Travelstart recently gave me the opportunity to collaborate with them, and posed this question to me:
If I were to relocate to London, what would I miss most about South Africa?
We, as South Africans tend to look down on our country a lot. Sure, crime is insane and our political landscape is iffy at best, but seeing as September is Heritage Month, I wanna focus on the things I love about our homeland, and what I would miss most if I were to leave. Here’s a little list:
The colorful people:
They don’t call us a rainbow nation for nothing. South Africa definitely has some of the most colorful people. Sure, every country has a mix of different races and cultures, but us South Africans are unique in the way we’re able to embrace each other’s cultures. Most South African citizens can speak at least two native languages, and are definitely informed about more cultures than just our own. Why; because we take an interest in knowing our people.
Vetkoek, bunny chows, authentic braai’s. Just the mention of these foods scream South Africa. But it’s so much more than just a meal, right? You aren’t likely to eat that bunny chow alone, or have that Sunday afternoon braai by yourself. It’s our way of life here. It’s sharing that bunny chow with your friends. Gathering the family for that pre-rugby braai. It’s these things that are so South African, that I can’t really imagine seeing it outside our home.
Anywhere you go in SA, there’s rhythm. There’s the men whistling at the bus station. The drum beat as you walk through town. The loud music from passing cars. We’re a people that has rhythm to everything we do. In fact, it’s not unusual for someone to randomly break out in a native song and have tons sing along. This, not safaris, is the authentic South African experience.
A few years ago, I visited the township of Mandeni. During the week I spent there, my favorite moment was exploring the street market. This is for sure one of the more fun experiences in South Africa. Street markets are around every corner. From the old aunty selling fresh vegetables to the young men selling sneakers and sunglasses, street markets overflow with authentic South African flavor!
Sure, every country has history. Everyone has fought something. But here’s the difference with South Africa. We own our past. All around us, we have landmarks and statues and road names, as a constant reminder of how our predecessors have fought for our freedom. The openness with which the past is remembered ensures that we never forget where we’ve come from and how blessed we are to have the freedom we as a people fought so hard to have.
I’d love to know from my South African readers; what are some of your authentic SA favorites?