Durban's Indians add Asian spice to World Cup

Fri Jul 2, 2010 8:57am EDT
 
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By Nick Mulvenney

DURBAN (Reuters Life!) - Durban's Indian community have firmly embraced the World Cup and lashings of their famed local curry and a deep passion for soccer have added a distinctly Asian spice to the tournament's warmest venue.

Half a million strong, Durban's Indians have contributed a clear majority of South African fans at the six matches at the city's Moses Mabhida Stadium so far, as well as a significant presence at the hugely popular beachfront.

"The Indian community has really backed the World Cup," said Dennis Chetty, peering from behind aromatic mounds of "Durban Masala" and "Mother-In-Law hellfire" in his spice shop in the city's Victoria Street market.

"It hasn't done much for the spice business, but actually I've been shocked that it has gone so well. I thought there'd be lots of problems with crime and so on."

With a nine-day lull between the round of 16 match between the Dutch and Slovakia and next week's second semi-final, many Durbanites have been talking about the World Cup in the past tense this week.

Chetty's fellow-trader Abdullah Mohammad was, however, looking forward to another chance to change the perceptions of thousands of foreign visitors when two of Germany, Argentina, Spain and Paraguay clash on July 7 for a place in the final.

"People thought South Africa was just a jungle but tourists have now seen what it's like and will take positive reports back home and hopefully come back," he said as he doled out drinks, confectionary and cigarettes from his kiosk.

World Cup fans have also been able to enjoy the many Indian contributions to Durban culinary culture, not least the unique local snack -- a hollowed-out loaf of bread filled with curry which rejoices in the name Bunny Chow.   Continued...