What I hate about nightlife at my uni

About 3 years ago, out came a song to the world from Wiz Khalifa, proclaiming admiration for two particular colours: black and yellow. In the chorus, he rapped about “stunting” (“when I pull up the lot, that’s stuntin'”).

Hmm… here these hip hop guys go again, using their own secret codewords and misconstruing the meanings of words, what does he mean? Because before this song, the only thing I knew about the word “stunt” was that it stood for something that celebrities did or said as a way to boost their fame, to make themselves relevant (i.e. publicity stunt). So over the years, without needing to go to Urban Dictionary to find the street meaning of “stunting” or “stuntin'” (if you don’t believe in completing present participles), I understood what it meant.

In layman’s terms, to stunt is to show off all that you got, ball out and just spend your mons. Do whatever necessary to let the people know you have money and a lot of it.

Well… I don’t have a lot of money nor am I entitled to it. When I was three quarters my age, I wondered about how much I’m worth, and I estimated it to be a couple of rands. Never you mind, I didn’t think much of myself then.Anyway, the point is, I have an alternative definition of “stunting”. To me, it means “to have a freaking damn good time, any way, any how”. And I always make sure I have fun at little or no cost. I’m very reluctant to spend money to have a great night out. Because with this allowance of mine, every rand matters and I work on an opportunity-cost basis when deciding what I can buy and what is a waste.

I go to a university where I suspect there may be students who are either dealing drugs or just very privileged, because the cars they drive, the clothes they wear and the houses where they live just scream MONEY. These are students who can afford to have tons of (expensive) liquor chilling in buckets of ice when they go out to clubs. I don’t mingle with such students, I’ve only ever observed them from a distance. I’m guessing their allowances per month is half of my annual tuition costs. If I ever had that much money to spend on myself, I would never ever to limit myself to the bar next to campus as my only source of nightlife, and I’d have a new, unique outfit every day for the whole semester.

One problem that I have with the few wealthy, privileged students that I’ve met (most of which just happened to be guys) is that they thought that I would be fine with just having them around, and not doing any actual partying. As if the fact that they have a lot of money was enough to woo me. No, I want to go out and dance, not be mixed drinks by a rich boy while at his place, watching  MTV Base.

Recently, I’d gotten very disappointed with the options there are for one to spend a night out in Ruimsig. So, I’m going to tell a story about the last time I had “gone out”… or should I say, the last time I had alcohol in my system with the intent to party hard.

One Friday night, two weeks ago, I was at the apartment of these two girls who I’ve been getting to know (in an attempt to get over my ex-friends) and we were getting ready for the night. One of them told me that she found a guy who felt like entertaining some ladies, and we were apparently going to go out to Hush (a hip club in Rosebank). I knew Hush to be very upmarket, so I pulled out my best (even high heels) and despite the weather, put it on because I was not prepared to be upstaged while out.

We waited for a long time for the guy to show up, and when he did (with an American-accent-having friend), we were on our way… only at midnight. Because the girls I was with wanted to get into the party on campus first to see their friends perform. The thing is, they forgot to bring their money (because they heard that entrance was free for ladies) and so I had to pay for them, because I was prepared.

I mean, come on, I’ve come to know that not a single event on campus ever lets you get in for free. Even if they’re trying to fill the place up. Never!

 We finally left campus and I felt this great relief, until I saw we were not going in the direction of Rosebank. We appeared to be driving towards the super rich suburbs of Kyalami, for a “house party”. I was like “Oh… so we’re not going to Hush? Okay, but we’re still gonna have fun, right?” I reassured myself on the way to our destination while sipping on wine that was making me very sleepy.

We pulled up to an estate which had a whole bunch of huge houses in it (but those houses are nothing compared to the ones one may find in Bassonia), and drove a very long way until we pulled up to a homely-looking mansion. The place sounded very quiet. When we got inside the house, I realised that this was not to be a house party, according to the world definition of the term. According to these niggas, a “house party” was when a trio of them got together at their rich mate’s house when the parents are out, bring over a load of alcohol and some chasers, and then send another mate with a car to go and find some girls.

