Buzwe Potwana is one of the recognisable car spinners, a growing but dangerous craze in South Africa that involves high roaring engines, and the smell of burning rubber from squalling tyres and cheering crowds, as BMW’s do twists and turns for entertainment. Eastern Cape News visited Potwana to find out more about the attitude, challenges and dangers he faces in his beloved hobby.
ECN: Tell us about your involvement in spinning, when and how did you become involved in spinning cars?
BP: My interest started in 2010 when I used to watch some guys around the township who used to do it illegal. I then sold my Toyota Tazz and bought a BMW, I started spinning in 2012 and I never stopped since then. I used to practice here in the field next to my home until I felt I was good enough to go out and do it in the streets around the township.
ECN: Speaking about spinning cars in the streets, have you ever been in trouble with the law?
BP: I was arrested once for spinning at the Highway taxi rank. The thing is you do not plan spinning on a public road, excitement takes over when your fans see your car and they start cheering and that entices you. When you hear the roar of the engine it’s hard to resist.
ECN: How do people in general react to your hobby, and do you think it’s a right thing to put other people’s lives in danger?
BP: I think people in general do not understand what goes on in the mind of a spinner, they think we are drug dealers. Like my family does not support and understand my hobby, you find people asking me why am I damaging the car. Do not get me wrong I support that spinning should be done in a safe and controlled environment, but you just cannot control it when the excitement takes over.
ECN: We are aware that for you to be able to do the maneuvers, the car must travel at high speeds, tell us about the dangers involved and whether you have ever had a life threatening experience.
BP: I have had a few accidents but they were not serious except for the last one I had where my car was a total wreck, but fortunately I suffered bruises and a fractured arm while travelling from King Williamstown. I had to buy another body and literally rebuild my car from scratch with the parts I salvaged from that wreckage.
ECN: Your hobby sounds very expensive, how much do you spend on repairs monthly?
BP: Repairs are costly, for instance if you blow an engine you have to spend around R 5000 or more to buy another one, but luckily we have contacts and we can buy parts easily as I mentioned that I was able to find a body after wrecking my car.
ECN: Do you regard this as a sport and if yes where would you want to see it go?
BP: This is a passion but we would like to make it a sport. At the moment we are experiencing a decline in spinning activities because we have no place to do it legally and the high costs involved. If Government could designate a place for us I think that could keep young people busy because spinning is popular among them.