Saturday, 18 May 2013

Snippets of South Africa

I have realised that, apart from what I have written on my About Me page, my followers and readers do not know much about me. Perhaps that is because I don’t speak about myself that much. I just think of a topic and write about it. Perhaps I have never thought my life interesting enough to share with you. However, I thought I might add a personal touch to this blog by telling you more about myself and the country (South Africa) that I live in. Let’s start with South Africa.

South Africa is like a wild botanical garden. It is perfectly civilised (contrary to what you o’er the seas might think) yet fill of conflict. We live in normal houses on normal streets and we have normal shops (though no Starbucks as of yet, which is really a misfortune). Some people think that the only white people here are missionaries which is ridiculously humorous. In some parts of South Africa it can rain for months and in others it snows and gets freezing cold. The only “wild” animals we see are in zoos, game parks and the like. It might not be as advanced as America in technology, but we do have apple computers, blackberries and every other form of technology you can think of. We even make movies (though, I’ll admit, most of them are not worth watching).

Wildlife and the scenery in South Africa vary from where you go. Where I currently live, we don’t get enough rain, the land is relatively flat and it’s not that pretty. Go somewhere else and you’ll find richly green-lands and huge mountains and the blue sea. Some places are desert-like, others flood. That’s something I love about South Africa; it has so much diversity; Diversity in weather, vegetation, culture and language. Though English is over-all the main language (as in most people can speak it, even if only a little), we have 11 official languages. And I can only speak two: English (my home language) and Afrikaans (it’s similar to Dutch, just much simpler).

As I said earlier, it’s also a country full of conflict. Politically unstable and crime extremely high, you may think it’s dangerous to live here. Which in a way is true, yet I generally feel perfectly safe. Of course, we cannot just walk around and go anywhere we like, as many in America do. Public taxis are not the safest and most people won’t just take a walk alone to town or at night (though it depends on where you live). The education system is deficient in many schools and the curriculum standard is low (thankfully, I did Cambridge AS Levels like they do in England), though the Universities are quite good. Striking is a big problem and poverty is all around, though perhaps not as much as you think.  So yes, this country has many problems; I have not even touched upon that many. Yet there is also good if you look for it. I am what we call proudly South African (though in terms of blood, I am half Portuguese, a quarter Irish and the other quarter is a mixture of British, French and who knows what else) and despite its setbacks, I do love my country. Anyway I hope you found these snippets of South Africa interesting and enlightening.