This has been an incredible two week journey – traveling over 5200k, which is more than nyc to la – starting strait at the heart at Sharpeville and concluding with the Zulus. People find ways to say things hit the next level, well let us go old school and talk about the depth. The more we saw the more raw it got and the rawness had a pureness and an elegance.
South Africa is an amazing land and should be more of a travel destination that it is. A funny discussion took place last night as we sat around reflecting on the trek, many people look at SA as a region and not a country and first thoughts seem to gravitate to Safari and Apartheid. There is so much richness here, in both the land and in the people.
Hugh says “The future is in our past” and he made sure we witnessed that, we just scratched the surface, imagine if this was two months and not two weeks. The big cities are slow to move and the remote villages are nearly timeless. There are constant daily struggles, but look at our home in the USA … the Emancipation Proclamation is ancient American History and the realization of those words are still not complete on the US soil. The equality here only began it’s definition roughly a generation ago.
What is the present and the future? My take on the current African Spirit is patience.
Defined by waiting on line to get into the bank, waiting on line to get into the market, the waiting at the taxi stand for maybe an hour for a ride to work, thus walking is the primary transport around the land. Patience is required for both social and economic change, the steps are slow yet the people are strong. As in many parts of the world, time is categorized – Africa Time is not Maui Time – it is not a “when it happens, it will happen” it is an understanding of the day, knowing the sun will rise and set, and things will get done. It is not that things should not move quicker than they do, it is simply the way it has been. The pace is accelerating just not at the hustling American mindset expects.
The African Spirit knows how to smile and the younger generation looks to the times that are now, carrying embarrassment of what was then. Universally in large cities or small villages faces present smiles. All the sharp edges must be hidden on the inside, because we did not witness them on this trip. Black and white have been equal at all levels on this journey – this was and is an exchange of culture and history. Yes, there is crime and there are bars on just about every window, and the middle class is still searching for development. The people do take care of themselves though and the townships are true communities. They may want more, but they do know how to live on what they have.
Allow me to be the tourism board, this is a land that you should visit. Don’t blame the travel as there are nonstops from just about every country. It has Wyoming and New Zealand, Australia and Northern California, Iowa and Hawaii. South Africa is not savage and it is filled with adventure. See metropolis and middle earth, beach and jungle, sharks and elephants, music, dance, art and culture, it has it all and the World Cup will place it all on display.
Today is the past and I will return in the future.
Thank you for following along. Thanks to ESPN for the opportunity. Hugh Masekela as the professor/guide. Thank South Africa for the experience, a tough one to top.