Cape Town, South Africa
Current Song: K’Naan, Wavin’ Flag
Cape Town, and South Africa in general, is a wave of schizophrenia. I’ve mentioned this before on my blog, but a repeat visit all the more reinforces this belief. As I skim through a novel detailing the rise and fall of the diamond and gold mining efforts here in the Veld, you come across the fact that this schizophrenia is somewhat embedded in its roots. For example:
– Cecil Rhodes, of Rhodes Scholar fame, was not only an aspiring entrepreneur — he also had this notion that England should attempt to recolonize the United States under the British Crown for the sake of empire building.
– Paul Kruger, of Kruger National Park fame, was a strict segregationist who believed that, as head of the Transvaal, thumping the Bible and bellowing like a lion on a rampage was the best way to govern.
– Pretoria, the country’s now-administrative capital, was named after a complete idiot.
– Zakumi, the World Cup’s adorable mascot, may be a hermaphrodite. I have my theories about this one.
And oh, the landscape fully supports this schizophrenia. Rolling vineyards in Stellenbosch give way to the desert-like fields of the Northwest Province and Rustenburg. The aggressive cliffs of Table Mountain loom only a mile away from the gorgeous Atlantic coastline. It’s very….American.
What’s surprised me about this trip is that Cape Town, despite being invaded by tens of thousands of tourists, hasn’t lost its charm nor its sense of direction. The locals still think it’s suicide to walk the streets at night alone, and the tourists are still scared to death of taking a minibus to Long Street at a fraction of the cost of a taxi. The bars and cafes, well, they’re just a bit busier, and township citizens are seemingly enjoying the additional jobs created by this flurry of activity.
It’ll be interesting to observe how South Africa transitions from the spotlight the world has shone upon it: will the country continue its colorblind support of Bafana Bafana and extend it across socio-economic boundaries? And will its citizens exude confidence in showing the world that it is a world-class country? Time will tell.
Oh, and the USA-Ghana match: I’m convinced that I’m a curse to whatever sport I follow, so I’ll just leave it at that. Taking a spontaneous flight to Jo’burg and not getting back to the hostel post-match until 330am was oh-so worth it, though…