Travels

Trip to South Africa

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This photo taken in 1885 shows the views from the mythical Lions Head hill in Cape Town

Next Sunday - and if the Iberia strike allows it - I will be embarking on the T4 of Barajas to put heading to Cape Town, with previous stop in London.

We have been invited by the Department of Tourism of the Republic of South Africa to an international design fair. And there I go. Yes, you can close your mouth because I was also perplexed when the invitation arrived. My knowledge in the field of design - the program includes ceramics, jewelry, clothes, paintings ... - is almost as deep as that of our president of the English.

In the email received they made it clear that they knew that this was not my field of knowledge but that I was exempt from attending the events scheduled for the rest of the group and was free to roam around Cape Town and Johannesburg -the two cities where the event takes place- at my ease.

South Africa It is a huge country, with 50 million inhabitants, eleven official languages, three different capitals and a racial mixture that has marked its history darkly during almost the entire twentieth century. It is the power of the black continent and it accounts for almost 25% of GDP in all of Africa.

Its culture, flora and fauna are so diverse that one could get lost for weeks or months trying to get to know in depth this country whose coasts Europeans already sailed in the fifteenth century, but in which they did not settle until 1652, when the Dutch They founded what is now Cape Town.

You can imagine the rest of the story. It is nothing more than a tracing of what happened in the rest of Africa. European powers begin by creating coastal populations. Africa is a territory of hostile climate and strange diseases that makes the weak white man perish. Better to be near the coast, its boats, a quick exit to your beloved developed homeland.

But, when they finally enter the continent, they find gold, diamonds, ivory ... And worst of all: slaves.

Reading the books these weeks “Lost Paths of Africa” by Javier Reverte, and the acclaimed "Ebony" from Ryszard Kapuscinsky one is ashamed of belonging to Western Europe.

The colonizers looted, depopulated, enslaved, robbed, exploded, tortured... In short, they have been the worst scourge in the history of Africa, leaving a psychological stigma of inferiority in its black population from which they are still trying to recover.

They say of South Africa that it's a beautiful country, a symbol of modernity and economic flourishing in Africa, which has managed to leave its darkest era behind and looks to the future with the greatest illusions.

I, in my eagerness to discover if all this is true and also be able to explore its natural and cultural treasures, I am hesitating to extend my stay. The scheduled trip would only allow me to know Cape Town and Jo'burg and, although I am grateful, I have always been of open spaces, mountains, seas, oceans, rivers, forests, jungles or steppes, animals, flowers, trees ... And human beings different from me with whom to exchange experiences and learn.

However, I leave with the uncertainty of whether this will be possible or not.

I am awaiting the possibility of an interview for a job to which I submitted my application in Alicante, and, with the issue of the Iberia strike, the selection process has been delayed because human resources people had to move from Madrid to Alicante.

I will be attentive to the email during the next week because, if I stay out of the selection process, I will be given a great opportunity to know this vast country and maybe some more of the area.

Now I have to go down to the park to look for a daisy and start to defoliate it by singing an original song: "I will board the plane back, I will not board, I will board, I will not board ...". What comes up!.

I do not take my laptop but I return to the classic and romantic pen and notebook method, so you will have to wait for me to return - whatever it is - to read my comics.

The truth is that without having even made the backpack - and without knowing what to put in, because the 8 scheduled days include stays in 5-star hotels and expensive restaurants - I don't have the idea that next Monday I will dawn on the southern tip of a continent of which I know nothing (Except for a brief stop in Casablanca last year).

I am fascinated by what I have read about Africa, its history and its people. Now I want to dive into it.

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