I live in a country full of South Africans who ask me every single day why I live here. I, after all, am an educated man and have the resources and access to leave this place whenever I choose. Indeed, I have spent time away from here and have enjoyed the depth and scope of global culture the world round. Certainly, those memories are mine and I look forward to making even more of them as my life pushes on with me in hand.
Now, the foreigners and tourists who are reading this now might not understand why there are South Africans who wonder why I live here. Well, it’s simple: tourists are stupid. To you, South Africa is just an endless playground of safari and friendliness, of surf and sun, of intrigue and history. To you South Africa is a high definition wallpaper of epic landscapes, or a bottomless fuel tank for never ending road trips. To you, South Africa is the buzz of the vuvuzela, the deep flat Springbok accent of Invictus, of Mandela smiles and African dance. Compared to where you grew up, where the reasonable restrictions of the developed world keep you safely in check, to you South Africa is freedom from the ropes and the checks; it’s like dancing naked in the storm.
So, you still ask: why is it that South Africans ask me every single day why I live in my home? You see, you must understand: to you, South Africa is a lazy wine farm on a Sunday stroll through near perfect Stellenbosch. To you, South Africa is a winding whale trail with viewing points around every corner. To you, South Africa is just test match rugby Saturday with deep house and cheap beer and biltong. To you, South Africa is just the world’s largest flower display. To you, South Africa is a Saturday’s trip bungee jumping near Vilikazi, or a Sunday trip to the Midlands or holiday dash up route 62. No wonder you don’t understand anything.
I mean to you, South Africa is just never ending wave machine, a cute piece of land for African penguins and rhinos, elephants and lion. To you South Africa is just a real life waldo, a spot-me-if-you-can leopard or wild dog, or a life-changing 4×4 trail and a braai to end it. To you, South Africa is the rhythmic and intriguing sound of Afrikaans rap through hip hop beats, sweaty fynbos trails and mountain pools, sand roads and the Karoo, and little towns of people and museums that no one ever seems to visit. No wonder you don’t understand this place.
I mean, to you South Africa is just orange sunsets and hyena cries. It’s Springbok shots and Amarula sips. To you, my country is just a boiling beach party and tanned skin and Castle draughts and green shirts. To you, South Africa is the Drakensberg, isn’t it? It’s the parched beigness of the untouched Kalahari, am I right? If it’s not safari, it’s shark cage diving. If it’s it not bush, its desert. To you South Africa is literally just a big effing resort, just a never ending jol that spills over into its neighbours, into the impeccably brilliant nations of what is truly some of the most unbelievable parts in this world. To you this place is a fresh water lake with waves and eagles and jungles and snorkelling and art and alcohol so cheap it will make you feel guilty for even visiting.
No wonder you don’t get it. No wonder you don’t understand why I live in a country full of South Africans who ask me every single day why I live here. Because Goodness knows, I certainly don’t get it either. I must be stupid too! Maybe they just don’t like permanently living on a resort. Maybe it’s just not their thing. Who knows? Because tourists, I don’t think you’re stupid at all actually. In fact I think you might be cleverer than all the South Africans who ask me that stupid question every single day because no doubt, I love this resort and I love living on it.