South Africa explained in one short video clip

So, this morning I found myself tripping over my words and racking my brain trying to answer the probing, insightful questions posed to me by a friend who lives in Denmark in response to my story about white people and Ubuntu. She is British, has a Jamaican mom and a Scottish dad, and is married to an African American, and understandably struggles to understand this place I live in and blog about. I used words like culture and tradition and segregation and poverty, but none of them managed to encapsulate the layers of living that happen here – the energy or the feeling or the zeitgeist, if you will.

And it struck me what an immensely complicated place this is to encapsulate in words – how many levels of experience, ways of being and how much diversity there actually is, and while you can theorise and explain our sad, fractured history, none of these descriptions really do the country justice. Because, while it sounds hideous in black and white (and it was every part of that), somehow we rise above it. Then, as synchronicity works, my friend Faldelah sent me a video on Facebook, and once I had recovered from doing the ugly cry I thought, yes. This is it. This is South Africa in a nutshell, and the reason why so many of us can never, ever leave. Only watch this clip if (unlike me) you’re wearing waterproof mascara.

22 thoughts on “South Africa explained in one short video clip

  1. So lovely, luckily I’m not wearing any mascara today. They have magnificent outstanding voices. There is a difference I think between ignorance and stupidity. I like to think I spend most of my time in ignorance rather than stupidity.

  2. Watched it a few weeks back and cried… watched again today… and cried!
    Africa in our blood: hard to live with it, impossible to live without!

    Thank you for your delightful, insightful, gritty, grappling blog!
    I have shared it with most of my S.A’n friends abroad, those that want to return, as well as those that have returned and wonder why?!?!
    PLUS, I’ve shared it with the myriad of friends who stay and (try to) ‘fight the good fight’…

    Keep on… putting words to our thoughts!!

  3. Am loving your blog Susan. Coincidently had seen that this morning before I read this, gave me goosebumps – u just gotta love this country. So many good and incredible people all wanting the same things!

  4. loved it! uplifting, inspiring and absolutely a reflection of the promise that is held amongst SA’s looking forward to a better future… thank you!

  5. People of the Eastern Cape are more relaxed and laid back, Thanks for your blog today it really speaks to the heart!

  6. I love your blog! I feel in a former life I was a South African! I am the techie person behind Gaynor Youngs blog ‘ear ‘ear ( I know that she and her mum Carrie are also following and enjoying your blog. I wonder if you might just have a glance at what she is doing! Thanks in anticipation ‘B’

  7. Watched this the other day, cried. Watched today and cried again. I miss home. I miss Steers (teasing me in the background). There truly is no place like South Africa.

  8. Aah, thanks for reaching out with this, Sooz!
    I guess my struggle or rather curiosity is more about piecing together people’s attitudes as represented/reflected through your blog posts and the responses to them. Some of which are chronicling life there, some are social commentary too, some are massively (and mysteriously ;- provocative to other South Africans, and some, I know are playful.
    In many ways SA sounds really progressive, but in the hetero dating game, SA men must be the hunter, while even kick-ass alpha women sometimes need to feel like Cinderella. And navigating the relationship between you and your maid can be difficult because of white guilt etc (not easy in the best circumstances, I get occasional surliness from our small support team of Danish teenage helpers but that’s my own fail ;-) Life as a maid can be really hard but living in a township might also mean being part of a close community.
    In pics, social life on beaches with barbecues and amazing restaurants looks cool and glam but not massively mixed, despite the many faces of colour in SA.
    But I just read and know that one couldn’t make any judgements on life in Denmark (supposedly the happiest place on earth or something equally ridiculous) from only my perspectives on it, so I just enjoy reading your posts and getting an insider’s view on a place that seem to inspire debate, rather than indifference. xxx

  9. Good day,
    This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading this post reminds
    me of my old room mate! He always kept chatting about this.
    I will forward this post to him. Pretty sure he will have
    a good read. Thanks for sharing!

  10. I understand this is off topic but I’m looking into
    starting my own blog and was wondering what all is needed to get set up?
    I’m supposing having a website like yours would cost
    a lot? I’m not very web smart so I’m not 100% sure.
    Any tips or advice would be tremendously valued.
    Many thanks

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