Nandipha Pantsi
3 minute read
28 May 2014
12:00 pm

Taking a sho’t left with My Mzansi Adventure

Nandipha Pantsi

'Sho't left, driver," is perhaps one of the most used terms in local travel.

BEHIND THE SCENES. Zola Hashatsi speaks to students at Arts on Main. Picture: Supplied.

It’s what a taxi commuter says to tell the taxi driver: “I want to jump off just around the corner.”

In a new travel show, South Streets – My Mzansi Adventure, Zola Hashatsi discovers some of the best places to travel to in South Africa, and hopes to prove to South Africans and himself that you don’t have to travel far to have a good time. You can literally just take a “sho’t left”.

“I was born and raised in Johannesburg,” says Hashatsi, “but I had never been to the Maboneng precinct. When I got there for the first time, I was amazed by the variety of things to do right here in town.”

What grabbed Hashatsi’s attention the most in Maboneng was the Blackanese sushi bar.

“It’s like a sushi bar but very different,” he says.

It all began with Vusi Kunene’s dream a few years ago. While working as a waiter in Cape Town, Kunene fell in love with the Japanese art of making sushi. He would spend a lot of time reading about it, but didn’t get a chance to taste it until he moved to another restaurant. Even though he loved the taste, he decided to come up with sushi that would be more attractive to the African palate.

This infusion of African culture with the Japanese cuisine is what gave birth to Blackanese. Now, this unique restaurant is one of the trendiest places in Johannesburg. According to Hashatsi, Blackanese is one of the hidden gems of Johannesburg.

“I’ve met tourists who know more about South Africa than I do,” says Hashatsi.

“South Africa is a lucky packet of opportunity and adventure, and you never know what you are going to get.”

Hashatsi’s journey around the country has been one full of surprises – one of the biggest so far being his experience in Soweto.

“As a Joburger, I never thought I could be in Soweto and spend the day like a tourist, but that is exactly what I did,” he smiles.

“Sometimes you get so caught up in doing the same old things, that you don’t realise the possibilities for fun right on your doorstep.”

Hashatsi has enjoyed outdoor adventures such as quad biking, bungee jumping, and boat rides in the heart of his community. As a young and energetic television presenter who can speak five languages, Hashatsi believes he is a good bet to showcase some of the beauty of our country.

“I am very scared of heights,” he says with a laugh, “but I recently bungee-jumped off a cliff for the show! I think that makes me the best person for the job!”

Hashatsi made his debut on television as a presenter of iCrew, and featured in Ekasi: Our Stories.

He admits that hosting a travel show is a bit out of his comfort zone, but he is enjoying the challenge. During the series, Hashatsi will visit the Maluti Mountains, the caves in The Cradle of Humankind, Port Elizabeth and the backpacking community in Cape Town.