I’ve left Cape Town.
I wish I could have stayed. I’d swim some more in the cold, cold ocean, eating biltong and listening to the thousands accents of the Mother City.
I’ve travelled to South Africa for work, a month ago. But Cape Town showed me something that went beyond work, something that went beyond my bubble.
Something else. Snapshots of Africa. Glimpses of a continent I hardly know, yet am very, deeply, attracted to.
I’ve sighed at the beauty of the landscapes, at the sheer power of nature. I’ve burnt, because their sun is harsh. I’ve shivered, because their wind is strong.
The silhouettes of the trees, the bush fire we saw at night, the constant presence of Table Mountain, the clouds rolling down its cliffs, the view from the top of Lion’s Head. The waves, on the Cape Peninsula.
I’ve laughed at the loud exuberance of the people. The cultures, the flavours, the colours, the outfits, the patterns, the languages, the paces.
I’ve felt fear, because South Africa has its own issues and a lot of its population is in pain. I’ve only glanced at the townships and I’ve only glanced at the big cars and the protected houses. I’ve regretted my lack of understanding; I wish I knew more, I wish I could help.
But the people I’ve met – they lightened that up, so much.
The teenagers from the Lawhill College, who giggled as I struggled to repeat their words.
Mike Horn, the Johannesburg explorer whose adventures I used to watch on TV with my dad – he is genuinely mad.
The boat drivers, who go fishing every day and know every animal’s name.
And that security woman who blessed us on our last day, saying our kindness would only bring us good things, wherever we go.
I’m sure that I would have cringed, had she told me that a month ago. But there is something about that place that is very raw, very genuine, and makes sarcasm a difficult thing.
I flew out of Africa yesterday. I hope a bit of its reality stays with me.