Some of Cape Town’s bars and clubs are reshaping their entry-rules. Their hope is to draw an exclusive clientele, which is as many World Cup fans as possible, come June. For some reason, they think that soccer fans would want to go to posh clubs and sip champagne in an exclusive bar/lounge. Obviously, they’ve never been to a soccer match.
Sarah goes soccer!
Sarah Osman (1980) was born in Sudan, and has been living in the Netherlands for the past 11 years. She’s been working in the field of development cooperation for the past 3 years, and has recently decided to take her skills and knowledge back to Africa. Her first stop is Cape Town, South Africa. After her column Wanted! Home in Africa for RNW, Sarah goes soccer. In this latest column, she will share with us her experiences of the build-up to the 2010 World Cup in Cape Town. Not the mainstream news, but background stories that often get missed in the euphoria of the big event.
While Cape Town is a popular playground with bottled-water-clutching models, it is also home to middle-class South Africans who want to let loose every now and then and have a good dance. With this new need to glamorise their clubs to cater for the soccer fans, that group of customers is slowly being alienated by several establishments in Cape Town.
The nightlife in the city has noticeably changed. That change is most obvious at places that were already aiming at the high-end customer. But now they have taken up entry-policies that are irrational and that seem inappropriate for an event such as the World Cup. A Capetonian friend of mine wanted to organise an outing for us at one of Greenpoint’s night clubs and she thought it would be a good idea to reserve a table. The manager wrote her an email saying that it would only be possible on the condition that we spend at least ZAR 1,200 on two bottles of spirits or champagne, a completely unnecessary amount of money.
Her response was: “Your table reservation policy is quite surprising and a little exorbitant… I have watched your club change little by little...It has definitely always attracted a sophisticated crowd. That’s ok. More recently, it is catering to a trendier, chic and branded crowd, most of them carrying euros. If this is your market, so be it! But what happens after the World Cup, I wonder?”
“My problem is that the hiked up prices suggest that one has to pay for the privilege (for lack of a better word) of being at your club. But what exactly are we paying for? Maybe it’s the prospect of hoards of party animals banging down the doors to get into the place that has prompted the management to take action by implementing this table reservation policy, in which case why don’t you just charge admission instead?”
Of course, the nature of business is to make lots of money as fast as possible. Fair enough. But the logic in this scenario escapes me. First of all, football brings people out on to the streets, dressed in the colours of their team, with one thing on their mind – support their team all the way. I can’t imagine a bunch of English football fans wanting to go to a glitzy place with a fussy bouncer who will tell them that they can’t go in because they are wearing sneakers. Second, they are alienating a large number of locals whom might not come back after the World Cup.