Welcome to a view of my beloved country..South Africa! Its 2010, exciting times indeed for us as the Soccer World Cup will focus the eyes of the world on this little known country down south. If you're planning to be one of the millions visiting SA during the World Cup..you're in for the adventure of a lifetime! Follow me on a journey as I paint the rainbow colours which make up the awesome beauty of the people and their culture and the diversity which makes this country more unique than any other in the world.
This is not a view as you would get while visiting a tourist agency, neither is it a general view. Its seen through my eyes...and hopefully through my articles you will grow to love South Africa the way I do.
In this first article I'll paint the background so that you can experience a broad outline of things to come. Yes, SA is 3rd world in many aspects but city and coastal life is very cosmopolitan..rich in culture, talent, agriculture, mining and so much more.
It is fair to say that SA is made up of people from all over the world-who settled here for various reasons. The Dutch arrived in 1652 and set up the Dutch East Indian Co as a refreshment base at the tip of Africa for passing ships. The founder of this company was Jan van Riebeeck and he, together with his crew settled and built the famous Castle which is situated on the foreshore in Cape Town. (Must see for all visitors) The Castle was built like a fort and protected the settlers from dangerous animals as well as from the tides. From this base they batered with the locals (hottentots) and soon a community was established with British and Dutch and Hottentot influence. There are exciting stories of those first settlers venturing out and setteling further afield in a land completely hostile to either the Dutch or the British. But this we will cover in future articles.
At present SA is made up of Dutch, German, British, Italian, Portugeuse, Irish, Chinese, Japanese and all 11 black African tribes as well as our Indian and"Coloure" or "Brown" people. Today all schools are integrated and the great devide of "Apartheid" is fading away. Children are friends because they like each other and have no regard for differences in culture or colour. All children receive education with no descrimination and the future is looking bright. When you speak to a young student they are so full of enthusiasm and hope for the future. As we progress into the decade the government is working hard to improve housing and job opportuinities and in general (despite the past) each South African is focused on becoming a totally united country. The Soccer World Cup will go a long way to heal past wounds as did the Rugby World Cup in 1995.
Its only when you take the time to mingle, share and communicate with the diverse cultures of SA that you begin to understand why South African's are who they are..a nation of strength..a flower just starting to bloom and a destination like no other. And no...wild animals do not walk the streets of Johannesburg or Cape Town. The only wild animals are in our massive game reserves. The biggest of which is the Kruger National Park.
South Africa ..where else can you bask in the sun on some of the most beautiful white sand beaches, enjoy every conceivable watersport, shark cage dive, snorkel..or visit the karoo with its vast open spaces, ostrich farms and cango caves. We have world renowned wine farms mostly situated on our Garden Route in the Cape and Cape Town itself has the Cable Car on famous Table Mountain from which you can see all of Cape Town as well as Robben Island (Where Mandela was incaserated), On the foreshore you have the massive Waterfront which caters for boat charters, restuarants, mega shopping and the sea aquarium. The Castle is close by and the new Cape Quarters provides more unique shopping and restuarants.
For now this is just a taste and given that South Africa has so much to offer..I will try to describe each city and surrounds in future articles. Along the way, I'll share some personal experiences with you..so stay with me on this exciting journey. You may discover a world you never imagined.
Till next time - more about Cape Town!