Friday, August 27, 2010

An Africa Facing South.

I am going to write this as a two perspective blog. One is on the plane as I fly to South Africa and one will be post visit. 

Part 1: 
I am curious about this place. It is the most mixed reviewed country I have encountered in candid discussion. People often stay 'it is gorgeous, a different world, not the Africa you know."  This is coupled with 'what you see, unless you try, is not the full reality. You must really try to see the other side. " I feel a bit like a trader going there oddly as my 'home' is the rest of Africa. Mostly, I feel I am hitting shaky ground, unsure of the underline meaning of my actions in a place that is not straight forward and has such a divisive history. 

Part 2:
This what you call a delayed reaction. It has been almost two weeks since I left the Rainbow Nation. I spent the first four days on Jo'burg at tech conferences. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting with and exploring the tech community but to my surprise, these Africa themed events were not the Africa I have been involved with. It was...well...almost all white. I knew almost all 'Africans' and sadly I was more acquainted with Africa as whole than the vast majority of South Africans, many of who had never explored their continent outside their country. 

South Africa is undoubtably more advanced in many ways visible ways that the rest of Africa. But that said, much of the rest of Africa has advancing as well. It seemed SA is on the edge of  exclusive and quite myopic, not considering the rest of Africa. They don't know that Its not just shanty towns or charity case. Kenya, Senegal and Uganda have better internet connections and more advanced mobile markets than South Africa. Nigeria has 572 %  more internet users despite relying almost entirely on generators for electricity.  South Africa is ideally positioned to take advantage of the maturing lions to the north. It will be to their loss if they don't look north. 

Look a bit like Bishops Peak? 

All ranting aside, I throughly enjoyed the people I met and had an incredible time drinking cappuccinos, sipping wine, being cold,  getting a bit of exposure to Cape Town night life (thanks Devin) and running along the coast. There were a few definite surprises including Monte Casino in Jo'berg and the entire city of Cape Town. It looks strikingly similar to my college town, San Luis Obispo. Don't worry my California peeps, I still like you better...although there was some pretty amazing sushi and dancing to be had. 

No comments:

Post a Comment