On my seven hour bus ride back, through the beautifull landscape of green hills, that seem to change colour with the hour, I realised that in my mother country Netherlands we can’t enjoy the luxury of wondering through nature for days. Ok, wondering for hours is possible on my favorite Dutch spots: Schier and Terschelling.
Netherlands might be among one of the wealthiest countries in the world, but in terms of space you could call us a development country.
Arrived at the Parkstation in Johannesburg, I wondered what I should think about the white couple, early twenties, that I met in the Johannesburg Bus station.
I had met them the day I left. The guy came to me with a very long story that ended with the request if I could give him money because they had to leave that day. I gave him some rand, the currency here. After all it’s not my business hat somebody is gonna do with my money.
Now I arrived in the bus station a few days later and guess what? They were still there begging for money…
I went after the guy and he apparently did not feel very comfortable at all when he recognized me. ‘How much money did you make the last days?’, I asked him. ‘Five hundred rand’, he said, with a smile. Showing not being serious. ‘But at least I am not robbing or steeling people’
‘Now, tell me you story. Why are you here?’, I asked him. He told me a story that he was there with his girlfriend to bag for the accommodation, that they run out of money, that only a few months ago he was a graphic designer with work and an income, his parents had died and now they were surviving here. He told me that he did not get jobs because he was white and not black.
These young people did not fit into the profile of the white middle aged ex-parastatal workers that you found begging at traffic lights in Johannesburg. Carrying signs that they are in need of food and/or any job that you, the reader, could offer them.
But I realised that the guy in Kimberley started talking seriously about leaving his mother country because of the fact that he felt that only blacks were getting the good positions now.
He was very serious. ‘It is a kind of compensation now’ a black South African companion told me later. ‘At least a lot of white people that want to leave, are able to leave this country. The blacks never had that chance.’