South Africa - Freedom as we know it?

Every summer since 1998 I go for a few weeks on vacation to South Africa. I read fiction, biographies, the papers and everything I can get my hands on concerning South African issues. And when I am there I talk to as many different people as I have the chance to talk to. In Cape Town I also watched the film A long walk to freedom with the charismatic actor Idris Elba recently (he gives a powerful performance). It is a moving film but at times somehow lame; how can a film do Nelson Mandela justice within such a short time?

Nelson Mandela has done what no other has. Will the country proceed with the work he has started or will equality for all remain nothing but a dream? Well, well, well. I am wondering about this all the time. Why there are so many South Africans still living in townships without any chance in life while at the same time so many are able to hang out at fancy Bars and Restaurants? It is a huge divide and I understand I won’t be able to find a solution. It is a complicated situation the country is in.

Freedom as we know it?

While I was in Cape Town two of my girlfriends had a Baby: Congratulations to these wonderful Ladies in Chile and Australia. I am very happy they had them in a safe, happy and clean environment. Driving along the N2 in Cape Town, looking over the endless ugly shacks I wondered how it is to have a baby in a township; how can one survive under these circumstances? What about safety, healthcare and education? No matter how hard they try to paint the perfect picture; black people obviously still live in an inferior position in their own country. What I don’t understand is why they don’t fight the injustice anymore? Someone must have tricked them into believing, this is the freedom they had longed for so long.

Gunned down in Khayelitsha

The Savoy Cabbage is one of my favourite Restaurants in Cape Town. I go there for dinner ever since they opened and were there twice over the last few weeks. They certainly won’t know how connected I feel to the place. I had so many lovely times there, it is a friendly environment, all staff are welcoming and the food is always delicious. Two days after I got back to Berlin, I read the facebook status update of Savoy Cabbage: “Today we lost Lunga Maqwelane, gunned down this morning in Khayelitsha on his way to work. He has worked with us since he was about 17. We have seen him grow into a man, get married and three weeks ago he became a father. He was also a talented chef and a very special member of our team.

I am deeply sorry and wish his family and friends all the best and be able to live with the loss. These things can  happen all over the world but at the same time I feel that every human shall get a chance to live in a secure area. He probably would have been gunned down everywhere, we’ll never know ... but …

What about you? Do you love to learn about destinations, discuss issues and care about the places you visit or are you just happy to find a sandy beach, yummy restaurants, outstanding museums or whatever it is you are after; as in “every country has its own problems?” Looking forward hearing from you.

From Berlin with love