Tuesday, 13 July 2010

My farewell to the rainbow nation

It was often said before the World Cup that South Africa is the world's best kept secret. Well now, after successfully hosting one of the most exciting and memorable World Cup tournaments in history, its safe to say - the secret is well and truly out.

I've tried to regularly share my experiences and observations whilst being here and I hope - if you're not familiar with South Africa - that my ramblings have given you some valuable insight and sparked a little intrigue.

To come to a place like South Africa and allow what you've heard to control your actions and poison your perception is a crime, it defeats the purpose of your journey (unless you're here purely on business). In reality, very few things in life meet your expectations, whatever they are - for better or for worse. In South Africa's case, in my experience, this place has been positively so much more than I could have wished for.

If I was expecting to have a torturous time, dodging bullets, running from machete gangs and ballsing my valuables - I can near enough guarantee that at least one of those delightful experiences would have been granted to me.

Instead, I came here with my arms wide open and surprise surprise, the majority of people I met here greeted me in kind. Granted - I wasn't dripping with diamonds and holding an iPad in one hand and a Blackberry in the other - but do that in London's Liverpool street or New York's 5th street and you're simply courting trouble.

There are areas of South Africa where people are desperately poor, living in Townships and squats where their comforts are tin roofs and roadside fires. Many people know about these things (from a far) but you've got to see it with you're own eyes and breathe in the smoke.

Damning and avoiding a whole country (in many cases - the whole continent) in ignorant fear of the millions of people who are living in dire conditions is not going to help anybody. I sincerely encourage you to travel to places all over the world that you may have unjustly formed a negative opinion of, challenge your perceptions, get your hands dirty and open a dialogue with the people who actually live there. If you have no opinion there's less excuses and even more reason to get involved and form one.

I've always been curious about South Africa and I'm exceedingly thankful for the opportunity I was given to be here. My only regret is that I waited for an opportunity and didn't make it my business to be here sooner.

Alas, this brings my South African journey to a close, next stop?

I hear there's a well known football tournament happening somewhere in South America in a couple of years...

- Mr Devo

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Blogger Yichun said...

China! China!

13 July 2010 at 08:18  

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