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It's tough, kid, but it's life.

One week in South Africa, fo sure. One quite slow week. Because breakfast at my B&B finishes at 9.30, and because I’m advised not to walk around alone at night, and because this town has not much to do at night anyways, I’ve been getting up very early and going to bed very early. Despite my most productive time usually being the evenings I have managed to finish the development of one major section of my research and just need to implement it to touch base on thinking outside the box for logistics and product zaz. It’s been pleasant, as always, to pick up the history of a foreign country on the ground by directly asking (sometimes impurtanent) questions.

I’ve had the chance to explore somewhat, and my recipe for making Grahamstown would be this: take a 19th Century Australian colonial town; Horsham, Shepparton or possibly Bacchus Marsh, complete with red dirt, squat stone buildings, wide
streets with little traffic and gum trees, build the University of Queensland at the west end, build an Apartheid-era 'township' at the far east end, people the uni with only a couple of thousand, make the town's population 80% African, 12% more British than British, 5% Indian and 3% cranky Dutch, and then add large dollops of Christianity and many a metre of razor wire. This would bring you pretty
close.

The poverty in this particular place isn’t too bad, though Steven and I drove past one horrible shanty town at close proximity, with the houses made of corrugated iron sheets and scraps of wood. Around Grahamstown there are fewer beggars than Europe, but due to the associated trash-picking here I am likely to believe at least some are genuine, unlike Europe where I became hard to when it became clear it’s a profession. That said, pulling ones wallet out is likely to get it stolen here. One aspect of the begging here that makes me uncomfortable is being called ‘master’.

Reading South African newspapers is interesting because it’s full of the same nationalist sentiment one sees back home: ‘our unique world-class lifestyle’ and all that guff. Considering that looking from the outside this identical jingoism about S.A. which is just as cherished is deeply flawed, this gives pause to honestly evaluate to what extent these slogans hold value in any context.

There are 11 official languages in South Africa. The SACB, which is the equivalent of the ABC, BBC, CBC and probably others across the Commonwealth, comes in 3 flavours. SABC1 is aimed at the blacks (the term seems to hold less squeamishness here), and alternates between English and Xhosa, the… erm… ‘click’ language, SABC2 is for the Afrikaners, the Dutch descendents, and alternates between Afrikaans and English, and there is SABC3 for the British, which seems to also be in English and Afrikaans. In the soapies the language often changes two or more times in any given sentence. I find Afrikaans particularly interesting. It is a phonetic version of Dutch, without the ubiquitous silent letters in the written form (this irritated James when he was in the Netherlands), with borrowed words from German, English and native languages.

So, I leave you with a ‘howsit (I’m Dr. Rudi)' and I shall attempt to post more photos soon.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Aug. 17th, 2007 03:00 pm (UTC)
Hi Paul

Did you find the poisonous plant section in the Grahamstown Botanical Gardens?

cya soon
love Mum
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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