Melissa Tandiwe Myambo is an author, academic

and aerobics instructor.

Essay of the Month

   Pap at Rosebank Mall

amidst the Global Middle Class

Homo sum: humani nil
a me alienum puto

At first, no-one even knew where we could find pap in one of Jozi’s largest malls.  At least half a dozen shoppers of all shapes, sizes and skin color responded with apologetic head shakes when we inquired as to where we might find some steaming hot pap to fill our empty bellies.  Finally, a saleslady in one of the shops overheard us and duly informed us that we could find it at the elegant Stuttafords department store in the not-yet-refurbished Rosebank Mall in Johannesburg’s sylvan northern suburbs. 

The story I recount here happened one day not so very long ago when me and my childhood friend Stacey tried to eat lunch at that cozy little restaurant nestled inside Stuttafords.  Trying to order the everyday food of South Africa’s majority population turned into a fiasco which revealed the invisible architecture of exclusion designed to keep the working classes in their places.