Category Archives: The story of a Durban girl

Post 203. The Basement 2003


2003: So, we had found a beautiful apartment for our family and a community hang out flat for weekly  meetings but we still needed a place for the whole community.


Fixing up The Basement

After months of viewing some awful places, we found a big basement in E-14,  Kailash Colony.  It was a mess but we could see the potential. We got in there and fixed it up with fans, lights, toilets, a kitchen and lots of plugs. We painted the wall blue and it was arty and colourful. Josh did some graffiti on it to liven it up. It was then that we started our Friday Night Coffee Bars.


CCC (Capital City Church) was full of musicians and creative people.  The Ugandans kept it noisy and lively.   Duke, Mark, Ronnie, Alan and Barbara came with their incredible stories of life in Africa.

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Those who were locked into one genre were stretched.   We were every genre.  An American group taught us Four-Square dancing, someone else taught us couple dances,  all kinds of people took to the stage whenever they wanted to.  Originals flowed and we were amazed at the incredible giftedness of the young people in our lives.

Our power supply was a challenge and we needed a generator.  Someone suggested we have a “Mad Hatters” night to raise some funds.  The hats were crazy! They were too good to keep in the basement so we went into Kailash Colony market to show them off.  We invited people to come back for coffee and quite a few followed us.  Some kept coming week after week. The hats were auctioned and we made over Rs 30,000!  Most of it came from the visitors who had come off the street.  It was an amazing night.


Then there were Bingo nights, movie nights, table tennis, darts, carom, UNO, Scrabble and Open Mic nights.  They were all big hits and Friday Night Coffee Bar was the place to be.


When someone had a birthday they would bring a cake or sweet meats to celebrate themselves.  The worship times were celebratory and many encountered the love of Jesus and His community.  There were those who loved us before they loved Jesus.  They were part of the community and attended everything for years before crossing over.  We never pressurised them or tried to convert them.  We loved them and they loved us, then they loved Jesus.

Peace sign

We learnt the importance of having fun.  Lots of it.  To be unreligious and down-to-earth.  To love unconditionally, all who walked through those doors.  To build a culture of honouring all people from all backgrounds and cultures.  To bless the community through great entertainment and a good, clean environment.  To give strangers a place to rest their weary heads after a long week of intensity in the capital.

Zoe, Sharon and Ash

Zoe, Sharon and Ash

While we were underground, we were very visible.  Hundreds of people walked into “The Basement”.   There was always someone to sit and chat to and of course, always Vinod’s famous coffee* to enjoy.

*Even “coffee snobs” loved Vinod’s steamed milky coffee.  We never let on it was BRU; the cheapest coffee/chicory available.


Post 4. Dad was a D.J.

Happy chaos at the Bluff Drive-In

Happy chaos at the Bluff Drive-In

Dad was also the DJ at the Bluff Drive-in for many years.  Every Friday and Saturday night we would pile into our embarrassingly big-winged red Holden station wagon and head off for the drive-in.  Goodness knows how many we packed in there; blankets, pillows, friends and anything else that would fit.  The memories are numerous and pleasant except for one.  Parking.  Poor Wilf just couldn’t get it right.  The bumps were a challenge. He either parked too far to the left or too far to the right.  Then he didn’t go up enough and the bottom of the screen was cut off. Then he was too far up and those at the back couldn’t see the top of the screen.  It happened every time.  He just couldn’t please us all. When Val started manifesting, we all jumped out and disappeared with our blankets and pillows and Wilf went into his DJ box to entertain the world.  He played the latest songs and ran competitions during interval and between movies.  He had Lynne McCann the go-go girl dancing on the roof of a car, people running all over the Drive-In to find clues and hopefully win prizes.  He was great. He was also blissfully unaware that his teenage children were meeting boyfriends and girlfriends and smooching in all kinds of dark drive-in places. 16 year old Sue (the first born) dressed in her full white cat suit with loop belt, was approached by a rather suave and charming young man who asked for a bite of her chocolate crunchy.  His name was Rigby.

There was a big rusted out ship behind the screen and we spent hours climbing around in it before the movies started and during every break that there was.

The Holden and the park.

The Holden and the park.

Rain and the drive-in should not have been compatible but they were.  It was a time when our whole family snuggled up under blankets and watched the movie between the to-ing and fro-ing of the windscreen wipers.  Driving home, tired and movie-d out was amazing.  When we were much smaller, the four of us would  lie on our backs in the back of the station wagon and listen to the soft voices of our parents talking all the way home.  Lying on my back, with my eyes closed, I got quite good at working out all the bends in the roads, which traffic light we were stopping at, which part of the Southern  Freeway we were on, when we were entering Woodlands, our driveway at 28 Rolleston Place. At that point my eyes would close and I would pretend to be asleep. Wilf and Val would then make trips to carry us into the house and put us all into bed.  Dave (18 months my “senior”) once made the mistake of opening his eyes and saying, “Thanks dad” as he was put onto his bed. That was the last night of carrying for him.  I wasn’t as polite and just a little bit smarter.