Happy Freedom Day South Africa!

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Image credit: Eleanor Turvey Art Prints

Today marks the first Freedom Day that I have spent outside of South Africa. South Africa has a lot of public holidays. Often we find ourselves waking up on the day only to realize the day and its cultural or historical significance. But, I have to say, there are some days which are particularly special to most South Africans. Today, April 27th, marks Freedom Day. Freedom day commemorates the first post-apartheid elections held on April 27th 1994. The first democratic national elections, in which every South African, irrespective of race, class or gender could vote. It is my favorite public holiday. I was very young on that day now 19 years ago, but I can still remember watching it on tv for a few days on end. It was an exciting and rocky time in South African history, but it brought about a change to what I regard as the best country in the world!

In the past few days leading up to Freedom Day, my heart has been yearning for home. For some home comforts, that we take for granted. So I have listed some of the things that have niggled me recently:

1. I really miss people. I miss the cultural diversity, I miss the melting pot of different languages surrounding me. I miss "ja" and "kak" and "yoh" and "eish". I miss saying "now-now". The most difficult word, which I am still weaning my self off is "shame". "Shame man" has no legitimate usage outside the borders of South Africa. I also am yet to find an equivalent in any language. Anyone know of one?

2. I miss the expanses of green-ness. I miss trees. I miss our electrifying and brilliant highveld storms. I miss seeing the sky going on for ever over the horizon. I miss smelling clean air on an evening after an afternoon rain shower. I miss the yellow hazy nap-time of Sunday afternoons and sunny bright early mornings. Everything is still dark here at 8am. 

3. I miss driving my car. Yes, it is great to live in a country with a reliable and efficient public transport. Don't get me wrong, it's nice to walk everywhere while feeling safe no matter the day or time. But, driving a car on a highway, is a pleasure. Trust me! I don't miss traffic though - that includes the highway on Friday afternoons. Driving your own car also lets you buy really big things and transport them easily. This includes groceries which I now have to lug up a flight of stairs. 

4. I miss our food, this includes wine, rooibos tea and good old 5 Roses Teabags. Whether it is the delicious convenience of HEALTHY Woolies meals, salads, Kauai or the good old chicken pie. I miss Nando's. Did I mention I really miss Nando's? Easter was particularly bleak for me this year. I could not find a hot cross bun for the life of me anywhere! Add to that how affordable good, healthy food is back home. I think many South Africans take that for granted. When an average meal costs 10 euros, you may thank your deities more often in South Africa.

My new home has many positive attributes - It only grows dark after 9pm, shops close after 10pm, there is always something to do. It is relatively easy to travel to anywhere in Europe with ease and affordably. But, South Africa is still my home. Happy Freedom Day South Africa, I love you bru!

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