Café-de-Move-On, Braamfontein, Johannesburg. November 1964
  Audio Narrationby David Goldblatt (3:20 min.; requires Shockwave)
 
Café-de-Move-On
 
dagga: marijuana
  In the early 1960s cafés-de-move-on, or coffee-carts, were the dominant source of food for Johannesburg's African workers during the work day. The carts stood on sidewalks and patches of veld wherever there were substantial numbers of African workers in need of refreshment, mostly near railroad and bus stations and factory gates. Early in the morning--many carts were open by 5 a.m.--then during tea and lunch breaks customers would cluster around the carts, chatting, drinking from jam tins of tea or coffee, sitting on boxes and upturned drums. The fare was basic. Regular customers might get credit from one payday to the next. There were carts that stayed open late to serve illicit liquor, a few that sold dagga, and, for customers in dire need, some that became cramped and highly illegal overnight accommodation.

Carts were built from the cast-offs of White Johannesburg. Once parked on the chosen spot they were seldom moved. In 1962 there were some 2,000 of them in Johannesburg. Within three years there were none: the authorities had won a twenty-year war against the coffee-carts, the "aunties" were put out of business and their carts destroyed. Perforce now customers had to find food at places that suited them less: eating-houses, fish and chip friers, and corner cafés. Then in the 70s factory canteens, long established for Whites but thought by many employers to be "unnecessary" for Blacks, and which workers had resisted as being a ploy by bosses to keep wages down, gradually became their principal source of meals.
Café-de-Move-On
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David Goldblatt

©1998 The Museum of Modern Art, New York