Friday, May 9, 2014

The Gap

It is transparent that South African society has been and continues to be stratified. The vestiges of apartheid are ubiquitous. A striking example of the disparity in wealth can be seen in the housing that different groups inhabit. 

We are now in a satellite community, Malmesbury, on the eve of our final stage into the vaunted city of Cape Town. Many of us have been in search of a comfortable bed. There are guesthouses in most towns of any size. The accommodations are invariably tucked in a lovely leafy neighbourhood. The owners are Afrikaners and the "help" are of other races. The lodging below is where some of us will retire tonight. There is security, of course.

Across from this quaint spot, there is a high school. The entrance to the school boasts a sign proclaiming its motto. It is a massive compound girded by fences and barbed wire. The pupils are smartly clad in uniform.

As a teacher, I was curious to walk around the facilities. Intimidated by the walls, I strolled down to one side of the grounds where there was a basketball court. Please note the wired fence.

At one entrance, the following sign appeared. The Spar corporation is the main food distributor here and in other southern African nations that fall within the SA hegemony. Education can and is brought to you with, perhaps, a bit of executive sponsorship. This intrigues me as Coca-Cola has a foothold in some academic institutions. 

To have and have not. As I wandered down to main street, I cast a glance at the edge of the school and a homeless man, presumably sedated by grog, was literally down and out. 

1 comment:

  1. As you get closer to Cape Town, you will see the shanty towns where indigenous people live a much different lifestyle than the suburban neighborhoods further out. It is quite sad that there is such disparity between the classes, much the same way that Native Americans live in poverty on reservations in the Southwest US. I don't know what the answer is, government efforts to intervene have not been successful thus far. One hopes that the nation of South Africa will become wealthier and the masses will benefit in a way they haven't in the past.