Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Cazz

My trip to South Africa - November 2006

Recommended Posts

Part 2: The people

 

The people of South Africa….so diverse and from all hawks of life. As I walked off the plane in Josie (Johannesburg) I remembered their friendly smiles and I looked forward to hearing the different accents once again.

 

We had to collect our luggage, go through customs, security and then walk to the Domestic Flight building, check in and book our luggage to Cape Town. All had gone really smoothly and friendly airport workers were ready to help if need be. They greeted and directed confused and tired travelers. I was really very impressed at the wonderful customer service and was thinking ‘what a wonderful first impression’. Well, it was pretty short lived and what happened next left such a bad taste in our mouths not the strongest mouthwash could wash it out. There we were, all queued waiting patiently to get through customs when two such workers came around the corner politely warning that they needed space to get the ‘train’ of baggage trolleys (carts) through.

 

We all began to make space as they were very polite and attempting not to cause any unnecessary fuss when this rude individual decided that he was too good to wait in a queue and didn’t care what was going on. Like a charging bull he tried to bulldoze his way between the people making way for the train of trolleys and the train of trolleys. Might I add he was talking on his cell phone quite loudly too. As this old English couple were making space for the trolleys this baboon stepped in front of them causing their trolley to bump the back of his legs.

 

A moment frozen in time …. Without taking the phone away from his ear he spun around to face them and said…”Ag no man. What do you fink you are doing? Don’t bump into my legs like that you f@*%ing assholes.” And then proceeded to kick their trolley sending it spinning in my direction…hitting me on my leg….”Fock off” he shouted and then proceeded to climb over the trolley…stomped on my other foot….never once took the phone from his ear….and proceeded to the front of the line while telling the person on the other end of the phone what assholes the people were in the airport.

 

All stood in dead silence and utter shock. The two men pushing the train of trolleys glared at him and if looks could kill he’d be nothing but a heap of ash. The elderly women looked at me and said in a quiet voice “I guess that’s Welcome to South Africa”…. I stumbled for words and could only say “Please, no. Don’t let that incident give you a bad impression of South Africans. It’s only him”, but as I looked at their eyes I knew that the damage was done and their vacation to South Africa would be marred by this incident no matter how friendly other South Africans would be in the days to come. Eish!

 

I was quite shocked in the days that followed to find that it wasn’t only this baboon that needed a course in manners. On a few occasions we came across white people without manners, without patience and without a care for others no matter where you were from. It was the Africans who smiled warmly, who showed care, who made one feel comfortable. In fact I would venture to say that they were perfect ambassadors for South Africa.

 

Now I’m not saying that all whites and all Africans were that way, but I will say that this time around my experience indicated that there is a definite decline in attitudes amongst the white population. I’m not sure if it’s arrogance or if it’s overall frustration and stress, but I do know they are far less tolerant of ALL people.

 

At the baggage claims at Cape Town one man stands screaming at the top of his voice at his wife while she has a baby strapped to her, holding the hand of a crying 3 year old while calming her crying child with…”It’s okay honey we’re almost home…just a few minutes.” Apparently she wasn’t walking fast enough for him. Eish!

 

On our way back to the USA…and on flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg we had a final ‘taste’ of this arrogance. As people were boarding and putting luggage in the over-head baggage bins this small old man stood in the aisle huffing and puffing letting everyone know that he did not like waiting.

Lo and behold Jan from the Department of Agriculture (he introduced himself to the young lady sitting next to him) sits in the seat behind me. Well he bumps into the back of my upright seat a couple hundred times and on a few occasions pulls my hair as he grabs my seat to pull himself up to get something from his bag in the over-head bin before we’re even in the air….doesn’t say sorry or anything. Well we’re in the air and on our way to JHB, I’m a little tired so I slowly recline my chair to get some shut-eye. Well the continuous bumping and pushing on my chair didn’t stop. I get up to go to the bathroom and so does he, but he returns before I do. I get back to the seat…I see he has his seat way back and is lying with his eyes shut so I think…Aaaah some shut-eye for me too then. I notice my seat is in the upright position and as I sit down my daughter tells me the old man adjusted my seat when he got back. Now totally ‘sick and sut’ of this nauseating arrogance I recline my chair and once again the fart thought it best he let me know that only he has the privilege to recline his seat and mine should be upright …by bumping and pushing on my seat. And no I checked his leg room on my way to and from the bathroom….there was more than enough room for his short legs. Fudge him….my seat would have remained in the reclined position right through lunch too if the stewardess hadn’t asked me to return my seat to the upright position during lunch. What the fudge is wrong with people?

 

Customer service receives an A++ from me. No matter where we went be it to restaurants or shopping….broad smiles and friendliness. Now there are some people who will take advantage of you if they hear you’re from America. I figured my American ‘accent’ was non existent, but it would seem that people picked up very quickly that I was ‘not from here’.

 

My sister-in-law books appointments for the girls to have their hair done one morning. Off we toddle down to the salon and there we’re greeted by friendly ladies ready to assist us. The one doing my hair asked what I wanted I asked her for a wash, cut and flat iron. My hair was past the middle of my back and in desperate need of a trim. She immediately said, “Oh, you are not from South Africa. Where are you from?” I laugh and explain how I was South African and moved to America 10 years ago. We get to chatting….and oh by the way…Flat Ironing is a new thing in South Africa….they only had one flat iron in the salon… After about an hour and a half of washing, cutting, blow-drying and flat ironing my hair…..and listening to the hairdresser go on about everything in her life….was this far away from becoming best of friends, but I drew the line when she wanted to tell me what color panty she was wearing (joking)…we’re all done and she charges me R180 which I think is a bargain as I’m converting to dollars….$25. We walk out the salon and I ask my daughter how much they charged her for her shoulder length hair to be washed, blow-dried and flat ironed…R80. My sister-in-law (has the same length of hair as my daughter – and had the same thing done) was charged R55. Ja-nee, definitely ripping the ‘foreigners’ off, but still a bargain compared to American salons.

