This Is Where My Parents Come From

6 May

When I tell people my family comes from South Africa, I get a mixed reaction. Some people look at me perplexed and ask if I’m adopted / why I’m white. Those people also have the same level of intelligence as a brick wall, if not less.

Others ask me why my parents left the country, seeing as it is a beautiful place. I don’t think many realise how unsafe it is to live in SA. The integration of poverty and prosperity has created a great divide, leaving many desperate in an almost lawless environment.

Those with money seclude themselves within houses surrounded by high security fences. Walking down the road in broad daylight is now akin to risking one’s life. A thief will cut off a person’s wrist to steal their watch. SA also has the highest number of people living with HIV/AIDS in the world. And lest we forget that apartheid was only lifted 16 years ago.

Considering its current state, it surprised me that the World Cup was headed to this country I knew so differently than those who have no family or friends there. I have major doubts that the event will go as smoothly as planned.

This could be a global cry for help for a country that seems so hopelessly lost in starvation, disease, and violence, but the event could also become a rose-tinted lens for the rest of the world to see a country airbrushed of its many flaws.

I am hopelessly optimistic but you won’t see me with a surprised look on my face if things go awry.

Time will tell?

……To add some lightness to this post, a video has been circulating the internets featuring what is said to be the mayor of JoBurg. Turns out, it is not he, but an actor. It’s funny nonetheless.

and a song that speaks of my parents’ life in South Africa, and strikes a chord today.

Siyawela lapheshaya lulezontaba ezimnyama
(we are crossing over those dark mountains)
Lapha sobheka phansi konke ukhulupheka
(where we will lay down our troubles
)

Osiyeza – Johnny Clegg & Savuka

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2 Responses to “This Is Where My Parents Come From”

  1. plaintain1 May 6, 2010 at 8:23 am #

    Glad that you are an optomist as well as a realist. SA is truly beautiful. Let’s hope the World Cup will go well without the obvious problems.

  2. romeh May 10, 2010 at 12:08 am #

    The hope is there. And let’s hope the country benefits from the event in a move towards in the least, infrastructure improvements

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