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Paradoxes

SOUTH AFRICA | Monday, 11 March 2013 | Views [1094] | Comments [2]

Thursday - Zip lining in the Waterberg Mountains and a certificate to prove it! Perhaps it is being back in Africa that has given me a renewed sense of adventure as it’s not something I would normally think of doing, but so glad I did – 10 lines of varying lengths and speed at around 30 metres above the ground. I could happily have finished the last zipline and started all over again! We started off in cloudy sunshine, waited for the thunder and lightning to subside, or at least for the main storm to pass us by and finished in the rain, which made braking interesting!

Friday - This morning I received another certificate, this one for my time volunteering at Bambelea Wildlife and Monkey Rehabilitation Centre. I am sitting on a Greyhound bus on the way to Midrand reflecting on the last 6 weeks, thoroughly distracted by the sprawling city of Pretoria which I will be visiting in a few days time and in anticipation of meeting up with my old school friend. The bus is very comfortable with stewardess service and we have had a half decent movie to pass the time where there was only veld (bush) to see. I am travelling alone and feeling safe in this beautiful country - so glad to be out and enjoying more than just the small valley which has been ‘home’ for the past 6 weeks.

I would be very disappointed to have come all this way and only seen the volunteer programme area. I would definitely recommend putting aside time to see more of this amazing paradox of a country. A country with the technology and infrastructure to match a European city, painted onto a backdrop of vast wilderness teaming with wildlife, poverty or wealth regardless of the origin of its inhabitants and disregard for race.  

Saturday - Midrand has not escaped the building boom that has taken place since I last visited around 11 years ago. Many people are opting to live in walled compounds, some of the larger ones even housing schools, shopping and medical facilities! Sandton City proudly stands as a living monument to the successes here, a statue of Mandela in the square named after him, flanked by pavement cafés, a massive library and chic shopping mall.  Crime is not something you can ignore and unfortunately immigrants from neighbouring countries are seriously contributing to the problem. Bizarrely it seems that there are similarities here to the UK, whereby borders were opened and immigrants flooded in, taking the jobs that in reality local inhabitants often didn’t want in the first place!

There is no social security here and if you don’t earn (in whatever way possible), you don’t eat. I can’t help but think of the UK and the large numbers of people who “cannot afford to work”! Conversely I look at the sprawling shanty towns, rows of tin shacks, at people struggling to afford these rents which monthly, amount to less than the amount an average smoker in the UK will spend per week on cigarettes!

Ubuntu - a word commonly used here by politicians meaning that the people look out for each other. This being the case, why does one brother drive his prized car into his double garage next to his pool, while another manoeuvres his rusty bicycle into the security of his hut? I’m no politician, but it seems to me that some form of social security is a better option. Sadly the problem is overwhelming and I just can’t see a solution.

 

Tags: africa, crime, greyhound bus, johannesburg, mandela, midrand, politics, ubuntu, waterberg mountains, zip lining

 

Comments

1

We really liked your post and decided to feature it on the WorldNomads Adventures homepage so that other travellers can enjoy it too.

Happy Travels!
Kate

  Kate Hoffman Mar 12, 2013 10:07 AM

2

Thank you Kate, I hope to be able to contribute some useful posts once I start my trip to and then around the South African coast tomorrow.

  butterfly-freed Mar 13, 2013 1:13 AM

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