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rainbow nation

The invisible colour within the rainbow nation of

SOUTH AFRICA | Wednesday, 14 May 2014 | Views [198] | Scholarship Entry

On my way to Hermanus, I had the chance to meet Tabani, a young black man, short and thin, with his eyes wide open to everything and everyone around him. He was a character himself: despite his small appearance, he used grand gestures and made jokes every minute or so. I could sense his uncertainty though. He desperately wanted us to like him. Us, coming from all over the world, sharing the same opposite skin colour, with slightly variations. He was our driver and guide for the day. I was impressed to watch him struggle to capture our interest by sharing with us all information he gathered in time about the migration of Southern Right whales and about the stunning vegetation of the Harold Porter National Botanical Garden.
The scenery was breathtaking, as in all vast, ancient, wild and ‘‘free’’ South Africa. I simply enjoyed a magnificent coastal drive and experienced the majestic beauty of the silent whales basking in the warm waters off the Hermanus coastline. Whale watching from shore or boats between June and November when Southern Right whales breed in the bay is a favourite thing to do.
Later on, after all the other tourists left, I had a chat with Tabani. He was living in a township near Cape Town, where you can meet all sorts of people. He had the ambition to go to college and stay educated, in order to make for himself a better life and to start a family of his own. We passed by the township and I was stunned to see how many people lived there in informal settlements. I could only get a small glimpse of witnessing his every day life in a harsh environment which tells of the struggles, hopes and achievements. He told me that around 2 million persons live in the shacks.
He had to return the car to the agency and exchange it with another. He was late and I could see him stressed about it. His Afrikaaner boss, owner of a Dutch transportation company, looked down on him and rebuked him. He was only 5 minutes late! I felt rage, as if my dignity was at risk. I though about Madiba’s words concerning opression in the rainbow nation of Africa, and felt ashamed of my skin colour. At the same time, I had so much admiration for Tabani. He proved to be tata’s real follower, behaving with ubuntu.

Tags: 2014 Travel Writing Scholarship - Euro Roadtrip

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