 

I noticed far more openly lesbian couples….one or two gay men (but not couples) and thought how wonderful it must be to be able to express one’s love like this in a formerly over-conservative country. Hubby had a good laugh as there was one particular such waitron at Guzzlers who took an interest in me. He was hoping she’d give us a discount on our bill. The big buzz was the upcoming legalization of same sex marriage on December 1, 2006.

 

Two years ago I never saw white South Africans walking in the streets and was surprised to see so many out an about, pushing babies in prams, walking dogs, walking with children, jogging and so forth. It would seem that people differ in opinion greatly when asked about safety, security and crime. I’d venture to say it was almost a 50/50 split at times. Some felt that things were much better and safer, while others would ‘NEVER walk in the streets’. We saw teenagers walking home from schools – alone, no adults, elderly people out for a stroll….but there were the high walls topped with spikes, barbed wire, or electric fencing…burglar bars on the inside and/or outside of the house, safety gates, alarms, and armed response boards everywhere.

 

The people, well they’re changing. Two years ago no one I knew approached me about immigration. In fact they kept asking when we were coming back. This time round, they asked if we thought about coming back, how was it to immigrate, how to get greencards and what about immigration options?? etc. That was from people our age. The generation after ours….the children, came to me and said flat out “I don’t want to even study in this country. I want to get out as soon as possible.” I heard this from youngsters as young as 10 years old and as old as 20 and 21. The message was resounding. The younger generation wants out. They don’t see a future for themselves. They don’t see themselves having a job, having a house and starting a family in South Africa.

 

As I sat with these youngsters (cousins and friend’s children) on different occasions my heart ached and all I could do to stop myself from crying was bite the bottom of my lip. What future does this beautiful country have if it’s children feel they are imprisoned, if the children (who are the future) want to escape to “anywhere, but here”.

 

And I walk on the white beach sands of Blouberg, the African sun warming my skin, the Cape wind carrying voices of those gone before us and my eyes settle on Ou Groote. Steadfast she stands….”Aai, what have the generations of hurt, what have your people done.” And sadness for the people of Africa grows deeper in my heart.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Cazz :)

 

The sad and bad bits make me very sad, but it is nice to know that there are still some good people out there.

 

I think if you took a poll, almost all of us have left for the sake of our children.

 

Re the man on the cell phone, it's time people started taking rude cell phone users to task. I am up to my my eyebrows with people who put me in danger on the road and make my life uncomfortable in public, by their lack of consideration for other people. :boxing:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Now I’m not saying that all whites and all Africans were that way, but I will say that this time around my experience indicated that there is a definite decline in attitudes amongst the white population. I’m not sure if it’s arrogance or if it’s overall frustration and stress, but I do know they are far less tolerant of ALL people.

 

I think that white south african men have to be some of the most stressed on earth.....and it obviously shows...... I feel for them. Imagine what it must be like to have job insecurity on the level they experience it, on top of having to keep their families safe when they're in danger 24/7, not even safe in their own homes, where they should be safest.......a terrible toll is being taken on them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

'n skop onder die gat help so nou en dan vir daai selfoon boelies....vir die man in die vliegtuig....doen dieselfde...le so ver ek kan terug die hele tyd, en ry-ry-ry ook nog die stoel so nou en dan om daai effense verdere tilt te kry.... :holy:

 

k

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for sharing this. An interesting read. I had similar impressions regarding friendliness and welcoming, last time I arrived, but fortunately did not have to witness the arrogance, inconsideration and disrespect for the feelings of others. I have little empathy for people who carry on like this, as if their situation is the only situation that matters, and that they are somehow more important than the rest of us slobs. I do see the same sort of thing in the USA too, from time to time, although it manifests itself in different ways.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Everyone making it back in one piece should be thankful, if it was not for visiting family, parents and friends, and a best friend's wedding not to be missed, I would not go back ....We are flying out 30 dec for a month...and I am 50/50 about the visit..

 

http://www.news24.com/Beeld/Suid-Afrika/0,...2041392,00.html

 

K

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you have enough "peep" sounds to sensor my trip.... :holy:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Do you have enough "peep" sounds to sensor my trip.... :holy:

 

Let's see:

 

:censored: :censored: :censored:

 

yup, we have plenty :P

 

Jy gaan jou trippie geniet man. Jy sal sien. Mens het nuwe waardering en insig as mens die eerste keer terug gaan. Moet net nie die fout maak wat ek gemaak het dat jy te krities is oor dinge daar nie. Hou daai analise vir as jy terugkom. Anders gaan jy die heeltyd vaskyk in dit wat jou pla en afsit eerder as om spesiale tyd saam met geliefdes en vriende te spandeer.

 

Cheers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

O ons gaan dit geniet oraait.....Loskop dam, Kruger Park, Uvongo, Private safari....braai, potjie, braai, chinese, braai, Spur steakhouse, braai..... :ilikeit:

 

When you grow up in a one horse town, u always have to make your own parties anyway.... :P

 

K

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Knersus, as jul Loskopdam toe gaan, beter jul gaan hallo en groete sê vir my (oud) mede-werkers daar by Aventura (nou Forever) B)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...