South Africa = Introduction to Africa

So on my latest days off (and probably my last days off here on my North Sea assignment) I flew all the way down to South Africa. I had heard a lot about the place, so I thought I would go see what it’s really like.

My impression is this: South Africa is the easy, tourist friendly Africa; hence it is not the ‘real’ Africa. It is pretty easy for an English speaker to get around, there are lots of tourist places to stay and visit, and the (white) people are generally well off and enjoy a decent standard of living.

That said however, there are other issues with the place. Some places are inherently dangerous, and you have to know about them and avoid them (dangerous as in Taxi driver groups having gun battles between each other and killing each other/bystanders, all over who gets to run what routes). One other issue is cultural (or more closely racial) inequality. Most of the well-off people are white, and the majority black population is still, in general, less educated and in lower paying jobs, or unemployed.

This inequality also affects the white population. Affirmative Action dictates that companies must hire 80% black people for new jobs. This makes it hard for employers because of the education level differences still present, and also for young white South African looking for jobs. The people I talked with say most white South Africans looking for jobs have to either go abroad or start their own business.

Some of these things make me think of the movie Blood Diamond, and the line TIA (This Is Africa), referring to how some things just are the way they are in Africa, and likely won’t change for a while. That’s how I felt about some things here in SA, the inequality and other points as well.

Anyways, that’s it for my sociocultural analysis, next post I’ll try and put up some nice pictures!

View from Table Mountain, Cape Town

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