17 February 2014

South Africa: The Good Times and the Zuma Effect in Eshowe, Kwazulu-Natal


On the surface, Eshowe, a former colonial military garrison cradled in the embrace of the thick Dlinza coastal scarp forest, does not appear to be the usual tourist honey trap.

This small KwaZulu-Natal town of weathered low-rises and utility shopping centres is about a 45-minute drive (25 minutes if you have blue lights) from President Zuma's home at Nxamalala. It has no malls with high-end shops and restaurants, no beaches, no movie houses.

Yet business at almost all of the town's mostly white-owned 17-odd bed and breakfasts is booming thanks to President Zuma, his family, his extended family, their friends, visits by various officials and the president's rather large security entourage.

Oh, you thought they stayed over at the R66 million complex specially built for his guards and that we all paid for at his private home? Well, they don't. By MARIANNE THAMM.

If expectant parents Mary and Joseph had been travelling through Eshowe in December 2013 and had needed somewhere to bunk down for the night, they would most certainly have been turned away.

That month there was not a single vacant bed or unoccupied room in any of the 17-odd guest houses located in the town as President ...

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