Thursday, 4 April 2013


We're on the carpet, sorting through an entire room scattered with Lego. We need some pink block to add to the construction of your house. First we tackled the camper van, then its trailer, then the camping table, and now the house. Her brother is building a monster truck, complete with battery-powered lights and the ability to pull a little built car onto its loading zone. Man, Lego, I hadn't remembered that playing with plastics blocks was so much fun (and so exhausting).

I originally wasn't there for the Lego, but for the coffee. My neighbour had asked this morning if I wanted to come visit a bit later, so this afternoon I walked over. I thought it would be this quick "hello, how was your week away, ok bye", but instead we played Lego with the kids and had coffee and then wine and then dinner. It was really fun not to be sitting with instant noodles and watching 7de Laan by myself.

Earlier today I read this article about South Africans in Europe and how when they are here they feel this need to emigrate because here it is so terrible with the corruption and violent crimes and general underlying feeling that at some point in the not so distant future, we will collapse completely into lawlessness. But the author made the point that mostly going away makes one realise what one had before, and then one misses the wide open spaces and knowing one's neighbours and chilling at the till because the cashier is working at a snail's pace.

I agree with the sentiment that "when South Africans speak up about crumbling infrastructure, poor service delivery and ridiculous schedule overruns it should not be viewed as privileged pandering", because we shouldn't accept that the police and the government is, at least in part, corrupt. We shouldn't have to patrol our neighbourhoods, we shouldn't have to be afraid all the time, and we shouldn't always play the race card when anything goes wrong.

But with all its faults, I think it is the people that still make us an endearing nation. It is that evening where you hung out at your neighbours just because, or that day your friend will played chauffeur and came to your graduation, or that your cleaning lady still calls you on your birthday even though she is retired, or that you make an extra lunch on Tuesdays for the guy who delivers the free newspaper. In the end it is simply that you like living here more than you would like leaving.

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