4 April 2008

Being stuck and all that

I am stuck in the countryside. Sounds pretty awkward, I know, but I must clarify that I am not about to be stuck here for very long (this is where I cross my fingers) and that at least I am not stuck alone sitting next to the road or anything. Coming to Graaff-Reinett, sort of western part of the Eastern Cape Province in South Africa we had a minor setback as the tyre exploded (I am not trying to exaggerate as it wasn’t a big explosion; a very small one and no harm was done to anything but the car), and now we’re just waiting for the insurance company to do what they are paid to do and fix things. So yeah, that’s how I got stuck here for few more days than we initially planned to stay. But it’s all alright; I was talking with my wife how in a situation like this it’s good to accept the facts (I don’t even know what else can we do), focus on the positives and enjoy the extra time here.

Graaff-Reinett is a small enough place and due to the current lack of internet access (I’ll post this when I can) I can’t even Google how small. Its got a main road and then another one. I am not really sure which one is the actual main road as they are in a kind of T-shape. If you like Christianity then I definitely recommend you to come here. As so many South African citizens, locals here like to believe and seem to spend a lot of time and money building churches and unlike where I come from actually going into them. This is also a great town if, unlike me, seeing police makes you feel safe. This place is filled with cops, although most of them are just trainees at the police academy. They still get me nervous and I am sure that at some point they’ll stop me at gun point because I drove through the red light. Well, there isn’t really a worry about that as this place doesn’t have any traffic lights but you know what I mean… a stop sign or some such.

I don’t mean to sound hateful when it comes to this place. Sure it’s got many farmers with slave-master-mentality who are yet to learn about the fall of apartheid and there’s nothing nice one can say about that, but it’s got its good sides as well. Ironically enough at this late hour of night I cannot think of any and I end up sounding sarcastic, but I like some things here (besides the company of the good people around me of course, which is obvious but I am talking about the town). I even shook hands with the mayor. Didn’t know it at time, but I was told that it was the case. Well done me - I guess. Enough of this already.

South Africa is a great country. Things piss me off all the time and just when I am furious again after yet another phlegmatic person behind the counter refusing to do anything to help me while I am paying for the so called service (which is pretty universal these days) looking at me like I am from Mars just because I am rocking a different skin complexion than my wife next to me, I remember that this country as it is, is only 14 years old. That after 300 years of dehumanising majority of the citizens things are as well as they are. Forget the crime, racism, lack of redistribution of land and wealth (although let’s not really forget these), this country is heading forward and although the scars of apartheid will characterise everything for years to come the forward movement is, and has been, amazing. 14 years is a short time in country’s history. I feel bad for the people who haven’t benefited from the change yet; I hope that will change soon, but at the same time, regardless of your opinion on the governments efficiency, no government in the world would have pulled it off as the world wanted. There’s no miracles on that scale (if on any).

It’s exiting time in South Africa. While 14 years is not enough to make up for 300 years of hate, it’s enough to see interesting results. Music has always been exiting here, but now the post-struggle literature is stepping to a new level. Young authors write about their experiences, facts and fiction, opinions and anecdotes and it’s priceless. I have had a fondness for South African struggle books and political publications, so I find this new era just brilliant. Let me recommend here few books (not that I have read tons of these books, but at least these I have and I thought they were great).

Ndumiso Ngcobo - Some of my Best Friends Are White
Sihle Khumalo - Dark Continent My Black Arse
Niq Mhlongo - After Tears

On top of those I am currently reading Fred Khumalo’s Touch My Blood. Although he’s more established writer, I like his book so far all the same as the other ones mentioned.

On the other exiting things that has happened to me during the past half a year in Mzansi (South Africa ya dig) is that I met Archbishop Emeritus and Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu and started a business, an audio production company with my wife. Also I did my last live radio programme (for the time being) few weeks back, but I address that issue separately in my next post. I am hoping to post some photos which I am still taking, but unfortunately my computer is failing me as it’s getting old, and that combined with unreliable wireless connection creates a deadly mixture of frustration with anything online. But hey, it ain’t all bad cos lot of it is good and I wrote this post so there’s always hope. When we get money, my vote goes for new laptop and good internet service, there’s no doubt about that. Then I’ll be more available with Skype, Gmail talk and other such services as well. But until that – peace and I am out like the lights during the power cuts and there’s enough of them here.

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