachfront (and adjacent Indian Ocean) is left to go to such rack and ruin that nobody with more than a bean in their pocket and a slightly-above-zero-valuation of their lives ever goes there again. Bang! Whack!
If that weren’t enough, you diligently oversee the gradual degradation of almost everything of any worth to anybody, including the destruction of the street traders’ market at Warwick Junction for yet another shopping mall. Bang! Whack! Wham!
No, it’s not an easy ride for the good DOCTOR Michael Sutcliffe, who is just doing his best for Durban. Then, he sees this:
So you ban it. Well, what else could you, the moral guardian of all things good about Durban, do? This is not Cape Town, for Helen’s sake! Oops. Should have seen it coming. Bang! Whack! Kapow! *Good kicking in the gonads* Here follows a letter from one of those arty-farty liberals who’s always whingeing about something, this time about the banning of his grotesquely hard-porn poster advertising some smutty play he’s putting on:
Banning of our Poster
To members of Friends of KickstArt
from Steven Stead
I am appalled to relay the news that our municipal bureaucracy has seen fit to ban our NOISES OFF poster on the grounds that it is “lewd and provocative” and in the “interests of public safety” cannot be displayed on streets.
Please have a good look at our poster image, and tell us if you think it is morally corrupting and worthy of censorship. Better yet, tell Mike Sutcliffe, our city manager, or your local newspaper, that this kind of draconian bullying is unacceptable in a society as supposedly emancipated and liberal as South Africa purports to be.
When you see strip clubs like Teasers being advertised on city rubbish bins and bus shelters, and posters for clubs like Tilt on every street pole, depicting bondage nuns and busty nurses suggestively sucking lollies, big municipal posters splashing bikini-clad lasses sporting in the sea showing how much fun can be had in Durbs by the Sea, you have to remark on the amazing double standards in operation in our city.
It is really hard enough to make quality theatre in this country, yet harder (and prohibitively costly) to market and advertise it, and the municipality is simply making it almost impossible. We are now 10 days behind with our advertising campaign, after wrangling with them, and drawing embarrassing, concealing skirts on the image (which were still rejected because the “lady hasn’t got enough clothes on”). We stand to lose a great deal of money from the delay. And we really need all the help we can get.
Please support us and write a letter to Mr Sutcliffe – firstname.lastname@example.org – or your paper.
Executive Director: KickstArt
More Bang! More Whack etc. It’s beyond human comprehension that The Good DOCTOR has steadfastly and determinedly remained in his thankless position. Um, there’s a thought – how has he?