Welcome to Week 15 of my #Gauteng52 challenge, for which I will visit and blog about a new place in Gauteng Province every week for 52 straight weeks. This week I visit the Majestic video store in Greenside.
DVDs are still a thing in South Africa. Netflix only made its way here a few months ago and lots of people (including me) don’t have it. When I feel like watching a movie, I still go to the video store.
I had never noticed the Majestic video store, although it’s less than ten minutes from my house and I’d driven and walked past it many times. Fortunately my friend Marie-Lais introduced me to the Majestic a few weeks ago, when I went there with her to take photos for the Citizen “Other Side of the City” column. The Majestic will be my go-to video store from now on.
Henni Erasmus and the Majestic Video Store
Slow South African internet and lack of Netflix aside, many of you might wonder how a brick-and-mortar video store can really survive and thrive in the year 2017. The answer, my friends, is Henni Erasmus.
In 2017 there is no longer need for bland, Blockbuster-like video stores with rows and rows of new releases and bored teenagers chewing gum behind the counter. Anyone with an internet connection can go online and download a bootleg of the latest big-budget comic-book-super-hero flick. But how about those of us who yearn for something different but don’t know exactly what? How do we find the obscure BBC documentary about Daft Punk that is exactly what we’re in the mood for but we don’t know it yet? We don’t need the internet for this. We need a human.
Henri Erasmus is that human. I only spent 45 minutes with Henni but I’m reasonably sure he knows more about movies — especially documentaries and South African movies — than anyone else in Johannesburg. Henni knows about the blockbusters and the classics, the gay films and the Disney movies and everything in between.
The Majestic is Henni’s place and I have a feeling that as long as Henni is around, the Majestic will be around too.
There’s a lot more I could say about Henni and the Majestic, but I’m short on time and I think you’ve got the idea. Pay Henni a visit and be sure to ask him about his group theatre trips.