Monday, 25 August 2008

That's just how it is done in Africa

In the UK I got used to a very British way of doing things. Like waiting for a delayed train. When trains didn’t run because there was the “wrong kind of leaves” on the rails, I was amazed at the way people merely accepted this as being somehow normal – and acceptable.

Yet in South Africa we appear to be little different from this almost apathetic response to life.

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you will know that I have been beating my head against a brick wall trying to sort out an appropriate driving licence for myself – just to have a finance deal on a new car approved, not ACTUALLY for anything related to driving said new car. And as this saga develops, and I tell locals of my frustration, I am amazed at the response I keep getting… “Well, this is Africa – and this is how things are done.”

Like Load Shedding… When we turn off the electricity to vast swathes of the country in the middle of the business day because we cannot supply the demand for power in the country – this is Africa, and this is how it is done.

Like taxi’s – I cannot believe the rules (or apparent lack of them) that apply to the taxi industry that allows them to ride down roads on the WRONG side of the street to avoid the tens and dozens of cars that are waiting in patient, if frustrated and irritated, queues for a traffic light to change…

But this is Africa and that is how it is done.

It makes me wonder. With some very high profile sporting events being prepared for in Africa, just how African will they be? Will everyone have to understand that this is Africa, and that is how it is done?


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