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Becker’s African Diary #16: Goodbye to South Africa

Johannesburg, 17.07.2010

Off to Mozambique..

The World Cup is over, the mates are back to Germany, the bike inspected, and after a few days in the cozy comfort of good friends’ guesthouse in Jozi (if you ever make it here, stay at the Lucky Bean) it feels as if the first journey is over, and a second one, different in most aspects will start tomorrow morning, when I´ll head towards Maputo, the capital of Mocambique, which should be a comfortable and stress-free ride of around 500 km.

The last 5 weeks have been dominated – of course – by the World Cup and the visit of my friends, the itinerary dominated by match fixtures and flight plans, and there was little freedom when it came to trip planning, Blatter decided more than I did. Now it will be different, 4 weeks left, and 5-6.000 km to be covered through the southern african states to reach Windhoek in the middle of August for the flight back..

South Africa was an experience I won´t forget. Not only because I met friends that will be with me for good – A big hug, Conway, Moenier, Natasha – and not only because I had a brilliant time during the Cup itself, I also learned a lot, probably more than in most other countries I have visited. My idea of nature has changed, and my perception of what a sunrise, a horizon and infinite width is will always be dominated by what I had the privilege to experience here, in the country of plenty.

More than this I am still touched by the level of mildness and kindness by so many Sourth Africans, most often by those with the hardest living conditions, a mildness that seems to be the only chance to succeed in the tough struggle that lies ahead of the country: to give all citizens access to education, healthcare and living conditions that are not an assault on their dignity, and thus making those fences, alarm systems and patrols that stop this blessed land from being a happy place one day.

I am not sure if this struggle will be successful very fast, and the fact that the privileged winners of Apartheid and century long abuse of black labor show a very often apalling lack of understanding and arrogance does not make it easier..

Nevertheless, this could be the most beautiful place to live on earth one day, I think, and if the struggle ahead should be successful, the whole planet in it´s attempt to overcome the painful and unbearable wealth disparity should and will profit. Here, it is a fight on each others doorsteps, and the fortress we have built around our continent at home is reduced to an electrical fence around ones property..

You have to love the country and it´s people for the courageous journey into unknown waters, it has embarked upon…

A final video, from a Shebeen in Soweto

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