A lot of my adventures involve a lot of walking. The benefits are endless and to be honest, the real reason I walk – cutting costs! I’m just being honest! For me to be constantly walking I needed a pair of shoes that had to be comfortable, cool and represent me in the simplest way possible. I had to get Converse All-Stars!
I used to be an intern for a destination marketing company in Cape Town and in my first week, I was eager to please. That, and I had this illusion that the company I worked for was a suit and tie kind of place. So I had my suit pressed, shirts cleaned and my shoes were polished. “Dress for the job you want” ran through my mind the entire weekend before my first day as an intern. I was well dressed and ready to be the greatest intern the company had ever seen. I walked in 20mins before time, really eager with a smile on my face only to find that I was over dressed. Not a problem, Tuesday I will tone it down a little and leave the tie. Still over dressed. Okay, maybe on Wednesday I’ll leave the jacket. Still over dressed! Thursday was the departmental meeting. I wore a shirt, formal pants and my formal shoes. I did this because this was the first time I was meeting my executive. Once again, I was eager to please. She walked in aaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnndddddddddddd I was over dressed!
The entire meeting was a blur to me. All I could focus on was how I made an impression but in the wrong way. I was overly eager – that’s fine. Over dressed – not fine. But that day I saw something that actually gave me the idea for this post. She wore red All-Stars. It bothered me back then but today, it has been the odd inspiration for my travels. I have gone to a lot of events and attractions wearing red All-Stars. So, where have I been in my red All-Stars?
Newlands Rugby Stadium, Cape Town
Home of the Springboks, the national rugby team for South Africa and Western Province, the provincial rugby team for the Western Cape. A small stadium in terms of capacity but the history it holds, far exceeds any stadium on the continent. A lot of legendary games have been played in this stadium by both the Springboks and Western Province. Before a national game, Cape Town shuts down and the city becomes a forest of green and gold. The braai stands come out and the beers are stocked in the fridge. The atmosphere goes from a chilled and laid back Cape Town to “The Boks are in town”.
When Western Province are playing at Newlands, a river of blue and white is seen flowing from all parts of Cape Town towards Newlands. This particular trip I went on was of a different nature. A friend of mine got tickets from work to watch rugby from the company’s box. An opportunity to see how the other side lives, I had to wear the red All-Stars. A rugby game at Newlands is like no other. The opposition can never adjust to the conditions of Cape Town. The wind is the 17th man (16th man is the support) and kicking in Newlands tends to be ill advised. I had a full view of the stadium and from the angle of the box with snacks in one hand and a beer in my other hand, I saw the full beauty of Newlands. Coupled with the history of the stadium, Newlands truly is the home of South African rugby. The stadium offers tours and you get to see the history of two great rugby teams and all they have achieved since the birth of rugby.
Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
My most favourite stadium in the world – Cape Town Stadium. It has seen amazing concerts – U2’s 360 degree performance, Eminem, Justin Bieber and so on. The stadium featured in Safe – the Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds movie. Built for the FIFA World Cup 2010, this stadium was one of the semi final venues and also the venue Portugal slotted 7 goals in a world cup game. So many memories! Bafana Bafana, the national soccer team occasionally play at Cape Town Stadium and I watched a few games there. The games are never dull, the vuvuzelas are in full voice and the crowd are always passionate. The games were played during the week which meant Cape Town became a golden plateau. And on such occasions, the red All-Stars had to come out. When in the stadium, look up. The inside ring is well lit and if you are going up to Signal Hill, look down at the stadium. In a city like Cape Town, no wonder why someone had to give it a ring.
Jammie Stairs, University of Cape Town, Cape Town
All my UCT alum and current students know these stairs very well. For all those going to UCT in 2017, you will know these stairs. One of my top places in Cape Town, these stairs were not only the social hot spot of campus – if Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snap Chat were to be a place on earth – the stairs were the perfect break whilst working hard on campus, especially at night. The library was open and a couple of computer labs around campus were inhabited by students, all trying to meet their deadlines. I used to sit on the stairs and got the perfect view of the city that I fell in love with, Cape Town. On a full moon, the light of the moon would gently touch the rooftops of the houses, and the light from these houses glow back as if to say, “Thank you for watching over us.” From UCT the city seems to be at ease, minimal movement was on campus and the stars were always bright. They reassured me that everything was going to be ok. 10 – 15 minute breaks on Jammie Stairs! That’s all you need to know that everything will be ok.
The small town that is only known for the Medupi Power Station got the red All-Stars treatment. Having gone to Lephalale to visit good friends of mine, I had to venture into the town and see what it is people do in small towns. It turns out the town is in development and the progress is outstanding. The fashion sense for men was construction attire and I did consider getting myself the clothes of the locals. Just to blend in! But the town is under constant construction and development with everything happening along a single stretch of road. You cannot get lost in Lephalale! There is a greater chance of a buck walking past you in traffic than it is for you getting lost. A small town that is very peaceful, free and the fresh air without the pollution of sound and people, is really refreshing.
Kingfisher Park, Harare
A lot of cities tend to be concrete jungles. There is concrete all over the place, tall buildings and thousands of people. It tends to be crowded, too busy and people like to rub against you. But luckily I was introduced to a place not so far from town where it is peaceful. I went to Kingfisher Park in Harare. So far, the gem of Harare. And of course, the red All-Stars came along with me. A lake that is surrounded by peace and tranquility. The perfect place just to chill, fish, host a braai or take the kids to and let them play until they cannot play no more. I took a walk around the area and it felt perfect. Just the beauty of untouched nature, natural beauty and most importantly, space. I could have stayed there all day. If you enjoy your own company – be it reading a book or looking for creative inspiration, or you want intimate time with someone close to you, Kingfisher Park is the place to go.
Harare’s very own family-friendly event has been graced with my red All-Stars. One of the most popular events held in Harare every month, this event is fun, relaxed and suitable for all. Normally held at the end of every month, Unplugged has live performances by Zimbabwean artists and local DJs take the stage later on in the day to take the event to the next level. I have been known as “the friend that is always wearing All-Stars” amoungst my peers, so I guess my identity is within my shoes.
National Sports Stadium, Harare
Located in the capital city, and a 20 minute walk from my house, this stadium has seen a lot of historical moments. The most memorable would have to be when Nigeria played against Zimbabwe a few years ago in which the legend , Jay-Jay Okocha, tore through the Zimbabwean defence and dazzled the crowd. I was not there at the time, but my recent experience was for a pre-season friendly between two South African Super Rugby teams. The stadium was rather empty but the class of rugby was worth watching. The multipurpose stadium has been used for various events and sporting matches, but that day saw rugby fans witness two of South Africa’s best go head to head in a great match.
For the record, I have other shoes. White All-Stars! All-Stars are extremely comfortable, affordable and they go with anything. My shoes have gone through a lot and are still riding strong. I need another pair – black ones, denim maybe or green? Black All-Stars are the standard. With those, one cannot go wrong. Once I do get them, I feel like I will need to travel with them and see where my new pair of All-Stars will take me.