Thursday, May 22, 2008

Africans un-unite!

Afro-pessimissm (n.) - 1. the perception of sub-Saharan Africa as a region too riddled with problems for good governance and economic development.

"Is this what I'm feeling," my friend asks from Cape Town. She's worried. This feeling does not sit well with a native of Africa.

Afro pessimism. That's what we're feeling. And dammit, it's not like you want to!

And to be in a different country, safe and far away from all the doubt and speculation in SA, you feel a little like a pansy. Like you've become one of those people who left SA because they're running from a horrible place with no future.
And I don't believe that.

But here I am. In Korea. With a perfect transportation system. With a capital city that is the safest in the world. I've seen one homeless person - and he looked reasonably happy, eating a can of tuna with pretty chopstix on his warm blanket in the subway.

I want to go back home eventually, but now I'm a little scared to do that. I'm scared to send money home before I've seen the outcome of the next presidential election (what will it do to the exchange rate?).

And I partly blame the media - the only time news from SA is important enough to air, it is bad news. So, that's all I hear.
Partly I blame afro-pessimism. If you believe something bad is going to happen, it probably will - eventually. And you did nothing to prevent it.
But mostly I blame bad government. But this could be a good thing, because governments are changeable and fix-able.

So, speak up, change, keep the most beautiful country beautiful and don't lose hope. But most of all don't be a pansy.
(* Afro-pessimism's definition was found here:

Thursday, May 15, 2008

How do you spot a South African in Seoul?

Well, he’ll be wearing a green apron with a Springbok proudly emblazoned on the chest.
As you near him the smell of boerewors braaiing on an open fire will get stronger and the sound of boeremusiek will envelop you.
And, of course, you’ll recognise him by the humungus South African flag hanging from a lamppost behind his braai area.

This is a true story.

This is how I spotted my first South African in South Korea. There were three of them and they were braaiing in a backstreet of Itaewon.

Boereworsroll, 'seblief?
My Korean friend was showing me the pubs and clubs in Itaewon, the foreigner part in Seoul, when my nose picked up the familar scent of a Sunday braai.

When I saw the braaiers in the distance, my first instinct was to walk up to them and say ‘Howzit, kan ‘n man ‘n boereworsroll kry, asseblief?”.

But then I realised, us being near an American military base in a part of town that is a sattelite city of America, they would probably be practicing the North American art of BBQ’ing.

I walked around them to avoid hearing the BBQ-men’s thick North American accent which would invade my pleasant daydream of a Sunday braai with the family in the Strand.

But then the music got to me. I stopped walking, took two steps back, listenend closely...yes, surely....yes, he did, he absolutely did!

The guy on the CD sang “meisie, meisie”! And I knew – these ‘okes were homegrown.

And so was their boerewors, by the way.

Mom's recipe goes far
Made according to an age-old recipe passed down by Moederlief to one of the braaiers.

In their home in Seoul they also make biltong and droewors to order by homesick expats or foreigners who came to love the dry, salty meat snack.

Unfortunately the next time you’ll be able to walk into the Seventh Heaven that is their boereworsstall, is after the rainy season.

They don’t do this every weekend. It was part of the international food festival held in Itaewon that weekend. The next one will be in August. Keep your eyes on the Hi Seoul website for more information.

Now, let me turn off this computer and get a piece of locally produced biltong from the fridge...