In 1977 I was 8 years old. I knew nothing of Apartheid. All I knew was that Cape Town was beautiful, and we could afford a large house with a garden (as opposed to the tiny flat at the top of many, many stairs, where we’d come from).
We had a full-time nanny, one rand was worth as much as one U.S. dollar, and we lacked for nothing … except TV because back then the South African Broadcasting Television only broadcast for about 2 hours in English and 2 hours in Afrikaans every day. (Since I couldn’t understand either language at that stage, TV didn’t impact my life much!)
It’s hard for people to understand that South Africa is a very large country with 9 distinct provinces. Cape Town was spared most of the riots, police clashes and other human rights abuses which happened elsewhere in the country. We did not know what was happening at the time due to the total censorship of the media.
All I knew growing up was that this place was safer for us, and we had a better quality of life than the one we’d had in Italy.
I did not witness discrimination on buses or on the streets of Cape Town. Only the public toilets and the public schools were segregated. Even during Apartheid, if you could afford it, private schools were open to all races.
Fast forward to today. We have satellite TV which allows us access to many of the same programs as you may have, as well as, an Italian channel!
I am a 43-year-old mother of a 19-year-old son and a 16-year-old daughter. If I’d earned a penny for every time I was told that I was “lucky” to have an EU passport, I’d be really rich!
The truth is that despite what the media says about South Africa, my family and I are very happy here, and we have no intention of emigrating to anywhere else!
Does this mean that we don’t have problems? Of course, not. There are serious concerns about the inability of our current ANC-led government to make good on all its promises to the electorate.
Our health system could be better, crime is a problem (as our police are paid too little for the work they do and are ill-equipped), we have a high unemployment rate (which is aggravated by all the people from the rest of Africa who seek, and get, asylum here), “Black Economic Empowerment” is crippling our economy, and so on.
Read my list again … do any of our problems sound similar to yours? I honestly think that each country deals with similar issues and the grass is not greener on the other side!
My South Africa is a world in one country. We are the first world of the third world! We have everything anyone could possibly need, and we also have the dreadful side which nobody wants to admit is here.
We have corrupt politicians, and we have the most generous people you could ever hope to meet. We have the criminals, and we have teens who volunteer to spend their Saturday repainting a school for mentally handicapped children. We have it all – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly – and I wouldn’t trade it for anything!
What do you love and hate about the country you live in?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Simona of South Africa. She mostly comments on Mamapedia. This is her second post for World Moms Blog.
Photo credit of the V & A Waterfront in Capetown, SA to Steve Burden.