Wednesday, October 26, 2016

the thing with south africa

the thing with a lot of south africa is that you might not notice it right away, but soon you do - all the white people are well off and live in nice houses with high fences lined with barbed wire and go to vineyards and restaurants, while most of the black people you see are wandering aimlessly along highways, driving ├╝bers, or live here:

lots of zinc roof township
there seems to be electricity and toilets, but that do not a good neighborhood make...

a colleague from Namibia remarked it first - where are all the black people? Any time we went to a restaurant or shop. they're hanging around in parking lots asking for small change to watch your car. there were some people congregating on a corner. you don't see anyone doing touristy things or leiser. We were at lunch reviewing a list of 30 applicants for a job posting. Among the pool, only one Zimbabwean, the rest: young white kids with fluent Afikaans and German sounding names.

And then, during my stay in Namibia at some old run down Mariott, i go to breakfast and at the table next to me is some fat south african tour guide squinting at his ipad. he goes to serve himself some coffee and then yells loudly and condescendingly at one of the employees about how the milk container isn't labeled. The hot water, coffee, they are labeled but the third container isn't. "don't you think it would be a smart thing to put a label on here to let people know this is hot milk and not something else?" what do you think it is, monkey blood? -was my retort but unlike him i did not yell it. the woman rolled her eyes and shuffles away, at which point he demands that she come back, right now, immediately, label the milk container. with no emotion she takes it away, she waits until the man sits down, and then she brings it back and places it next to the coffee - just the same without a label. attagirl.