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THE CAST OF
CULTURE IN SOUTH AFRICA
The Cast of Culture in South
by: Gregory Hudson
Drive along one of South
Africa's scenic strips and you will notice a landscape composed of a
backdrop of wide open spaces, blue mountains and blood-red sunsets.
These scenes abound, but given the nature of the culture in South
Africa, your attention could swiftly switch to a small boy gallantly
escorting herds of cattle, end to end, over a rainbow-like walkway
crossing one of the largest and busiest highways in South Africa.
Culture makes Africa special and aside from beautiful landscapes,
this kind of exuberant and contrasting culture in South Africa is
what you really should experience.
Imagine this scenario for a
moment: You are hopelessly stranded deep inside the African
interior, without a spare tyre and waiting for help. You prepare to
flag down the first car that passes by. “When will that be?” you
think to yourself. Time wears on. You picture yourself dragging your
dehydrated self over the many kilometres of parched semi-arid
terrain towards the nearest town, while hordes of hungry vultures
looming overhead contemplate you for lunch.
Thankfully, a small,
dust-battered truck pulls up and this nightmarish vision quickly
dissolves. Tough looking men gaze out of the back of the truck,
peering at you with hardened looks acquired through labouring this
tough, untamed land. The uncertainty and tension is broken by their
sympathetic smiles and they drive you, happily and with good cheer,
to the nearest service station and back to your car where you are
kindly helped to fit your newly repaired tyre.
Now that you're safely back on
the road you begin to realize the meaning of genuine hospitality,
known within the culture in South Africa as 'geselligheid'. Thankful
that you have just had the actual experience (a certain something
you felt) you now have a connection, whole-heartedly, with the
people and culture in South Africa.
This is not a heat-induced
delusion or an isolated event. It is the actual story of one of our
clients, who broke down while driving across the arid West Coast
diamond fields of Namibia. Travellers have confirmed many of these
kind-hearted acts that have occurred during their experimental
Perhaps it has to do with the
land itself or its unrestricted nature. The reason why people help
each other, whether a stranger or a friend. This doesn’t mean South
Africa is a nation of altruistic saints. Leave your camera in your
car on a downtown side-street and the chances of it being there
after lunch are less than great.
What then is being said of this
country? These vast unspoilt spaces and unbridled wildernesses. This
wild place where the civilised nature and unique culture of its
people are measured by the kind-hearted attitude experienced so
frequently by many travellers.
What is the simple reason so
many of our visitors from the Northern Hemisphere return here again
and again? It can only be found in the actual experience of South
Africa's culture and the friendship of its people.
The many answers to this
question can be shown over and over in the friendly smiles you
receive walking through a township market; in the respect and
tolerance shown, visiting the sacred sites and cultural icons of the
people; and in the greetings and genuine concern felt while within
the hospitable arms of local establishments.
Perceptions about “Africa” have
been changing slowly, but they are nonetheless changing. Foreign
visitors used to believe that herds of elephants roamed the dusty
streets of local areas and that to go hiking alone in the pristine
African hills meant meeting lions, giant spiders and possibly being
attacked by masked warriors with six foot spears.
The herds of elephants do exist,
relegated to the African game farms existing in remote areas
throughout the continent. The pristine hills stretch from one end of
the Cape Peninsula to the other, like a giant smile peering down
over the valleys below, but the wild beasts have long since been
tamed and the hills are safely open to all who would venture into
If you are looking for the
archetypal African adventure, laden with richly diverse wildernesses
and infinite possibilities, come and experience the warmth and
hospitality characteristic of this country. Trust South Africa to
set the stage and the cast to be our culture.
About The Author
Escape Tours (http://www.escape-tours.com)
are a group of experienced travellers who have been exploring
Southern Africa since 1976. We would like to share with you our
combined experience and extensive travel knowledge, acquired through
our passion for exploring the unlimited potential that South Africa
has to offer.
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