I was very disappointed. But I tried to assure myself that we were going to have a great night, even though it’d be just the seven of us in this big, ornate house.

We were taken to a small TV room, where on the table stood a selection of drinks: Schweppes chasers, Belvedere vodka, some whisky, and some rosé wine. If I were still eighteen and new to the university scene, I would have delighted in all this. But when I spotted the vodka, I just felt a little sick. After three semesters at university, I’ve decided what kind of alcohol my stomach can actually take, and that is simply wine and apple ciders. Serious. No tequila, no whisky, no vodka, no liqueurs.

Well, the other reason why I felt sick was because I already had been drinking in the car, so couple that with motion sickness because we were driving forever! I told the guy who was serving drinks that I was fine with some lemonade for now, unless he liked cleaning up vomit or carrying passed out 50-kilogram girls to the car.

We spent a lot of time at the house just sitting around, smoking, taking sips of our drinks, and making incredibly small talk. Then it got really awkward when the guys all locked themselves in a room to talk, leaving us girls in the TV room alone, bored out of our minds, and wondering when we can go home.

The guys came out and asked us what it would take for us to stop moping. I blurted out, “I want some KFC, I’m hungry as hell. Maybe if I get something to eat, then I can wake up”. The other girls said they wanted to go home. The night was officially ruined. The guys seemed very pissed. I honestly didn’t care, because they promised a good night, didn’t deliver and now I’d like to go home, thank you.

The drive back to campus was very quiet and it didn’t help that these guys were playing The Weeknd all the way, which caused me to just go to sleep. The Weeknd makes the kind of music you just cannot stay up to. You will sleep with the music on and then it seeps into your dreams.

We eventually got to campus, and we said goodnight to the boys, “thanked” them for a “good” night, and got into res. All the way walking to our block in the biting cold, we were bitching about how the night was a disaster, and not worth dressing up for, as girls do.

I hobbled into my room barefoot, wearing my fancy clothes and feeling the cold like nothing ever before. I quickly undressed, got into my pyjamas, wiped my face, switched off the lights and got into bed. My head fell on that pillow like a rock and I slept.

I didn’t wake up the next day until the late afternoon, but that wasn’t a problem for me, because I’d been doing that a lot around that time. I realised what happened last night, the money I spent for nothing and I immediately became bitter.

I am no longer anyone’s charity. If you forgot your money at home, best go back and get it, not turn to me.

That night made me realise a lot about nightlife at my university. It is pathetic. Not to say that students here aren’t living it up, it’s just that some of them need to travel far (and pay extra) to really have a great night at a club or whatever. I knew what I meant years ago when I said I wanted to go to Rhodes: Grahamstown is alive. Ruimsig is not.

There are not many options for students here to go out. We are isolated for urban life, stuck in a suburban area full of rich (white) people, trapped in our own small community, suffocated by everyone else’s business, etc.

I think once they tried to open up a new venue at this estate next door to the university where they host functions and weddings, but that kind of fizzed out because it was the same as going to Stones (the bar near campus). Why? Organisers of the events that happened at the estate made the mistake of booking campus DJs, the same DJs that play the same shit at every other event that’s gone down around here.

The benefit of living in the city is that there are variety of nightlife spots that cater for all tastes and music lovers. Here, there are only three genres of music you will hear being played at EVERY event: hip hop, house and dancehall. All the time.

Because there’s only something like 5000 students that attend here, and like 25% of them live in the area, there is not much space to be diverse in the kind of music played. That’s why you’d only ever hear of dancehall parties, Nigerian parties, Zimbabwean parties, Zambian parties and the like.

I never thought I’d be getting annoyed by this, but if you had to deal with the same playlist every time you went out, wouldn’t you go crazy? Even more, if you had to pay R50 or more just to hear music that you could easily download yourself?

Something has to give. It doesn’t help that I don’t know enough people who have cars who are willing to drive far away from Ruimsig for a night out.

Mid year resolution: make friends with motorists. A girl needs to get around.


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