Friday, September 26, 2008

South Africa - What I have Learnt


I won't go into detail about South Africa politics as I could spend all week going through it but here are some facts I have learnt which will give you an idea of what the government is like here. I am not absolutely sure that each of these facts is entirely true as it my be hearsay but:

The Minister of transport was found to have a fake drivers licence.

The Minister of Finance has apparently been bankrupt not once but twice.

The Minister of Health believes that Cabbage and beetroot soup is a cure for aids.

The president elect Zumo has 728 outstanding charges of fraud against him. These charges will probably be dropped once he becomes president.

Apparently Zumo also had unprotected sex with an HIV positive woman but he said he had a shower afterwards so he was safe enough.

Update today(26th): I wrote the stuff up above before all the crap that is happening with the Mbeki and the government! All everybody in the backpackers can think is "Great the rand has gone down in value!"


I thought that English was the first language for most South Africans but most whites speak Afrikaans first and each of the black tribes has their own language. In fact in South Africa there are now 11 official languages (from the previous 2 during apartheid). This can make for some quite crazy politically correctness. The craziest seems to be on TV where programmes seem to interchange between languages at a drop of a hat. For example in some soap operas the people will be speaking English one minute and the Afrikaans the next.

I was watching a football game where the commentary went from English to Xhosa then to Zulu every 10 minutes - it was loopy!


For being a very christian country a lot of people still look to the old ways. This is no where more apparent than in some of the ads in papers. Here witch doctors advertise such things as:

Get back lost lovers!
Make women fall in love with you!
Make instant money using spells and charms.
And the best:

Penis enlargement - extra 18 inches in one day, same day ejaculation guaranteed or your money back! (Must try them!)


There is no getting away from the fact that South Africa is still racist. Up in Mpumalanga it seems to be extremely bad but it is not just whites and black. Even amongst the blacks there is racism between each of the tribes - especially the Xhosa and the Zulu. Everybody already knows about the xenophobic attacks on immigrants in the country.

There is a bad undercurrent in parts of this country that could erupt into open conflict if it is not careful. Basically the whites have the land and the money and the blacks have the power. I get the impression that while Mandela is still alive and while the world cup is still going ahead then everything is fine but if either of those two things change then the country could rush headlong into a Zimbabwe situation. I hope it doesn't happen as it’s a really beautiful country with a lot to offer.

I have been told the following (not sure if it’s true)
Amount of revenue generated by tourism: 46 billion rand
Amount of revenue spent on security: 47 billion rand.

No comments: