South Africa – the land of sunshine, seagulls, the Big 5, Table Mountain, award winning wine and an abundance of friendly people. The poster child for diversity, South Africa has risen above hard core challenges and some seriously darker times, breaking through a glorious, effervescent and tenacious version of its former self.
It was aptly coined the ‘’Rainbow Nation’’ by national icon, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, describing the ‘’New South Africa’’, post-apartheid, after the very first democratic elections way back when in 1994. Culturally and ethnically diverse as they come, a Rainbow Nation gave South Africans the long awaited chance to embrace their differences and sever the barriers between the people, united as one.
With an unprecedented 11 official languages, the country is a delightful mix of skin tones, religious beliefs, ethnicity and mother tongues, all working and living side by side. But change is not always as easy as it seems, and the transition that South Africa has experienced during the last 2 decades has certainly not been the easiest.
But as a new generation emerges – post-apartheid babies all grown up – having experienced a vastly different start to life than their elder counterparts, South Africa is starting to see other changes that are as exciting and dynamic as the people themselves.
There will always be the painful reminders of the horrific era of apartheid – but the new and emerging generation uses the past as a reminder to constantly move forward, constantly work together and to continuously strive to rebuild their Rainbow Nation and to make it their own.
In any one day in South Africa you could experience the glory of the rolling vineyards of wine country, watch a traditional gumboot dancing show, have your face painted by African women, sample some of the finest local bunny chow cuisine (half a loaf of fresh white bread scooped out and filled with piping hot Indian Curry), have your hands and feet painted with henna by Indian women, eat melktert (milk tart) with the tannies (aunties), attend a cattle show with the boere (farmers) and finish off the day with a real South African tradition – a lekker ( awesome) braai (BBQ).
Every single South African regardless of race, culture, religious beliefs, age, social status, financial status or location is brought together by the braai. On a nice sunny day, in the pouring rain, in the wind, hail or snow – any day or night of the week you will be able to find a bunch of South Africans huddled over a braai, ice cold beer in hand, enjoying time with their friends and family.
These days South African children are brought up with lessons on how to braai, make melktert and love their neighbours – a true sign that the past has been put behind them for good.