I went to the Estadio de Maracana, wearing a Kaizer Chiefs t shirt and a Springbok cap. Walking amongst a group of tourist, I noticed a group of youths playing on their Berimbau, singing traditional songs whilst some were doing capoeira.
I could not help feeling a little homesick, as that reminded me about traditional South African music and dance. I stood there for a while and then one gentleman, who appeared to be the leader came to me, pointed at my cap, smiled and said “aaah South Africa.”
For most of my stay in Brazil, I struggled to converse with locals as they uncompromisingly speak in Portuguese. I asked the gentleman if he ever been to South Africa, he said no, but he teaches his students all about South Africa. Walking away, he turned around again gave me the following quote by Nelson Mandela:
"I believe that South Africa is the most beautiful place on earth. Admittedly, I am biased but when you combine the natural beauty of sunny South Africa with the friendliness and cultural diversity of our people, and the fact that the region is a haven for Africa's most splendid wildlife, then I think that we have been blessed with a truly wonderful land."
Back at my hotel room, sitting on my bed and whilst writing this, I realised that it is indeed true. We have the most beautiful country in the world. We have the most beautiful people on earth. Some people use it as a tool to divide, but I believe that it is our diversity that makes us this beautiful.
I am reminded of the time last year on Newlands, watching the Bokke against Australia, sitting in between two MASSIVE Afrikaner dudes, one of them looking at me and saying: “Kom ons kry die uit die pad uit, jy het al jou tande en ons almal se name is nie Frikkie en Johan nie”. I can remember the burst of laughter by the people sitting around us. I cannot however remember stop laughing at those guys’ jokes. I don’t know much about this game, but on that day I realised yes, “Afrikaners is plesierig”. These guys reminded me of that that is part of who we are; South Africans, you got to love us.
I am also reminded of my time in Bisho last year. Sitting and dining with a Xhosa family. The way the food was dished, the father of the house first, all the other men and then the women. I am reminded at the immense respect shown by this woman, how her hands were folded when she gave me my food and her warm smile when I thanked her.
I remember how proud the father was, saying his son can now legally sit with the men and speak. This again reminded me of the beauty of all South African cultures, this is part of who we are, you got to love us.
Sitting here writing this, I feel a sense of nostalgia as I am also reminded of the times when my father took us to visit my grandfather’s brother in the small town in Arniston. I remember sitting amongst the locals, listening for hours to their fishing stories. No not just fishing stories, all kinds of stories.
Saying this brings a smile to my face because it reminds me of Trevor Noah when he spoke about coloured people and how they tell stories. Yes, its true coloured people know how to tell a story, but that is just part of who we are, you got to love us.
I have had the good fortune of travelling to most countries. I can tell you now, most of you may not want to agree, but I am yet to go to a country other than South Africa, whose cities are so advanced that it can rival the best in the world and then have this much natural beauty surrounding us. This is what makes us special, we need to treasure it. Some countries can only dream of having what we have that’s we have, you go to love us.
Remembering the above, makes me smile and to some extend also gives me sad feeling. We have all this, we have everything, yet we have people who would rather see us in a negative light than to see our beauty, a beauty that resonates in all that is South Africa. To those I say, no matter how negative you are, admit it, you got to love us.
No matter how much you want us to fail, throughout our history, whether you tried by concentration camps as the British did, apartheid as the NP did and crime as the criminals are doing, we are South African we will not fail. It saddens me how many of our own people gets joy out of anything negative out of our country, while doing nothing. You who want us to fail, we will not, we are South Africans and you got to love us.
Thank you J