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#1 Jul 16, 2017 1:36 pm

New Historian
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The first time I set foot in South Africa....

... I wasn’t actually going to South Africa; I was en route to Swaziland. I was booked to land at Johannesburg Airport at 0630AM, hang around the airport all day long, fly to Mbabane in Swaziland at 630PM that evening, and then take a two-hour taxi ride to Pigge’s Peak Hotel. So I called someone I knew in Johannesburg and asked: how long would it take to drive from Joburg Airport to Pigge’s Peak in Swaziland? I was told that, including an hour for the border crossing, about five hours, max. Fine, so I told my travel agent to book me a rental car in Johannesburg; I’d drive to Swaziland and return it to Johannesburg airport four days later.

The agent was horrified; you want to drive? Are you insane? This was in 1996, just two strife-torn years after South Africa’s freedom from the apartheid, during which there had been an explosion of political and ethnic violence. South Africa was one of the most dangerous places on earth, especially for a foreigner in a rented car. I didn’t care: I’m driving.

So said, so done. I landed at Johannesburg Airport (no longer named after the hated Jan Smuts) at 6:30AM and picked up the rental car. But then had to make a diversion to a shopping mall to buy some clothes, because British Airways had lost my suitcase. As I drove out of the airport I was thinking: Wow, South Africa! After all those anti-apartheid protests, boycotts and benefit concerts; whoever would’ve thought I would actually be here? But here I was.

The very first encounter I had in South Africa completely blew away all my pre-conditioned “facts” about the country, forcing a re-think of my conventional wisdoms. As I drove down the off-ramp to my first robot (traffic lights), a beggar approached the car. A white beggar. Huh? He held up a sign that read, in semi-literate handwriting: “Too white to work”. Needless to say he didn’t get a rand off of me! I drove off, puzzled. And from that day to this, South Africa has consistently forced me to re-evaluate all my prejudices.

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#2 Jul 16, 2017 2:48 pm

Calypso
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Re: The first time I set foot in South Africa....

"Too white to work" is a funny way to beg for shillings.  Why were you puzzled. He was one of the many whites whose economic  situation had decline so that the progress of blacks could get underway. Some of them had to fall so that blacks could build better lives for themselves. I want to see this in white America.-- CAPABLE blacks been given positions over whites. This would stabilized and reinforce the black middle-class.

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#3 Jul 16, 2017 2:52 pm

Calypso
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Re: The first time I set foot in South Africa....

Calypso wrote:

"Too white to work" is a funny way to beg for shillings.  Why were you puzzled? He was one of the many whites whose economic  situation had decline so that the progress of blacks could get underway. Some of them had to fall so that blacks could build better lives for themselves. I want to see this in white America.-- CAPABLE blacks been given positions over whites. This would stabilize and reinforce the black middle-class.


White skin isn't superior and black skin isn't inferior. Too bad the bastards have to know this truth the hard way!!!!

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