Apartheid was abolished in 1994.
The U.S still suffers with racism since the Emancipation Proclamation (which happens to be some 153 years ago), and South Africa is no different in their mere 22 years of freedom.
That’s one hundred and thirty one years time the U.S has over South Africa to resolve the race issue in the country.
Lets look at some instances of racism and/or results of racism that I have personally witness in South Africa:
- At a vineyard, some locals wouldn’t even look at the (African) server (let alone say thank you) when they ordered or when the food came
- The physical labor force is predominantly dominated by people of colour. It is safe to assume that this is because a) the gap in education and b) of their economic status, they are willing to take less than minimum wage just to obtain any sort of income
- A white man kicking an Africa man
Before I carry on, let me just mention that although the U.S has had their one hundred and thirty one years of freedom over South Africa, I have still seen all of these occurrences in the United States as well. Maybe the States should try a little harder.
That being said, this post isn’t about racism in the U.S, it’s about South Africa.
Despite South Africa being one of the more stunning places I’ve traveled to, it is, without a doubt, somewhere that I would question living in. In my short stay of a month there, the racism kicked me in the face. What would it be like living there? What if I inadvertently and unknowingly perpetuated the cycle of racism and inequality?
Don’t get me wrong, I think everyone should visit. The Garden Route is breathtaking (but smelly), the food and wine is cheap yet delicious, the kite surfers in Bloubergstrand look like butterflies and their wildlife is hard to compete with. On our trip on the GS through the Garden Route we passed the hot springs and ostriches in Montagu, elephants in Mossel Bay, and throughout the 900 kilometers we racked up, enough sheep and cows to successfully open a dairy factory in Siberia while still staying warm.
It’s a place where anyone can feel at home because of the international influence. Claremont resembles French towns, while the V&A resembles a more developed Cassis. The M5 highway outside of Claremont resembles rural Japan, and Hermanus is a Floridan resort with mountains. And with the currency in such a difficult state (16 rand to 1 USD and 22 rand to 1 pound), it’s and ideal place for foreigners to come in and spend money.
To top it all off, there’s a thousand things to do, and I only scratched the surface of it. We spent countless days in wine towns (Franschhoek was a crowd favourite), Great White Shark cage diving, scuba diving with the Seven Gill Sharks, a safari, and hikes up cliffs at Lion’s Head to watch the sunset. We saw endangered animals and drank twice our body weight in wine.
It’s a must-visit location.
But would I be okay to drive past the beggars everyday? Would I be okay triple checking the doors are locked everyday? Would I be okay driving past the shanty towns everyday?
I don’t know.