Africa .Hurrmm…  a country of many beauties and mysteries. A country filled cultures and colour. In the present 21st century, South Africa happens to be one of the most famous tourist destinations in the world. Not only are the people friendly and nice but South Africa, is the home to many wild animals and long sandy beaches. 

            Putting away the animals, casino’s and beaches, a trip to South Africa is indeed a fantastic learning experience .Certain things that I’ve learnt over my stay there makes me feel glad I live in Malaysia and certain things in South Africa has set a good example for me.

If you were to roam around in the streets of Johannesburg in the day time, your eyes could be filled with tears. As on every corner of the street they are children begging for money and food. If you stop at the traffic light, there are people coming with bits and pieces of card board saying “Please help me”. Many homeless, many without families. Looking at these people who are so poor and really appreciate any small thing they get out of the rubbish bin really can make you feel so glad that you live a much more luxuries life than them. Thus, you will really treasure everything that god has given you throughout these years. However, if you roam the streets of Johannesburg at night, you might be frightened to you wits!

Young boys, in their teens, sit in big groups in the corner watching over vehicles passing by just waiting to attack and hijack one of them. Do not be surprised if suddenly a young boy, somebody who you think you can just give a punch in the face, will come up to your vehicle with a gun pointing at your head. That’s how desperate people are there till they will do anything for money. From begging to killing. The government doesn’t support these people. The South African government doesn’t want to bring a penny to help these homeless people. All of them live in informal settlements. The condition of living out of the city away from tourists is indeed terrible. When I passed some informal settlements, it was so sad to see that a family of 7 have to share a house where the roof is just a plank of Zink with nothing else. Although in Malaysia, we do have people who are just as poor, but thank god our government supports them and help them by spending money to build low costs flats for them. Thank god. 

            On my stay in Africa, my tour guide was talking about a certain building that the British built just before South Africa gained independence. It was interesting to know that South Africa shares the same independence year as us Malaysians. But what shocked me the most is that when I asked the tour guide what was the specific date they officially gained their independence, she could answer me. All she said was that “owh, I think its some time in the middle of the year. There is a date but it slipped out of my head”. On the other hand, if you were to ask any Malaysian young or old what day we gained our independence, im sure you will get only one answer, 31 August 1957. This clearly shows you how much independence means to us Malaysians.   

            Later, I gained more knowledge about the sanction upon South Africa. The reason why South Africa was put under a sanction was because the black and white didn’t want to cooperate. The white wanted to be all whites while the blacks wanted to be with only all whites. Neither side wanted to compromise. There were beaches that only the whites could go to and there were schools that only blacks could go to. South African’s took this very seriously. For instance, if you’re a white and your living in a very expensive house, the minute a black moves in next to you the prize of your property drops almost 50%.Same goes if you’re a black and a white moves in.That shows how much the black and white hated each other and judged each other by their skin colour. UN out a sanction upon South Africa till they resolved their internal conflicts. 

            During the sanctions, South Africa couldn’t get materials from the outside world, therefore they found many ways of improvising their own internal economy. Thus, the citizens didn’t think much of the sanctions and still had the mentality of the blacks and the whites. However, one person say through this childish act and took a stand for what he believed in. This individual believed that blacks and whites should come together and South Africa will be a great country. This guy was non-other than Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela is one of the great moral and political leaders of our time: an international hero whose lifelong dedication to the fight against racial oppression in South Africa .But don’t get me wrong ,through out his battle to fight against the racial oppression, he spent 27 years in prison. Out of the 27 years, 18 were spent at Robben Island. Confined to a small cell, the floor his bed, a bucket for a toilet, he was forced to do hard labor in a quarry. He was allowed one visitor a year for 30 minutes could write and receive one letter every 6 months. But Robben Island became the crucible which changed him. Through his intelligence and charm, Nelson Mandela eventually bent even the most brutal prison guards, assumed leadership over his jailed partners and became the master of his own prison. He emerged as a mature leader with an amazing amount of knowledge and ideas. in the very end, Nelson Mandela is now a hero to all South Africans. Although he spent many years in jail, he learnt every time and only one thing kept him going in the dark moments in his life, determination. Everybody can learn something from Nelson Mandela. You don’t have to be anybody to make a difference. Just by determination and focus he made the top in the very end. 

            Well, I would defiantly say that my trip to South Africa has defiantly taught me a few things .Not only did a have  a great holiday, but I also gained knowledge, realized how lucky I am ,and realized how far determination can drive you. Im glad that I saw the beauty of Africa and im just as glad that I saw the ugly.