Dear South Africa
You got me, ok? You got me. When I flew in for the first time I was struck by your beauty. It rises up like a hidden paradise, graceful and majestic. Your people are warm, and their spirits are bright. They reflect the realities of modern day life through a complex mixing of language, ethnicities, customs, and race. History has been hard on you, and your scars show. You try to hide them, as I’ve noticed, but we all know they’re still there. Though it’s easier to just be silent, the burdens have already paid their toll. The hurt has passed on to a new generation now, and it creates a dynamic conflict that pushes and pulls through you like a powerful current.
Something funny happened today though that I wanted to tell you about. A rugby match was on, and I ended up being packed in with a massive group of people. With crazy energy, everyone was so excited to watch the Springboks play. The national anthem turned on, and in that moment the entire bar placed their arms around one another’s shoulders without thinking twice about “race”. At the top of their lungs they sang their pride as loud as possible. Their unity was electric, and it was for a country that hasn’t always believed in them being able to ban together as one. They didn’t realize how beautiful the moment was as they all stood there, but I found it breathtaking.
A family friend looked at me during this and said “ 20 years ago this wouldn’t have even been possible.” which I realized was incredibly true. Call me naive or call me a foreigner, but as an outsider looking in on you I have a hard time understanding why you don’t take care of yourself better. A majority of people are suffering, which enables the continuing of a detrimental cycle of hate and violence. Citizens have to harm one another to survive, your youth have slim to no education which keeps them stuck in dire circumstances, the poor live in unfathomable conditions, and the economy is plummeting. The costs of living are impossible to maintain, but what is constant is the fact that you have some of the smartest people in the world living within your borders. They end up being encouraged to settle for less, with no support to propel forward without the help of foreign connections.
To you, my precious South Africa, I owe you a massive growth of my life as a whole. You brought me love, you brought me happiness, you brought me a stronger will to stand up for people who have nothing, and a personal goal of making sure every child has the right to an education. Your endless inspiration, and magic has left it’s imprint on me forever, but what I truly beg you is to take care of your own people. They crave a fresh start, and ability to live in a country that supports their dreams. I truly hope that one day you allow that.