Day 21, Cape Town-so a very quiet day, with dental appointments. Thought this might be a good day to discuss race relations and state of South Africa.
This photo is of a sign just down the street from us. It hasn’t done much good! Thank goodness we have double, sound proof windows. Wish I could clone our dentist. He is so good! Way more advanced technology than anything I’ve experienced in the USA.
There has been a lot of discussion regarding the state of South Africa since the abolishment of apartheid. After 3 weeks in Cape Town, we are hardly experts. But with reading and talking to local people, we do know it’s complicated, with over 200 million AfrIcan refugees coming into the country since the end of apartheid in 1994. Unemployment is running at 24% using USA unemployment standards. And 35%, if counting the people that have given up on searching for employment. Violent crime, robbery and pick pockets are the result of the inability to find work. There is a huge disparity between the haves and have nots. Many of the people we have dealt with are from Zimbabwe, somehow they have managed to find work in Cape Town. We have seen many mixed race couples, but like the USA there is still much racism. The rainbow nation exists, but since the death of Mandela the government has become more corrupt and the economy less robust. In spite of the weaking of the Rand ($$), South Africa has the strongest economy in Africa.
Pete and I have talked about the disparity between the Africans, Colours and a whites in South Africa. At first we were just overwhelmed with the friendliness of the people, great food and cosmopolitan atmosphere. After a few weeks we are finding it impossible to ignore the many very poor people. The poor here make the poor in the US look well off. .Most of the menial jobs here are held by Africans and Colored.
The blacks, African or colored were made to relocate to townships in 1923. It is easy to be self righteous about such actions, but then we thought about the American Indians that were moved onto reservations, not that much different. At least the blacks in South Afica weren’t killed off like the American Indians.
We are planning a trip to 2 townships next week. Laura Ndukwana is going to be our tour guide. She has started a school for girls that we will visit, in Guguletu township. Christina at Willamette Travel told us about Laura and all the great work she is doing.
For those that are wondering about our apartment.