Sunday, June 20, 2010
Another Side of South Africa
The world cup is running smoothly in South Africa, annulling the security concerns that some observers had. This is great news, not because I did not believe that this young country was not capable of hosting a global event, but because through this World Cup, South Africa will have the chance to erase this belief in the minds of the outsiders. I think they deserve this after all this years after overthrowing the last major racist regime in the civilized world.
Incidentally, I was fortunate enough to read Disgrace ,one of the best books I've read in the last 5 years, just before the World Cup. It is by the South African Nobel Literature Prize Laureate Coetzee. This great book came at a time when I was about to reach the conclusion that two different persons of comparable intelligence and manners can reach completely opposite conclusions on a divisive subject solely based on their upbringings and the culture they belong to. This book about "white" intellectuals, "black" rapists, colourless men submitting to their lust, dogs, "white" farmers, "black" entrepreneurs has lead me to once again question the validity and universality of our most basic concepts of good and bad. Set in rural South Africa, this book will definitely give you an idea about the life in South Africa that is not captured by the cameras. Furthermore, I believe one will appreciate the complexity of building a consensus between two cultures with very different philosophical/ethical axioms, especially after one of the cultures have enslaved the others for hundreds of years.
If you want to celebrate the culture of the host of the World Cup without paying the multi-nationals selling the same products with an "African " flavoe or playing the Vuvuzela, I recommend this book.