It was Tim Hewitt-Coleman who wrote recently; “But, while [Sardinia Bay’s] dunes may move steadily in their path and the ocean may look different every Sunday, what is unchanging in this landscape has been “Gunter’s Wurst Wagen”. Yes, that’s right, for as long as I can remember, this little german sausage “Food Truck” could be found in this remote little piece of Africa regardless of the weather or the time of year. A winter morning run would not be complete without huddling in the car park against fake tudor trailer from the blustery cold wind with a warm cup of Gunter’s hot chocolate (with those little marshmallows floating on the top.)
Read more here: Has anyone seen Gunter’s Wurst Wagen?
With a background of ‘disappearing roads’, condemned life saving club, condemned ski-boat club and the eradication of ‘horsey people’ regular visitors to Sardinia Bay have seen the numbers of beachgoers dwindle. So, it would follow that a dwindling source of income would eventually encourage traders like Gunter to find ‘greener’ pastures without the meddling input of officialdom.
BUT, that lumo vest security guard always made people wonder just exactly what he was guarding – other than the occasional water and coffee from Gunter of course!
Something didn’t seem right with Gunter disappearing off the scene so MyPE had a chat with him to find out a little bit more.
An Industrial Confectioner by profession, Gunter came to South Africa in 1980 to work for Cadbury. In November 1992, during the euphoria of the new dispensation and a new South Africa, Gunter started the Wurst Wagen to; “See how it would work!”
“After seeing the figures I got very excited that I would be able to make a decent living and, in 1993, I gave in my notice at Cadburys to concentrate full time on my mobile food business, establishing myself on the closest beach to my home in Kragga Kamma,” says Gunter.
Like clockwork Gunter has paid his trading license at the Beach Office in September/October every year since, saying that he was told from the beginning that he had to be mobile. As a consequence he sets up and removes his trailer every trading day.
Just before Easter of 2018 he was told that the trading licenses would now be part of a tender process but “not to worry’.
In mid September an unnamed Parks Official informed Gunter that he would not be allowed to trade from day that his present licence expired, noting that if he did continue to trade without a licence that he could be subjected to a R10 000 fine. Rumours also said that his equipment could be confiscated.
Towards the end of September Gunter approached the Beach Office and spoke to a Louis Nieuwoudt followed by Nelson Mandela Bay Director for beaches and resorts, Kithi Ngesi – both of whom indicated that no licenses would be issued until the tender process had been complete.
Allow me to digress a little here: Surely a caring government would realise that their actions were about to make a large segment of the population upset (especially those who like to drink a hot chocolate – with those little marshmallows floating on the top)? AND, more importantly, would be denying Gunter the ability to make money to sustain himself and keep the Security Guard company and in water?
Being the law abiding all round good guy that he his, Gunter quietly closed shop on 13 October – his final day of legal trading.
AND, just like that, 26 years of an institution that attracted tourists from all over to the world to a magnificent beach, died.
For 26 Years the Wurst Wagen has traded on every Public Holiday and Weekends and daily for the high season’s three weeks from 16 December.
Where does this leave Gunter?
His stock and plans for high season are now in tatters as the return date for tender proposals is 19 November and the preparation for high season needs to be done now.
As Gunter says; “I have always accepted that I have no sole trading rights and am in agreement with that. I have seen around 10 other traders come and go in my time at Sardinia Bay.”
The Wurst Wagen will be putting in a tender – it is all done and ready to go. Even if Gunter is successful it will never be the same. It will take a man greater than most to forgive a faceless, uncaring committee for putting one through financial hardship and forcing unwanted change upon your status quo.
At the age of 69 Gunter has been dealt a blow to his one man business that will be difficult to recover from.
At the moment his fate lies in the hands of Kithi Ngesi, Tracey Weisse – Ward 1 Councillor, Godfrey Murrel – Acting Director of Environmental Management and the faceless committees that make these ill informed decisions.
Gunter says that his happiest most peaceful moments were; “Early in the day, when the road was still open and I could see the beach, unobstructed by the dunes and with no-one there.”
“I have no plans to go anywhere else, should my application not be successful,” concluded Gunter.
Related Video: Where is Gunter’s Wurst Wagen?
Some comments from Gunters Wurst Wagen Facebook Page:
- Janet Pattison – Sards won’t be the same without you
- Ralph Clark – You are part of the attraction of our local beach. Can we not support you in any way around the application?
- Tana Kruger – Nee! Wurstwagen is deel van Sardiniabaai!
- Nicola Smith – No!!!!!! Surely something can be done!
- Emmi Rausch – Das tut uns furchtbar leid. Wir drücken euch die Daumen, dass der Wurstwagen in Sardinia Bay als eine Institution und Attraktion gerettet werden kann.
- Grant Bresler – No doubt that they’re wanting to open up the option to buddy or tenderpreneur friend of Bobani!
- Carolanne Mcghee – Awful awful news for us travellers from Durban, u are and have been our highlight for over 20yrs of visiting Sards. Most distressing news
- Tim Hewitt-Coleman – This is just a lot of bullshit! We are supporting governments that are obsessed with rule making rather than being focused on defending our freedoms. Why should a permit be required at all.?? What about healthy competition? Go WurstWagen!!!
- Ronwyn Langton – Make sure you get your spot back there!
- Susan Zeiss – So sorry to hear this and hope you are back soon!
- Jo Daniels – We miss you Gunter…hope to see you very soon…..we have coming to you at Sards for over 20 years…this is such nonsense
- Hildegard Nuhs Copeland – Oh no, what’s the trouble and I was so looking forward to a lekker brunch from the Wurstwagen ! Hoffentlich sehen wir euch bald wieder!
- Gail Brown – So sorry to hear this, Gunther. Absolutely ridiculous. Most of us come to Sard because of the Wurstwagen.