Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Everybody's Free To Feel Good!

Apparently Rozalla - who sang that - was actually Namibian, but we'll ignore that as it was about Mandela's release, the rebirth of South Africa, which is highly suitable as I'm typing this from my b&b in Joburg.

It was honestly like stepping forward 80 or so years having gone from Mozambique to Joburg. In a way that observation is unfair, as we weren't in Maputo at any point, which is the most developed and modern part of the country. Wimbi is particularly undeveloped - so hard to get to from almost anywhere, despite six flights a week from Maputo. But, nonetheless, it was a real culture shock to be somewhere with computers running everything, including immigration, with fantastic roads.

I can't really go into too much detail now because I really, sadly, don't have the time, but the nature of race relations, of the attitudes and cultures here are going to be with me for a long time yet. The best part of Joburg - even better than hot water with a lot of water pressure - is seeing black Africans getting on with their lives and not living in relation to white people's demands, to serve them by washing their cars, bringing their food. Mozambique was wonderful, so chilled, but the relationship between black and white is nowhere near equal; it's utterly regressive. One person actually said they liked it because it was more colonial, which was just... crushing. The telltale word is "they," which is automatic shorthand for the locals i.e. Black Africans.

Anyway, enough to say that Joburg is a world apart from where we've been for the last two weeks, despite being next door.

We're off to Cape Town by train tomorrow - cannot wait!

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