Cape Town, South Africa – 3.1. – 8.1.2024
There it is at last: Table Mountain. THE destination of every Cape Town traveller. In all its glory. Slightly hazy, windy, the sun is burning.
The beach is full of people, but no one is laughing casually. Each squints inconspicuously at the other. A group of young black people come up to me.
I dodge. Their gaze and their path.
Exactly what I didn’t really want. I didn’t want to be drawn into the panic of the idea of being robbed, of the horror stories that are being told everywhere and to which everyone can make an even more shocking contribution.
I didn’t succeed. Not at all.
I came up with the idea of building a bridge. I want to bring the skills and insights that make up success – real success – here. There, to people for whom they can make a difference.
But now I’m asking myself: Don’t we need something completely different here than smartasses from Munich?
I met Tanja, a journalist from Germany who has been living here for 4 years. She shows me the beautiful sides of life at the Cape. The wineries, the trendy cafes and chic shops, the wonderful beaches where the coolest selfies are taken. On mobile phones, watched by shifty eyes.
I don’t enjoy taking pictures.
My first impression is: here you are perfectly led to believe in the ideal world of consumption. And maybe that’s why everyone wants to be a little more than they really are. You revel in luxury you can’t afford. It gives the feeling of a certain perspective, of belonging. Everyone is concerned about one’s own advantage. An attitude that is a misunderstanding, because it has made me neither lovable nor satisfied, at least. And that applies to white as well as to black.
I feel an abysmal sadness. I’m not here as a tourist who leaves after three weeks and wants to take everything he can pack in. I’m no longer a backpacker who can get by with three T-shirts. My self-image and value system have long been completely different. Too radical? Too naïve for this part of the world?
I got a little lost. Here, for example, no one wears jewelry, just nothing valuable. Something I haven’t done in Germany since I was a student. But of course – if you constantly hear: “don’t show anything that arouses desire”… So I’m not wearing anything and I feel vulnerable, naked. robbed of my individuality to a certain extent. It’s funny what little things you can hang freedom on…
I have to find myself again. Bridging this inner gulf, between being relaxed and indulging in beauty – and the fear of envy, hatred and violence.
So far, I don’t have an answer. And Tanja doesn’t know any either. She shrugs: “Conny, either you accept this as it is, or you don’t get along here. We all live with this constant fear and have become accustomed to ignoring it and turning it off. She’s one of them. Alternatively, you can lock yourself in your room from 7 p.m. in the evening and watch how others live.”
A clear message. And she’s right.
Only on the wineries around Stellenbosch, in the hinterland of Cape Town, can I relax. I forget the pictures of shifty eyes, broken windshields, and bullet holes in dashboards. Here, in the shade of well-tended deciduous trees, the anxiety finally falls away from me and I start to think…
OK, I know enough what vibes are… As long as I’m afraid, I shouldn’t lean too far out of the window on my own. And I need the exchange with people who see the whole thing reflected. No more conversations with those who are even more afraid than I am. So that my energy also rises again.
When I was in South Africa for the first time 23 years ago, in Cape Town, this beautiful city, I felt that the gap between white and black was unbridgeable. But a lot has changed. It mixes in the restaurants. There are just as many black families shopping in supermarkets as white families. Today, blacks get good jobs by law. There are schools and apprenticeships. There are prospects and opportunities. Actually, no one has to beg and steal. Politicians are doing a lot to close the gap. You have a choice and performance is worth it. A large part of the population is taking advantage of his opportunity. At least that’s my impression.
I look into the raven-black, friendly eyes of an employee of the Els winery and see satisfaction.
No, I’ve come to the right place. It’s like anywhere else in the world. Consuming people, experiences or objects doesn’t make me happy. It’s fun, but not happy. I need sincere people around me. People who are satisfied or are looking for ways away from consumption to become one. No matter what skin color. I’m looking for the golden path between the extremes. My way.
Two days of good sleep and today I’m back on track. What helped me out was the question: “How do you want to perform here?” As a gray mouse and shit, or as someone who has a standing?
I decided to stand. Without status symbols and with harmless and chic costume jewelry. Tomorrow I’m going to buy the cool necklace in the high-end shop.
#goforyourdreams #sinn #werte #zufriedenheit #erfolg #bleibdirtreu
This post is also available in: German