This is Africa. While watching the local news with a couple of friends of mine in Jeffrey’s Bay that I have met along my travels I learned the meaning of this term. It was used frequently to refer to the backwards and often silly things that happen here. However, upon really thinking about the corruption in the SAA airlines’ finance that was being reported I realized that TIA could be used in almost any country or state. For example, "Thank you for flying with Hawaiian Airlines and Aloha and welcome to Hawaii. Your bags will be here tomorrow, though": T.I.Hawaii. People’s perceptions and ignorance of other cultures is global. Here are a few realities of South Africa that I have learned while being here.
I am back in Cape Town after having spent almost two weeks on the road or in Jeffrey’s Bay/Port Elizabeth for the World Cup and for the Billabong Surf Competition. Now that the traveling and business has settled down I have had the time to talk with local people and do some more touristy things. I have gone to Robben Island, seen the locally made movie “Themba” and spoken with the head professor of the history department at the University of Stellenbosch regarding some of South Africa’s History.
The Grundlingh Family.
Robenn Island was a very interesting experience. Truthfully, I was bored. It was a three hour tour of the island and a walk through the cell with some historical facts interjected in between. It wasn’t completely useless, however. For example, I did not know that it was once a lepor colony. Only former prisoners are allowed to act as tour guides on the island. This makes the experience a bit “one sided” in the words of Albert Grundlingh, Marizanne’s father. The experience became more personal when one of the guides missing about half his teeth was asked personal questions like, “how many years were you in?” and “what was the specific act of treason that you committed?” He was in for 11 years and attempted to use a bazooka to blow up a petrol station. The contoversial side of it that Prof. Grundlingh pointed out is that even though some of the pre-apartheid acts that were committed by minotirites were atrocious and sometimes took a lot of lives, it is sort of seen as a just act because of the political situation. These sort of controversy’s is what makes this amazingly beautiful and mountainous country of South Africa so appealing.
I highly recommend the movie “Themba” as well. If it is playing anywhere in your foreign film theathers PLEASE go see it. It provokes so many emotions in such a short time and pretty accurately expleans the reality of the situation here. It is conveniently about a young boy’s struggle from the rural township in the Xhosa region with soccer. The main message conveyed, however, is the reality that AIDS and education have in South Africa. As Themba was walking through Kayelitsha (pronounced kya-leech-a), South Africa’s largest township located in Cape Town, Moz tapped me and said “that’s how it is really”. She is researching for her masters how to use sport in townships to take kids off the street and out of corruption. Last Thrusday, while I was comfortably in Jbay, Moz went to Kayelitsha with other foreign volunteers in order to conduct soccer clinics. At the end of the day they were going to get some knick-knacks and one of Moz’s co-workers was robbed of the little money she was carrying and the shoes off of her feet were taken from her on the spot.