The Republic of Southafrica in the year of 2000, how do people there feel about their past, their presence and their future? Of course there is not one answer to that. People have lived secularized for so long that all of them have different thoughts about these questions. During February thru' June 2000 MalinMatilda Allberg was in Johannesburg on a SIDA-scholarship and spoke to at least a few of the different people living there about these issues.
The short- film Passage - long walk to fortune is her subjective interpretation of what she was told.
Passage - long walk to fortune was shown on Sundsvalls art-museum in April 2002.
The spring-semester of 2000 (Feb. thru' June)I was at the University of the Witwatersrand's (Wits) department of Fine Arts. I had been granted a SIDA-scholarship , thru' Bildmuseet in Umeå, Sweden, which meant a direct-exchange so that two student from the Academy of Fine Arts there went to Johannesburg, while two Wits-students spent the same time at Umeå's academy of FA. The spring of 2000( which is Southafrica's late summer and fall) I was in Johannesburg and I would here like to share my experiences and thoughts with you. So please, enjoy! 'How's it!' is the most common way to greet people in Southafrica, which does not mean that people are very interested in your personal health; just reply 'nice seeing you!', to avoid surprised looks. I would like to begin with some history; by the end of the 1400's Vasco da Gama had sailed aronund the African southern cape on his way to India, but nobody realized that you could really use the southern African continent for anything untill much later. It would take 150 years until the Dutch ship 'Haarlem' stranded close to where Cape Town is now situated, and was left there for six months. The sailors grew vegetables and traded peacefully for meat with the natives during that time. The language that the natives spoke had a lot of clicking sounds, which the sailors thought sounded like 'hot', 'tot' a.s.o. so that is why they began calling them 'Hottentots'. The politically correct word for that people is now Khoi-san.
Speaking of that I find the languages in Southafrica very interesting. There is not one Southafrican accent, since Southafrica has no less than eleven official languages! Zulu, Xhosa (, where Xh is pronounced as a click against your front-teeth ) and Afrikaans are the three largest ones, while English is just the fifth largest one. The English-speaking Southafricans also easily speak the African languages' click-sounds. In other places English-speaking people often claim that their mouths are not made for "all those strange sounds", like for instance the Scandinavian R.
Anyhow, when the Dutch were finally rescued half a year later they proposed to the Dutch leaders that there ought to be found a permanent storing-place for ships sailing further than the Cape. On April 6 in 1652 Jan van Ribing, who is considered to be Southafrica's founder, landed with three ships by Table Bay. He founded the first settlement there and they peacefully traded for kettle etc with the "Hottentots" , for a century or so. In Europe a lot of wars were being fought at this time, so Table Bay was Brittish for a few years, before it became Dutch again, but that I will just leave hanging. The Nationalist-party introduced Apartheid in 1948 and at that time it was not considered strange at all. I.e. the English colonizers had treated the natives almost in the same way all the time, although not having put a name on that treatment. When the "rest of the world" evolved more democtratic thoughts, Southafrica did not follow. Probably as a result of that the powerful prople did not want a change, since that would make things worse for them, while the "white mass" were ignorant, because of censorship a.s.o.. When apartheid was introduced it was also called 'the politics of good neighbours', which really seems missleading now. Since apartheid was finally abolished and Nelson Mandela became the president in 1994 the risk for a civil-war seems a lot less threatening and Southafrica has become a popular place to travel to. It is one of the world's most beautiful countries, 'few if any places on earth has such beautiful views, astonishing beaches and alive history' as is written in one of my guide-books. It has also been almost closed to western tourism, because of the boycotts during the apartheid-era, which has made people very curious about what it looks like. It is also true that Southafrica is very beautiful in many places, but it is also very poor and with a very high vilolent criminality-rate, which I believe makes it very ugly.