Thank you so much David from Uzbekistan for your questions about my country. I must say, your name is pretty normal, not that it wouldn’t be normal if it were Uzbekistani-sounding, not that I know what it sounds like. Let me stop while I’m behind. I am going to answer some of your questions. Here goes.
1: I live in the biggest city in this country, Johannesburg, otherwise known as eGoli, City of Gold. One of the only cities in the world that was built on gold. Literally. It also happens to be the world’s biggest man-made forest.
2: To answer your question: yes, there are many beautiful women in South Africa. Whenever I’ve left the country I always run into men talking about the beauty of South African women. I couldn’t agree with these people more, sometimes when I find myself walking around and see all the beautiful women we’ve been blessed with, I feel like I died and woke up in South Africa.
3: I love my country except for the days Julius Malema says something err … colourful.
4: The best thing about South Africa? Wow! How can you ask me that? There are so many best things about South Africa (including myself of course). I’d have to say besides the obvious things like the landscape, the wild life (some of my relatives could be mistaken for wild life by the way but don’t tell them). I’d have to say it’s the people. They are amazing. We have some of the friendliest people, so very nice. Some of them though are so nice and polite that they get too shy to ask you for stuff, so they might just take your wallet without asking you. It’s just that they are so very shy. Avoid those ones though.
5: The most interesting thing about this country is that its prisons have a propensity for creating greatness. How you may wonder. During the second Anglo-Boer War, the great Englishman Winston Churchill was arrested but escaped his captors, he would go on to write a successful book about his escapades. Then there was the Mahatma Gandhi who was also imprisoned in South Africa, incidentally he would go on to become a thorn in Winston Churchill’s side, but that’s a story for another day. And of course, our very own Madiba, Nelson Mandela. Our prisons do create greatness indeed. Oh, don’t start thinking that you should go steal a television or something. Things might not turn out so well for you. One thing’s for sure though, they certainly don’t make the same quality inmate as they did in the old days.
6: Oh yes, I do believe we will do extremely well in the World Cup. I know a lot of people are profoundly sceptical. We should get rid of this unattractive sense of pessimism when it comes to our national team. I am very pro-Bafana Bafana, (that would be the nickname of our team). Many worry that we don’t have a lot of strikers. They seem to overlook the fact that we have a lot of trade unions and they have a lot of strikers. Perhaps they should be deployed, so to speak, in the national team.
7: Oh, yes! We have produced many famous people! Some of them famous, some infamous. Our most famous citizen is Nelson Mandela. We have three living Noble Peace Prize winners, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and FW de Klerk. But we’ve had four in total, the other one being Chief Albert Luthuli. I think that this puts pressure on us to make sure that we don’t mess up and start attacking other countries. Let us not forget our Oscar-winning Charlize Theron and Lebo M who won a Grammy for composing music for The Lion King. We also have two Nobel winners for literature. I must stop now, the list is too long and I don’t have time to name our famous people.
All in all I don’t think there is any country in the world quite like ours. I remember seeing many years ago, when I was in high school, a book in a bookstore with the title: Ah, But Your Land is Beautiful by Alan Paton. Those words are so simple yet so elegantly describe this country. Ah but my land is beautiful. I wouldn’t exchange for all the gold in Fort Knox.
*This article originally appeared in Juice magazine, Mango airline’s in-flight magazine.