There are very few things in this world that I recommend without qualification. For instance, I myself believe that Sprite Zero is one of the most amazing inventions of the 21st century, but I understand that some people might not like it. I feel the same way about Fritos, driving, public swimming pools, Durban‚Äôs beaches, Danny Brown, pin oaks, CIGARETTES, jeans from H&M, Blood Meridian, talking about Russia for a long time, that bit in A Prophet where the old man tries to take someone‚Äôs eye out with a spoon, Lolita, astrology, Goa, and the colour orange. I love all these things to distraction, but I know that they are not to everyone‚Äôs taste. I will not think less of someone because they don‚Äôt love astrology as much as me. We will run into problems, however, if I find out that someone doesn‚Äôt love Mini Town. The only people who don‚Äôt love Mini Town are people with literally no feelings. You have to love Mini Town. It‚Äôs important. It‚Äôs the law.
Want to feel like you are in a music video? A shitty music video, but a music video nonetheless? Obviously you do, and I can help you out with that. Go to Mini Town. Want to feel like you are a giant or a king, in total command of everything the light touches? Again, Mini Town. Want to think for a long time about what kind of person decided to build a scaled down replica of Durban? A tiny City Hall, a tiny harbour, a tiny airport, all perfectly scaled to 1:24 of the size. Really, though, who decided to do this? Is this an outsider art situation? Whose idea was this? Where is the oral history of Mini Town that we all so desperately need? The way to answer these questions is to go to Durban and then go to Mini Town. You‚Äôll start off attempting to enjoy it in an ironic way, because you‚Äôre a dick like that, but soon you will be overcome by the sheer raw power of its vibes. A tiny city, laid out before you! A tiny sad plane on the way to nowhere. You will feel like you are hallucinating, and you will not be alarmed. You have to go.
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Name: Mini Town
Alternate Names: Oh my God, Mini Town; HA HA MINI TOWN; It‚Äôs Mini Town, Bitch; The Best Place.
Age: 53 years old.
Family: It would be very easy to find out whether or not other Mini Towns exist in this world, but I don‚Äôt want to do that. I would be very happy to go through the rest of my life believing Mini Town to be the only one of its kind. Let me have this. If you find out that Mini Town has a relative in Lisbon, or something, please keep it to yourself.
Star sign: Whatever the best star sign is.
Amazing and cool things
Extremely poor taste ‚Äì there is a carefully staged accident scene in Mini Town that should not be there. This is technically a tourist attraction for little children, and do they need to see a car accident in miniature form? They do not.
Highly visible advertising ‚Äì a lot of the buildings are sponsored by local businesses, and they do not hold back from making this fact known.
The illusion of industry
Favourite Food: ¬†Weird stuff that you used to be able to buy at the beachfront, like a whole half a pineapple on a stick, or very shitty ice cream.
Favourite Colour: Whatever the best colour is.
Trivia: I once went to Mini Town like a week after a break-up, and I swear to God it fixed me. It is literally impossible to be sad there. It‚Äôs against the law.
Favourite Movie: You are thinking Amelie or something sassy like that, but Mini Town actually hates quirky stuff. It has transcended quirkiness, and its favourite movie is Jaws.
Smoking Y/N: it feels like you should be allowed to smoke, but you may not.
Drinking Y/N: Drinking is forbidden at all times, which is fine, because it makes you feel drunk anyway.
Celebrity Crush: Someone either very very tall, for contrast (for example Brooke Shields) or very short, for comedy (for example Tom Cruise).
Most Memorable Holiday: Mini Town never goes on holiday because its whole goddamn LIFE is a holiday.
Favourite Season: ¬†Summer
Favourite Book: Some trivia for you ‚Äì Mini Town actually never learned how to read, because reading is for nerds and Mini Town is whatever the opposite of a nerd is.
Perfect First Date: Doesn‚Äôt really matter, as long as there are no children present. Mini Town LOVES children, do not get it wrong on that, but shit why do they make so much noise all the time and why are they always spilling juice on themselves. Mini Town would like to go on a date to a place where children are completely not invited, like maybe a strip club or an extremely violent movie.
What is next for Mini Town: Mini Town forges ahead like the champion that it is.
Rosa Lyster is a writer living in Cape Town. She writes an essay a week at¬†rosalyster.com.
Photographs by Samora Chapman.