Marketing & Media News South Africa

The lighter side of life at the coast

Margate is more than a drunken one-night stand. It is a town of colourful characters, who have a love-hate relationship with their town, born out of necessity to pander to holiday makers to earn a living, but loving the peace when they leave.

If Margate were a woman, she would be flirtatious, somewhere between 35 and 45, probably with a few too many one night stands under her suspender belt, a bit overweight around the middle, battling with cellulite, but still attractive when making an effort, and due for a makeover.

And a makeover is what this town has had. Virulent purple, pink, green, yellow and all shades are the colours of choice for the business people who have been told to smarten up their premises. Even street signs are being bent back into shape, traffic lines redrawn and pavements fixed. Watch out in particular for the moulded concrete kitsch with odd pebble arrangements that leap out on various corners - apparently one of the local concrete quarries is on the beautification committee.

Coastal towns are often peopled with those who seem to have opted out of the rat race of city life, who paint a picture of halcyon days which has one reaching for one's cheque book and considering overgrown property with rising damp and a dubious past.

Likeable locals

There is an old South Coast brand slogan: "We are the likeable locals" which should be redeployed.

Tattoo artiste, Clint Pacheco

Tattoo artist, rocker and retailer, Clint Pacheco describes "his Margate" as a getaway from Jo'burg. "It's tranquil man... the shad are still pulling through, you see whales and dolphins from the beach every day... it's beautiful. Come chill and bring your surfboards dudes."

Look out for a barman nicknamed Tinkerbell and Jelly Baby, the pub manageress. They're friendly locals who will share a joke or two with you about their town.

And quite popular are some of the local lasses who man one of the country's biggest phone sex lines, out of season to make a living. I met Sandy in her 50s, who doubles as Maxine, "a 29-year-old dominatrix" in her spare time, and an elegant granny in her 60s whose persona is a 29-year-old buxom blond. "We sell them their own fantasy," says Sandy of her callers, "We don't get emotionally involved." It's a serious business though, employing up to 25 women at a time, 24 hours a day.

But there are dogs too...

Miss Hibiscus, Blu

Mr Hibiscus, Dino

Then there is Joan Owen, of Owen Professional Animal Promotions, who runs the annual Mr & Miss Hibiscus competition... for dogs. Last year's winners included Blu, a stunning Australian Sheepdog named for her blue eyes, and gorgeous Dino the Bulldog. We got pix (Dino ate his crown, so he was lent one for the photo op).

And yes girls... the lifeguards are gorgeous too!

Joan Owen & Jemima

Owen's own pooch, Jemima, a cross-terrier, has an entire wardrobe. For, she was photographed in her spring bonnet and aqua sun dress.

Owen says her Margate is about "waiting for the unexpected" because you never know what is going to happen next.

The stoic Madam Mayor Nolwazi Shusha and her buff bodyguard, Dwayne, the mayoral gold chain and pashmina in hand, are next on the list of interviews. She says she is very happy Loeries are being held in Margate and would encourage visitors to visit B&Bs in the rural areas as well. Her wish is that people experience the full cultural diversity of the area and go back with a great experience of great hospitality. "I don't understand much about advertising, but we all watch TV and advertising is very powerful."

Margate "is lekker soes 'n dubbel dekker cracker" to quote one of the locals! Here's your chance to find out - see you on the beach!

But watch out for the three "Rs" should you decide that you can afford property on the South Coast: "Rust, Relatives and Retardation" are sure to follow!

About Louise Marsland

Louise Burgers (previously Marsland) is Founder/Content Director: SOURCE Content Marketing Agency. Louise is a Writer, Publisher, Editor, Content Strategist, Content/Media Trainer. She has written about consumer trends, brands, branding, media, marketing and the advertising communications industry in SA and across Africa, for over 20 years, notably, as previous Africa Editor:; Editor: Bizcommunity Media/Marketing SA; Editor-in-Chief: AdVantage magazine; Editor: Marketing Mix magazine; Editor: Progressive Retailing magazine; Editor: BusinessBrief magazine; Editor: FMCG Files newsletter. Web:
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