Let’s start by getting the definitions out the way before we get into the crux of this post.
The City Bowl is a part of Cape Town bordered by Table Bay and defined by the mountains of Signal Hill, Lion’s Head, Table Mountain, blah blah blah. Forget the marketing crap, the City Bowl is, put simply, a gorgeous place that includes Cape Town’s CBD, is frequented by thousands of tourists every month, and has some stunning high class real estate. It has accommodation that’s worth spending that extra bit of currency to acquire…it’s just not as easy to acquire if you’re black.
As luck would have it, I actually live there and so I thought I’d share a few tips and tricks on how to circumvent those racist…sorry I mean, fastidious…yes, those fastidious Cape Town estate agents.
1. Your name
This is Cape Town estate agents’ first point of vetting. If your name is Nqobile or Nyakallo or Dineo…you’ll probably find that the apartment you’re interested in is “no longer available” by the time you call. So, if you’re Nqobile, try using Billy…if you’re a Nyakallo, try Kelly…and if your government name is Dineo, how about just Neo?
2. Your accent
If you have a stronger accent than Shaka Zulu, rather ask a colleague to call on your behalf. An Afrikaner colleague will probably be the most effective in this case. How do you know your accent is too strong? Here’s a simple test:
If you pronounce burger as beggar, surf as safe, or burn as bun…then your accent is on steroids.
3. Dress code
Just because you see the white kids walking into the estate agents’ office wearing surfer shorts and Billabong vests, don’t try to be clever and emulate them. Wear your best suit. That Sunday suit you wear to church? That’s the one. In fact, pretend you’re going to court, because that estate agent is your judge and executioner and in his book, the darker the berry, the sweeter the execution.
If you some how manage to swing a viewing, don’t turn up with your car blasting some Vetkuk vs Mahoota…get yourself on mp3skull.com and download some Kings of Leon, Katy Perry, or whatever cracker friendly music is trending these days.
If you decide to buy the property, use a white law firm to hash out the deal. Not because black lawyers don’t know what they are doing (they do, I have a very good one) but because the system is so riddled with racist hurdles that the purchase will move much quicker with a crispy white law firm at the helm.
How did I manage to secure my apartment you ask? Steps 1 to 4! I went by the name Wan (they must have thought I was Chinese or something), put on my best Edwardian English accent, wore a suit James Bond would be proud of, and turned up to the viewing playing some suicide-inducing Norah Jones! Worked like a charm!
When all’s said and done, Cape Town is a beautiful city to live in. It’s just one of those places where it’s a little easier to be George Zimmerman than Trayvon Martin…but then again, what place isn’t?
*** just scribbling my real estate thoughts ***
Ps: you can call me a bigot, racist, or any other segregationist term you can think of but you can never convince me that the real estate industry in Cape Town isn’t racist. In fact, the real estate industry is one of South Africa’s most unreformed sectors. It’s a dog eat dog world out there…and the black dog stays getting chowed!
Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.