Party Saturday night. Encircled in mountains looking out over a tranquil bay on a late summer’s evening in the bay that I used to call home. One of those perfect nights in paradise. I couldn’t really question why people who have the choice to live anywhere in the world, working for massive multinational corporations that would support their lifestyles wherever they chose to make home, would choose a quiet little bay at the far end of Africa.
The conversation meandered along the lines of what the hell it is about South Africa that makes it so damn sticky. I think this happens more in Cape Town than other cities in South Africa, but there’s something strangely addictive about this country.
South Africa is one of those places you fall in love with. It’s not one of those obvious, sensible kind of love affairs either. This IS a dangerous country, we all know this, no more needs be said. We don’t have the kind of infrastructure that gladdens the heart of anyone who enjoys decent telecommunications, reliable power, well administered health resources or public transport (if you think you should be doing the planet a favour by not driving your car everywhere – good luck to you!) But oh my goodness we have a VERY efficient 1st world tax collection system (PLEASE will Trevor Manuel go apply his power for good in other ministries now dammit!).
There is something compelling about the character of the place that makes us hungry for it when we’re away. If you’ve ever spent any amount of time away from South African shores you’ll know what I mean. Even if you ran away in terror, you’ll still feel the pang for home.
Touching down on the runway in Jozi (as badass & skanky as the city can be) is still one of the sweetest lump-in-the-throat feelings. The halo effect lasts even as taxis undertake you on the highway, passing pavements overflowing with a thousand kinds of non-biodegradable cheap Chinese imports hawked between bright veggies, indefinable diversity of goodies, foodies and heaving humanity. There is something really alive here.
What is the deeply more-ish something that makes ZA get under my skin? Yes SA Rocks, but there’s something only love could account for. If you’ve figured out what it is let me know, maybe we need to start a 12 step SAA group . “Hi my name’s Max & I’m an addict“.
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