This story has nothing to do with Sex, Drugs, or Rock n’ Roll. But, like the heading above, it has everything to do with false advertising.
Why are the advertisements and brochures to tourists’ attractions in Africa (and specifically in South Africa), always dishonest and filled with bogus information? And why are they allowed to get away with it?
I am of the opinion that, with the arrival of “Freedom and Independence,” the new governments of these countries (and the people whom they appoint to run the national and public parks, heritage sites, museums, places of interest, etc) do not have the foggiest understanding, inclination, or the essential skills, to manage these facilities.
Yet, these governments and municipalities still want to collect entrance fees and payment from visitors and tourists – without spending any money on maintenance or upgrades. After a just few years, these “maintenance free” sites and facilities become nothing but empty shells and tourist traps.
But here’s the thing: The brochures, adverts, and promotional material, stay the same; depicting – in glow-in-the-dark words and surround sound pictures – what these places looked like in their heyday. Thus fooling unsuspecting visitors and tourists.
Travel through *Africa and you will see what I mean. You will find the crumbling (and crumbled) ruins and remains of buildings, streets, parks, water fountains, and zoos; built by the former “Colonialists” – the British, German, Portuguese, Dutch, French, Arab, Belgian, and Italian people – who first brought modern civilisation to this godforsaken continent.
Let me give you an example:
On a recent trip to Mozambique, I visited the **Museu de História Nacional, in Maputo. What a disagracement! My garage, at home, contains much more (and better preserved) exhibits than these sad relics from the golden ***Portuguese era.
The whole building cries out for maintenance and competent management.
The stuffed animals on display are just that. Stuffed. And badly stuffed at that. All the animals are covered in dust, and they all seem to suffer from mange and parasitic mites (which is probably what killed them in the first place).
The taxidermist, who stuffed up the animals, has obviously never seen one of them in real life. The lioness looks like a crossbreed between a Rottweiler and a mole; while the leopard resembles a cross between a Dachshund and a vampire bat – with a bad case of acne, to boot.
Even the stuffed-up baboon (pinned under the claws of a stuffed leopard-rat cross), looks more like Mugabe than a primate. (Which is probably the way it should look.) But that’s not important right now.
What is important is that gullible tourists are expected to pay good money to visit rip-off sites such as this one.
The Museum of Natural History in Maputo is advertised as having: “… a wonderful insect collection and a wildlife tableau with roaring lions and other sound effects.”
OK. I’ll admit that there were insects – flies, brommers, ants, wasps, and cockroaches. But these were live insects and not part of the display – they live and breed in the museum.
I heard no roaring lions. And the only sound effect I heard was when a rather corpulent American tourist farted in one of the almost empty exhibition halls. The echoes sounded like rolling thunder (I would imagine) in the Grand Canyon. Scary!
And hardly worth my money…
(Next, I’d like to tell you of a visit to one of the tourist traps in our own country, Zumania. If you have had similar experiences, I’d like to hear from you.)
*Africa – I have travelled (from left to right, in alphabetical order) Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Pofadder, Tanzania, Zambia, Zanzibar, and Zimbabwe
**Museu de História – from Portuguese, meaning: hysterical music, i.e. sakkie-sakkie played through heavy amplifiers
***Portuguese era – Mozambique became independent on 25 June 1975. In an act of vengeance, a law was passed, ordering the Portuguese to leave the country in 24 hours, each with only 20 kilograms of luggage. Unable to salvage any of their assets, most of them returned to Portugal - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia
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