Today is Freedom Day in South Africa so we get a 3 day weekend. Freedom Day celebrates freedom and commemorates the first post-apartheid elections held on that day in 1994. The elections were the first national elections where everyone of voting age of over 18 from any race group was allowed to vote. Even women 😉.
It was no surprise to anyone that Nelson Mandela became our president as a result of that election. I was living in SA at the time and was able to be a part of the transition that the country went through as apartheid ended.
I do not think that Nelson would be pleased with the lack of progress that his political party has made in raising the standards of living for most of its constituents- the unemployment rate is still approximately 1 in 4, officially its at 24% but experts say in reality is is more like 40%.
Half of the country live below the poverty line. What exactly does that mean in actuality? That means that 27 million people live on approximately R775 per month.
That is the equivalent of about $65 USD.
Many people still live in shacks within an informal settlement. This usually means they have no infrastructure in place for basic human needs such as toilets, running water or electricity.
The crime rates, and that is including violent crime such as murder and rape are one of the world’s worst- this includes rape of children and even infants. GHB (date rape drug) is used in bars and clubs on both men and women.
The rates of addiction seem to be ever on the increase with the scourge of crystal meth contributing to the crime rates. Here in SA it is called ‘tik’ due to the noise the glass pipes make when cooling off.
Meanwhile our presidential Nero fiddles in Nkandla while our beloved country deteriorates around us.
The president has been accused of rape, of various other unsavory and unethical crimes. He has been caught red handed embezzling money to renovate his home.
I am sure Mandela is crying for the people he devoted his life to freeing from the shackles of apartheid but the word ‘freedom’ rings false in my ears. How free are you when you are starving, when you have only a bit of tin to protect you from the elements. When you have very little education? When your future consists only of hope that your children can achieve what you never managed to achieve? So many children go to school with no breakfast or lunch and possibly even no dinner the night before. How can you learn when your stomach is empty?
The government party that we all celebrated 21 years ago as representing hope for SA is now representing nothing but corruption.
Don’t get me wrong, I am still grateful for a day off. I still woke at 6.30 as there is no chance of a lie in with 5 animals staring hungrily at you.
It is a stunning day, sunny and warm. I was going to go out but I think I will just relax in the shade by the pool.
Last night Cait and I were on our own so we cooked. We had a meat free, carb free meal. We made gorgeous home made fish cakes but with cauliflower mash instead of potato. To go with it we made some pea purée and roasted peppers and beet root. All organic as well. We felt very proud of ourselves.
It’s been a lovely relaxing weekend. On Saturday Norm and I went to our fave Indian restaurant The Indian Oven. We had the vegetarian starter platter.
The platter contained Samoosas, aloo paratha, onion bhajee and aubergine bhajee with sauces and cost R65. It would easily feed 3-4 people as a starter, it was huge! I do love the onion bhajees.
For my main I had prawn curry (R125) and onion fried rice, Norm had lamb korma (at R90.00 and for the non-indian food fans consists of cubed lamb cooked in a creamy cashew nut gravy with a delicious blend of traditional Indian spices) and egg fried rice. We also shared saag aloo (R60) which is spinach and potato in a curry sauce. It was all so divine. The prawns tasted fresh and it had just the right amount of spices. Hot but not face melting hot. The rice dishes are approx R20 each.
They also do amazing naan bread, thin and crisp and dripping with butter. All in all a brilliant dinner.
But put against the comparison of what most people in SA have as a monthly amount to spend, we spent more in one night than many people have budgeted for a month.
I’m always aware of this divergence, but with the current government I can’t see how this will change anytime soon.
Despite all of this, I do love SA and I hope that somehow things will come right and true freedom will be the right of every person here. Freedom from hunger, from poverty, from crime, from hate, from persecution.
South Africa – my heart home.