This dinner was no different. My husband warned me not to go overboard with my opinions before the dinner so I tried to behave myself. I didn’t comment when someone said things are so bad that you can only get medicine from Discem if you’re an ANC member. I bit my tongue when someone else said that Orlando Stadium would be empty when the Bulls played there. But it all got a bit too much for me – and somewhere between “I feel so sorry for people in South Africa now,” and “there are only foreign doctors in our hospitals” I had to plainly say that I was very positive about the country.
Firstly silence and blank stares. Then utter disbelief when I said that we should probably think about contributing to our country instead of berating it. “Why are you in Dubai then?” I was quizzed. I tried, in vain, to explain the concept of work experience and saving money. I tried to explain that my intention is always to return home. Ag, what was the point – I wasn’t winning and they thought that I was mad. Who cares?!
Then yesterday, we had sundowners and snacks with another South African couple. What a bloody difference! Jessica and Tshepo are also on their way to South Africa for the FIFA World Cup. Tshepo said that his brother sends him texts of what’s going on back home and its all becoming too much to handle. It was clear – we are all so excited for our country – positive but realistic – most of all, proudly South African.
I guess the reason for this post is this: all of us have our own perceptions about the way life is back home. And it’s just that – perceptions. Perceptions borne out of our own experiences and relationships. Actually, this is true for every part of our lives. Your attitude to everything will ultimately determine your actions and destiny in your life. It’s a fact.
Some people will never feel the electricity in the air when you drive through Jozi. Some people won’t appreciate the beauty of the Jacarandas in Pretoria or enjoy the “conversations” with the street vendors at traffic lights. I, above anyone else, must just build a bridge and get over it!