Jun 24

The New South Africa

Sitting in the airport on a dark cold morning with a one hour flight delay may not appear, at first glance, to be the most inspirational place on the planet, but then first impressions can be often wrong.

Wrong, because it served as a reminder of the multiple layers of life that make up our society. The travelers, some on business visiting our shores, some on holiday following their team. The locals split into those working, booking us in, cleaning shoes, selling goods at the shop and those also travelling on business or following  team Bafana!

Life in SA is very normal, very cosmopolitan, very ordinary and yet at the same time deliciously extra ordinary. The lounges at our airports are truly world class, but then they are within what are new world class buildings and operations themselves. Today I will travel, almost unbelievably, between Johannesburg airport and Sandton in 15 minutes and I will do it on the world’s newest train system, the Gautrain!

Later today I will fly to the world’s newest airport in Durban and top that off with a trip tomorrow to a relatively small town called Port Elizabeth where I will see if England can stay in the World Cup and I will watch the game in one of a handful of international standard and brand new stadiums.

I have also travelled to and from these locations not only on the exceptional Gautrain, but also on and via some of the most immaculate new road and bridge systems built anywhere in the last ten years.

In the last two weeks I have seen, organisational and service delivery from South Africa that its old corrupt apartheid regime could only have scoffed at! Charm and polite advice, a desire to please and a longing for acknowledgement permeate a whole country, a country that only 16 years ago was morally bankrupt, ashamed and spiraling out of control under a white, petty minded and vindictive Nationalist government.

So now that party is where it belongs, in the trash and the financial future of South Africa has never looked brighter in the last thirty years! We have replaced the old with the new and given millions some hope.

South Africans should be proud, as the world’s economic woes settle, so will South Africa’s position in that picture. No longer emerging, now an established economic player, no longer a what if scenario rather a can do position.

We need to believe, we need to buy and invest in ourselves and in twenty years from now we will all look back and say, that was the moment that the new South Africa was reborn, 2010. That was the dawn of the real South Africa, a dawn that the whole world watched and embraced and admired during a month long, 24 hour a day advert.

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