Tuesday: 15.August.2006

A letter from the Rad in-box, from Johannesburg, South Africa

Received lots of mail regarding yesterday's entry, about the aborted over-night with the bug (Rad Jr.) .. such as this one, which comes from Johannesburg, South Africa, along with interesting insights into that fascinating country:

Hi Rad,

Just read your latest post about taking the bug back to his mom. You did an amazing thing. That took guts. But it's honest. I'm so impressed - no, moved -- by your post that I can't think what else to say. It's profoundly honest.

I can only imagine how hard it must be for you, but the strength and honesty with which you post to the public is amazing.

I'm South African born-n-bred. Lived most of my life in Johannesburg. My parents (English / Irish) are South Africans, too, as were their parents.

today's entry continued here

South Africa is home, so it doesn't feel all that exotic. I've travelled to New York and Rhode Island once, and so I can see how it might look different.

Johannesburg (and the other big towns) are semi-first-world cities: they come across as urban areas missing a few ingredients.

Jo'burg (or as we call it, "Jozi") has an informal public transport system, backed by trains and bus routes. Like many previously-advantaged white people, I drive a car in the increasingly bad city traffic.

All these cities are still dealing with the legacies of Apartheid, where one of the key policies was to squash the vast majority black population into small areas of (usually bad) land.

This applied in the cities, too, where "townships" were created to have cheap labour for mining and industry just far enough away from the suburbs. A system of passes was developed to ensure that black people didn't stray far from their designated areas.

As a resullt, Johannesburg has zones of great poverty (and density), often now juxtaposed right next to areas of great wealth, as the city has grown dramatically in the 12 years since the official end of Apartheid (although it was really over by 1990, which makes it 16 years).

Many of the (white) people I grew up with don't, but I love my country - with all its' flaws. In this increasingly mad world, we seem to have managed to avoid descending into civil war.

I attribute this to the statesmen, both black and white, who managed to ride the dying Apartheid beast, but I also attribute this to the will of the people.

I suppose my email is representative of South Africa in that it's hard to do much without seeing the political and historical overtones. It's a beautiful land, with deserts, plains and jungles.

I mentioned a road-trip around the country that I'm planning, and can't wait to get a proper look at many places I've never been to.

I work in film and television, as an up-and-coming do-everything, I suppose. I'm an editor, writer, and recently, director. I've also recently bought a Macbook, which I'm thoroughly enjoying as my first laptop.

Bad as it sounds, the option/fallback of installing Windows was a deciding factor. The film and television industries are at the forefront of negotiating a 'new' South Africa and - patriot that I am - it's an interesting place to be.


Stephen A.
Johannesburg, South Africa

For more along these lines, here's a Google search pre-configured for the query: Johannesburg South Africa

Posted by Rad at August 15, 2006 08:55 AM


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