The Shebeens and Spaza Shops along the route are like little oasis in a desert. They offer potential refreshment and variety of drink and food and sometimes … neither! Generally the beer come in quart size and is warm, the cold drinks come in 1.25L size and may be chilled to fridge temperature due to the low ambient temperature. The food is non-existent and often a packet of Simba is as good as it’ll get. I never found a large chocolate and a PS bar was the best I could actually do. Despite the above, these stops turn out to be very special havens, the offer a destination marker, something to aim for and the reward of an unplanned drink become highlights on the days these beacons appear.
On the hill down to Boshelweni, the owner was standing on the road with 2 Cokes, Brad promptly quadrupled this order. He was doing a roaring trade once a day every day for 8 days as Freedom riders made their way past. Bonus business.
The chocolate phenomena or rather lack of chocolate rather intrigued me. The kids standing next to the roads begging for sweets should have been a clue. I open the cupboard or pop down to the canteen when I develop a chocolate craving, these kids beg for a sweet, any sweet, any bit of sugar. There were plenty of those in the spaza’s … lollipops and toffees, none costing more than a few cents and even a cent is a scarce and treasured commodity in these parts.