Perspectives on South Africa following my recent visit.
South Africa was my home for the first three decades of my life: you could say a compromised and complex heritage. I have my parents and myself to thank for the hard work that afforded me most of the personal status with which I departed South Africa. Only now, having been in the UK for my fourth decade, can I begin to appreciate the starkness of my formative years spent in an Apartheid South Africa. Being “White” afforded me unnatural opportunity and that weighs heavily on my mind. The complexity of my upbringing isn’t easy to distill and I don’t hope for a perfect analysis.
In a recent visit, I’ve observed the significant changes the country has undergone since Nelson Mandela miraculously steered its people away from potential civil war. My periodic visits to South Africa have tracked this change. A great effort has been made by many to redress the imbalances and injustices of the past. There’s frustration that this can’t be achieved in a single generation but education and social empowerment must take time. Whilst the South African people have achieved miraculous things in the past 15 years, the pendulum has swung hard. Sadly I can see many things that are going wrong.
My analysis has been made easier by my wife’s observations (she grew up in the UK) and my 4 year old daughters comments in my very recent visit. So please expect a few posts as I distill my analysis!