What we don’t often realize as South Africans is how incredibly fortunate we are to live in such a beautiful country. On this Heritage Day, let us change that. Let us remember how lucky we are. After all, we have got the whole world in our own country.
When I was growing up, my family and I were lucky enough to have access to a corrugated iron beach shack on the east coast somewhere between Port Elizabeth and East London. We had to collect water each day from the tank outside, we bathed seldom and swam in the sea instead. We took turns setting the table and washing the dishes. We “braaied” often and napped in the afternoon. My sisters and I used to look for animal shapes in the chipped paint on the roof above our heads. We’d fall asleep to the sounds of the sea and South African summer. We’d collect sea shells (before a permit was necessary) and walk for hours on the beach. We read hundreds of books and played cards while listening to the Boxing Day cricket test on my grandfather’s old aerial radio.
I have been travelling for nearly five years now. I have lived in the UK and Asia. I have seen some of the most magnificent and awe-inspiring sights. Some days, looking through my photos, I cannot believe how much I have seen and the amazing people I have met. But still, after all of this, I would give anything to go back to those days at the sea. I still think it’s the most beautiful place in the world. I may be slightly biased but who cares?
When you are thinking of taking a holiday, don’t forget about the places to see and the memories to be made right here. You can visit the Kalahari Desert or go hiking up a mountain in the Drakensburg. Stay in the middle of nowhere where only the birds chirp or head to where there’s constantly a party on the go. You can sunbathe on some of the most beautiful beaches in the world or head into the bush to see animals some people will only ever see on the Discovery Channel. Swim with dolphins or go shark-cage diving. Bungee jump. Camp or stay in a hotel. Cycle or drive.
We have it all right in our own back yard. I cannot wait to explore my own country. Happy Heritage Day everyone!
By: Philippa Francis