South Africa – Part I First thoughts

Okay, maybe that is not what Johannesburg is entirely consisted off, gold, greed, and guns, but its history, Apartheid, is summed up very briefly by those words….

So many atrocities here have happened, from the segregation to the dehumanization of people….All in the name of fear, the White labor  fear of cheaper black and asian work force replacing them, the Africans’ fear of the British.

And this fear has led to a world where Blacks are considered second rate citizens…In their own country.

I don’t know how they survive, the generation of 40 and 50 year olds that still remember Apartheid. Living through each day, being fed rumors that you had sinned or were inferior in some way, just because of the skin color you were born with, each day every day. How that mantra must have stuck….

Now, Joburg, as it is nicknamed, is a bustling city which looks almost like Europe, if not a little bit less safe and filled with black-skinned people instead of White. The curious thing was, the wHite skinned people were nowhere to be seen in the places I went to. Apparently, they have segregated themselves to the very richest parts of town, and so, I guess, apartheid still lives on in a more diffused form.

One of the days I spent there was dedicated to the safari, South Africa’s famous animals.

It was all so…touristy. The Lion’s Park in Joburg had lions in cages, with queues of people lining up to take pictures and touch them. I wonder how those lion cubs feel, being displayed like that. I almost felt guilty having to see those poor eyes staring longingly past the cage wiring. These places…These places are just for pictures.

I’ve moved past the point where traveling is for pictures. Traveling is for the experience, and the satisfaction of finding an animal in the wild, even though that is much riskier, is all the more satisfying than looking at a lion in a cage. Traveling is for trying to find the truth, or as close to the real situation, the native perspective, as possible.

Traveling and being a tourist to me, are two completely different things.

Some of the photos below are from the touristy Lion Park, and others are from the less touristy Philanesburg National Park, where animals weren’t squished together in a 20 meter by 20 meter enclousure to make sure we get good pictures.

Can you guess which ones come from where?


IMG_8982Doesn’t the cat remind you of Puss and Boots?


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