Sunday, September 28, 2008

SA today: the best or worst of times?

Do you share this person's opinion?

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We live in interesting times. And for many South Africans, that is a worrying thing. Judging by most dinner conversations, the suburban psyche appears to be one of gnawing insecurity over where the country is going and obsessing over whether the grass may be greener elsewhere.

But for some South Africans, particularly those such as me who have lived overseas and returned home, such angst is balanced by a different perspective. The rest of the world is not always all that it is cracked up to be, including first world countries, where quality of life is compromised by overcrowding, bureaucracy, high costs of living and limited exposure to the outdoors. Many is the South African who lives such a lifestyle in a city such as London and returns home annually on holiday to find themselves living it up like a king: sunshine, space, gardens, open roads, beautiful countryside, shopping till they drop, easy socialising, affordable entertainment and all the familiarity of its friendly people and culture that make South Africa so appealing (and that make returning elsewhere after one’s holiday so depressing).

Many is the time that I’ve stood at the departures lounge of the airport in Joburg thoroughly depressed at the thought of having to leave South Africa; and then arriving at the dark, cold, impersonal Heathrow Airport at the crack of dawn, faced with the prospect of having to get back into the big rat race with millions of other commuters. Yuk!

But no more. I returned to South Africa a year ago and I’ve never been happier. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time being back and I continue to be in awe of just how much this country has to offer. No wonder South Africa is so highly attractive to tourists; it is a long-haul destination that many people save up for for years in order to make the once in a lifetime journey. And what I think makes South Africa so unique — and I’ve travelled to many countries considered to be top tourist destinations — is the combination of both natural beauty and the sheer friendliness of people, which work together to make for a spiritually uplifting experience. Even the most hardened and negative of the country’s critics will still admit to remaining passionate about many things South African; there can be few other countries that evoke such nostalgia for its tastes, sights and sounds.

So complain, worry and criticise as many people might, my honest opinion is that I find SA to offer an exceptionally high standard of living, that is good value for money and benefits from so many conveniences. Certainly crime is problem, but it does not stop me enjoying day-to-day life here in South Africa. We walk in our neighbourhoods, picnic in the local park and enjoy dropping in on our friends at short notice. We go on holiday where we walk on the beaches and along mountain trails, eat seafood and steaks, drink the best wine and breathe the clean country air. You smile and people smile back at you … even ask you how you are and care about the answer. So don’t be fooled by the incredible noise generated by the naysayers who wish to paint SA as a country of doom and gloom. The truth is that back home we’re all doing what South Africans are best at –enjoying ourselves every day and every moment — and life is too short to live it any other way.

5 Opinion(s):

Anonymous said...

Fine until she is raped and robbed by a gang of AK47 black thugs.

Do you feel lucky, well do you?

WHITEADDER said...

Enjoy your life in the RSA and lets hope for your sake it is not shortened by a typical RSA crime.
If you are able to slalom through all dangers - life is great there.
You just need great instinct and great luck. Will you have this on your side every second ? I somehow doubt this.

Jon said...

Deberman, this is very interesting and seems somewhat of a turnaround. Don't get me wrong, I am glad you're happy being back in South Africa, and I hope that you continue to live there happily. But this blog is basically about all of the things wrongs with SA-crime, corruption, poor education, fears of social stability, etc.-and it seems a little odd for you to just all of a sudden say "Gee, it is a nice place here, despite the crime." Care to explain your seeming change of heart? I do hope to visit SA someday, though as a non-native I will likely not have the same attachment as you do.

Censorbugbear said...

And I live in Cloud Cuckoo land where this is just the very best of all worlds. It's raining money and free peaches everyday.

Doberman said...

Hello Jon

I wasn't the author of the article. Float your cursor over the post title and it will send you to the person that penned it.

I am not back in SA at this time. I just found the person's views worth reading. I somehow suspect that she does not have children and thus that makes feeling positive abt SA a bit easier. Her perspective will change once she has to put children through the education system and keep them locked indoors as they grow. I left SA because of my children, not for myself.

I am a SA native as you put it and I do live in both SA and Aus and no, my opinions on what is wrong with SA hasn't changed. You will see this blog is a little different from the usual rage blogs because we don't attack a race but rather an organisation. That is our focus.

We want to highlight the terrible state of the nation so that it will wake up those that walk around with their heads up their arses (like the author of the article) so that they will first stop denying then accept then act on what needs to be done. Hence our focus on telling the truth and including all viewpoints which is what this article has done to raise your ire.

Anyway, thanks for the question Jon.