A friend of mine recently had an argument with another friend while trying to justify getting a tattoo that signifies South Africa. This argument resulted in my friend writing up this brilliant and pride-inducing piece of nostalgic genius that I have stolen (with permission) to publish here:
What I love about South Africa
South Africa has every climate and landscape. Deserts, mountains, snow, Mediterranean, rain forest, grassland, bushveld, sea; the warm sea and the cold sea, the coastline and its changeability. It has the sun and it has caves, streams, cliffs, kloofs, and wide open spaces to be explored or left unexplored. It has the Yellow Wood, the Strelitzia, the Varkoor, the Milkwood, Proteas, Acacias and the SA pine. Here you can find a unique, scary, diverse, beautiful wildlife. The blue crane, the big five, the great white, the sunbird and the bumble bee, the parktown prawn (“the what?” says the Cape Townian), blêrrie baboons and the rhino. For now.
South Africans YOLO and have FOMO and are adventurous even when they pretend they aren’t. There’s corruption and everyone complains and always expects more. We always think the grass is greener than our own. South Africans are resourceful but lazy, approachable and friendly and completely obsessed with sport.
We have braais and our own slang lingo and say “I don’t have an accent, boet.” We have chilled out hippies and hipsters on longboards, jocks and materialistic poppies & dollies wearing too much make-up, surfer dudes and overachievers, the career man and the full-time mom. SA has cultures, diversity, different languages, opportunity.
Gogos, Oumas, Nanas, Grannies. We have Zebra & Giraffe, The Soweto String Quartet, Mango Groove, The Parlotones, Jack Parow, Desmond and the Tutus, Mzekezeke and Mandoza, DJs Fresh, Euphonik and Naaldekoker and Ladysmith Black Mambazo. There are gorgeous babes and okes with stiff necks and Imaginary Lat Syndrome (Chronic Invisible Underarm Watermelon).
I love to love Cape Town with its mountains and sea, wine, acceptance and how everyone’s convinced that it’s better. I love to hate Joburg with its mine dumps, crime, sheer size, cost, poverty and pollution.
Bloem thinks it’s a big city but it’s just cold and full of Dutchmen (said with the utmost affection).
Durban with its souties and Zulus, the stuffy humidity and warm water.
And PE and East London. Little unsung treasures nobody knows about but really should.
We chat about what an amazing man Nelson Mandela was and Desmond Tutu still is. We laugh at clichéd Trevor Noah jokes and gossip about the Oscar Pistorius scandal. We see Charlize Theron and Chad le Clos’ “unbelievable” dad on TV. And try to fathom why Elon Musk and Roger Federer would not want to claim South Africa as their own.
– Alberto Falanga
This is South Africa. There’s no way to deny its beauty. Its individuality. Its splendour. Its awe. Its diversity. Its language. Its voice. Its echo.
This is where I live.
This is South Africa.