As a fresh face in a new country many things that you encounter challenge your view of how things are. Some challenge my conceptions at a fundamental level and others on a more flippant basis. The oddities of langauge are well documented - some of our early lessons about South Africa came through the use of language by others that was very different to ours. Examples below -
- Robots = Traffic lights - I quite like this one and it rolls off the tongue now.
- Wada wada wada - We thought the guy had just had too much to drink. It equates to blah, blah, blah in Afrikaans
- Lekka = Sweet as, good experience, fun night
- Howzit = How you/How you doing?/How are you?
- Bru = Mate/pal/friend - eg. Howzit Bru?
- Braai = You should all know this already but they don't barbeque for some reason. They Braai
- Afrikaans- Afrikaans is a Germanic language spoken mainly in South Africa. Apparently about 10 million people speak Afrikaans as a first or second language, and several million other have a basic knowledge of the language. The language of choice of the long term white community in South Africa - and more the settlers living inland than people from Cape Town. A right mix of Germanic and Dutch to the untrained ear.
- Black and White - to the main body of the blog. A white person in South Africa is in the minority - but this minority in Cape Town dominates the wealthy areas. A black person is defined by ethnicity and lives in an area where black people live (no-one white or coloured would live there). The township in Hout Bay - Imizamo Yethu - is regarded (by the white and coloured population) as a negative force on the community. Many of the migrant workers from places like Zimbabwe & Malawi start their experience of South Africa here, and the diverse community is blamed for much of the crime in Hout Bay.
- Coloured - This phrase confused me the most - and my understanding of it follows. You are black if you have a pure ethnic background - for the families that have crossed the black and white divide comes membership of the coloured community. In Hout Bay the coloured community are largely centered around the area known as "Harbour Heights" - and this is where things become confusing if you are trying to understand the world wearing experience from the UK. The coloured community feel alienated from both the black and white communities. They feel alienated from politics - which to them is largely dominated by blacks. Coloured people feel marginalised by a police force that was previously white and is now a mixture of black and white. Hout bay itself is becoming an increasingly expensive area in terms of land and thus the ability of the coloured people to move out of the coloured area is nigh impossible. Three very separated communities that divide themselves by colour alone means that we live in country that is an ocean away from the integration than makes London such as special place.