All they know is that the piece of white cloth around their waist is called the doti and it’s Indian. They are seen in the stands of Kingsmead selling ice cream to the crowd, which is predominantly of Indian origin. To make the Indian connect more obvious, their employers have decked them up suitably.
Stanton, one of the vendors, is South African and does odd jobs. “I’m told it’s called doti and is worn in India. This is the first time I’m wearing one. My employers (ice cream company Ola) supplied this and told me to wear it on all match days.”
Instead of the more intricate way of tying it, they wear the dhoti in the South Indian style. The Indian look is complete with a vest and a turban, although Stanton and his colleague Ismail don’t know much them. “It’s a bandana, isn’t it? What’s it called in India?” asked Ismail.
It didn’t make sense to them that in parts of India the turban is also called a pagri. “I’ve sold ice cream in the stands before for the same company but this is the first time that I’m in wearing this,” Stanton said, adding that they were expected to wash the turbans each time they wore them.
Having the biggest percentage of people of Indian descent in South Africa, Durban offers a distinct flavour that reminds a newcomer here of India. At the Kingsmead, 80 per cent of the crowd is of Indian origin, curry stalls are aplenty and at every break, Hindi film songs blare from the loudspeakers. The sight of ice cream vendors in dotis completes the picture of an event made in India.