One for all: The zebra on my patio

I know NOTHING about South Africa, I am aware of that.

One for all: The zebra on my patio

I know NOTHING about South Africa, I am aware of that. I am here for family reasons. And I'm beginning to love this country. Without the usual glorification, I hope I want to be realistic. A column about the things in life that are difficult to change.

I wake up at 5:30 am, it's still dark, in the distance it's beginning to dawn. The window above my bed - I am in a "hut" in a reserve - shows me the last stars of the unbelievable, still very cold sky over Africa. Get up, the safari is about to start, I'm still missing the lions and other big cats on my "list".

They will not be my highlights* as my highlights have already been the giraffes, rhinos, hippos, monkeys, ostriches and the elephants. And the zebras. They even stand on the terrace. As if it were the most normal thing in the world. They don't care about me, they eat. What a life: eating all day, out with the herd, a few jokes for the tourists, to the waterhole, keep eating, mating, eating, lying down.

Only the lions are annoying now and then. A zebra can get killed, but where else in life does one get killed? Now, as I look at the zebras and wonder if they have more black or white stripes (which they have, by the way, to protect themselves against the TseTse fly, which just doesn't like stripes, but I do), I keep asking myself - Attention, big leap of thought - as it is here now in terms of apartheid.

The nice young man who picked me up from the airport - he says that he has worked for a long time in a conservation reserve, is now making money as a driver and plans to escape the township one day soon. He already lives in a better area of ​​the township and wants to continue his education and work with animals again. I understand him very well.

I don't want to bore you with numbers, but there are probably around three million people living in the townships that nestle against the hills near Cape Town, we drive past them endlessly on the way to Stellenbosch. Around four million live in my mother city of Berlin. And in Cape Town officially also around four million. 98 percent of the population in the townships is black. The end of apartheid? Almost 30 years after the first free elections, it seems that South Africa has not yet arrived, too much has been missed.

Unimaginable, a township that mainly consists of corrugated iron shacks on the outskirts of Hamburg or Munich, isn't it? People come here to escape their even greater poverty elsewhere in the country. They are called Langa (Sun) and Nyanga (Moon), but also Khayelitsha, "New Homeland". It's their home.

In any case, on the way from the airport, the well-read driver tells the story of Dr. Christiaan Barnard, the South African white surgeon who was the first to transplant a human heart. It was 1967. The heart recipient had to be white to avoid being accused of "playing" with the life of a black man. Medical trials on Black people continued around the world.

The white heart recipient, in his late fifties, nevertheless died of pneumonia 18 days after receiving a heart transplant from a white young woman who was declared brain dead following an accident. However, the breakthrough - in terms of heart transplantation - was achieved. Blood is red, skin color is a matter of pigmentation, and the attitude behind so much that makes people blind, stupid, and simple-minded is called racism. There's definitely too much of that around the world.

Lost in thought, I'm still standing on the terrace in the nature reserve, where the animals are so much better off than many people, and look at the horse-like, striped animals that don't let anything shake them. Racism doesn't only exist in Africa, of course, but it strikes me here in particular, because the people who bring me my coffee and make my beds open the gates and sit on the side of the street, those on the open ones Jeeps crouch and be driven to construction sites by white men, all black. Those who have something to report are mostly white.

Anyway, the guests at the resort I'm currently at are all white, that's a fact. No black tourists, can that be? It can. At the winery where I've been staying for the past few days, I could count on one hand the number of Black people who looked like they were just strolling around the vast estate just for fun.

So, to get my own picture, I could now do a guided tour of a township, on a bicycle for example, I read about it in a newspaper. However, I can't imagine doing that. Not because I'm scared. Or yes, I'm afraid - afraid that it could depress me too much. Well, I could certainly go there for delicious food, buy beautiful colorful fabrics and listen to great jazz, but I would feel like a voyeur. Maybe on my next visit to South Africa one day? The author of the newspaper article writes that the tour was stressful for him - but isn't it much more stressful for the people who live there in the township to see a couple of pseudo-sporty white people on wheels wobbling through their dirt roads, the dismay in the face, knowing that in the evening you can reflect on the day with a delicious cool blush rosé and then gently flop into your duvet?

If I had a reason to go there, I would go there. If I could do something concrete, if I had something to offer. But just stare? Geen thanks, no thanks. Speaking of Africaans, funny language, such a German-Dutch-English mishmash, which is of course also a relic of colonialism. But next time I come, I'll memorize a few simple phrases in isiXhosa or isiZulu, after all they are South Africa's main native languages. The "Sebras" (or "Idubes") are still on my terrace.

Finally, a tip from Dr. Christiaan Barnard, who suits me very well and who I am sure you will also like at the weekend: "Regular exercise, one or two glasses of red wine a day, olive oil with food and healthy sex." healthy sex? I interpret it in the sense of the heart specialist in such a way that hopefully he meant not to exert himself excessively - but that everyone, with whomever and according to their style, color and gender preference, should find their happiness.

I wish you a wonderful weekend in all colors.

*PS: I still saw the lions and the cheetahs. Uplifting. But also voyeuristic. The lioness almost caught an impala and then probably ate it too. I realize: I am a city dweller through and through, currently a vegetarian and also only a part-time realist.

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