Tuesday, 29 September 2009

An Africa some expats don't want you to know about.

After watching the Amazing Race last night I was depressed at that parts of Africa being portrayed to represent Africa. Absolute poverty tourism. In other seasons they came to South Africa and did the usual Tourist things...up table mountain, robben island, the win route. Other times Vix falls etc. This time they're seen them into darkest poorest West Africa where it's all tin shacks and garbage everywhere. While this type of thing can still be found in some townships in South Africa is is a tiny minority of people who live like this (see the film district 9 for an example). These days even most of the poorest of the poor in South Africa do have some form of government built housing, running water and electricity and recieve a small government grant that at least allows them to not go hungry. While a great deal of South Africans including 99% of the whites can be described as what in Europe you will call "middle classed" to "wealthy"by your standards. Estimates for black families in this region are now 10% while another 40% are in the lower middle classes.

This leaves around 50% of black people classified as "poor". But this is a very relative thing. At least 50% of South Africa black people still live a rural subsistance existance. As little as 10 years ago a trip into a rural area would have been sprinckled with mud houses with thatched rooves which half the country lives in. Take a trip to these same rural area now and you will be amazed at the brick houses up there now in their place. Not government built houses most of the time either and all with electricity and running water. To give you an idea many people now keep a mud hut only to perform traditional rituals. Car garages and satelite dishes are common plce. When a society can afford to start living out preference rather then necessity it is not cronically poor.

Also new schools and clinics scatter the landscape in these rural areas where the A.N.C litters with services in exchange for votes. The difference is night and day and you needed to have seen it before and after to appreciate it. "Poor" doesn't quite have the same sting in South Africa now as it did 10 years ago.

And then there are the cities. The first part of this video offers up some pictures of a few cities.

So while South Africa is the richest country in Africa, it's not uniquely wealthy. There are many African countries which share in parts this kind of wealth and infrastructure and are growin wealthier all the time. World recession aside sights such as above are becomming more and more widespread in Africa. Things are NOT hopeless and definatly not getting worse.

Update : This just posted on S.A.S. I their own words : Firstly, and lets not deny it, whites in SA still have a relatively pleasant life when contrasted with most blacks who live especially in squatter camps. The result? Whitey is complacent. Sure, there is a lot of bitching about crime, AA, BEE, corruption and the rapidly dropping standards we see in all spheres. But, at the end of the day, he has his five day work week job, he has his rugby, Klippies and Coke, three bed roomed home, two cars, Sophie cleans house and Sipho does the garden once a week. And, lets not forget the Saturday braai under a cloudless sky next to the pool. All in all, a pretty good existence when contrasted with, lets say, Europe. The idea of having to clean your own house or mowing your own lawn – horrors!!

Then again, percentage wise, few whites have been victims of violent crime.


Oh, unrelated but this is interesting.



Anonymous said...

blow it out your ass rooster. try telling that optimistic crap to the residents of sakhele township or, closer to your digs, motherwell. sure you're taken that shit-run drive from pe to uitenhage before? freakin' looks like downtown liberia, and it looked that way 10 years ago so, take off your rose tinted shades for a while and call a spade a spade.(or at least recognise a shit-hole for what it is)
shit, next they will be making a nando's ad featuring the rooster instead of julius, seeing both of you cant see the wood for the trees! idiots, both of you

The Rooster said...

This blog is titled "shut up whitey". If a black living ion a township bitches about living conditions and crime I would understand.

Now that you mention motherwell is a pretty nice black township for the most part these days. I used to do sales calls there all the time. The houses inside are all nicely decked out with all the modern appliances. Friendly people, polite children. I think you mean "new brighton" which is mostly a filthy third world run down dump which I've also often visited to do presentations at schools in. Nice people none the less.