Sometimes I am really embarrassed to be a South African living abroad. There is a reason why I have avoided joining any kind of Saffa ex-pat organisation. I don’t want to sit around and talk about ‘the good old days’ or how ‘the blacks have taken over and screwed up the country’ over my imported boerewors and Mrs Balls chutney. I left South Africa for such different reasons to those who fled in 1994 fearing some kind of civil war, and I have such a different view of home that it makes me throw up a little in my mouth when I hear such bollocks.
While showing our friend KM around, we ended up next to a table of South Africans at Lynn Canyon. They have been living on the Island (in Victoria**) for eight years now. They were asking KM and I how long we’ve been here and were extolling the virtues of Victoria because it is like England with better weather, and Old Fart says, ‘Oh, you’re not going back to AAaafrica, I hope.’ AFRICA? Has he already been indoctrinated into thinking Africa is one amorphous mess (see previous post on this very topic)? What made me gag was how certain he was that just because we are two white young South Africans overseas, we’d agree that it is such a hell hole we’d never want to go back.
It got better. Old Fart swiftly made gaffe number two. KM was explaining that she lives in the Armpit of the World in rural Alberta and OF turns to her and says, ‘Oh, your husband must have a job there.’ I nearly snorted water out my nose at him. In retrospect, I should have. KM rather patiently explained that she is in fact a qualified doctor and hopes to return to Cape Town as it is her home, and is far, far more spectacular than said Armpit. That shut him up.
How goddamned patriarchal and snobby and racist all in one! Yes, yes, I know, there are idiots everywhere, but it makes me very sad when I encounter people like this. Get a grip! It’s 2008. We aren’t living in Boksburg in the 1950s, for crying out loud. And thank goodness Old Fart and family reside in Victoria, because South Africa certainly doesn’t need cretins like them ruining the local flavour and souring the Mrs Balls.
**Bearing in mind this is where people go to die