logoLiving in South Africa by John Sandford


Having spent almost 50 years in the 'dark continent' if I was to describe it in one word it could only be 'enigmatic' for it is a place of such natural beauty but where there is minimum value placed on human life - unfortunately South Africa's annual murder rate of 18000 bears grim testimony to that - and this in a country with some 12 million less inhabitants than UK.

After I left PC after completing my A levels in 1959 and being thwarted in my first career choice I set off to see the world but did not get any further than Africa and have been fortunate enough to travel around it from the coast to coast and from Kenya in east/central Africa to our current resting place, the little dorp (village) of Ladismith, some 350km east of Cape Town in the Western Cape's Klein Karoo area.

Ladismith lies in the foothills of the Swartberg mountain range and is basically an agricultural area growing stone fruits such as apricots, peaches, plums, etc. plus grapes (the type that end up in a bottle and not on the table!).


Swartberg Mountain Range

Just in case you get the idea that South Africa is a hotbed of murder and various other forms of heinous crime let me make it clear that such problems are mainly restricted to the large cities where more and more people are moving to gated security compounds whilst in Ladismith we live without a security care in the world.

Unlike the rest of Africa which was not afflicted with apartheid, there is definitely an undercurrent of racial tension in SA - there are recent statements by senior people in the ANC that have led many to think that it is unofficial government policy to 'persuade' whites to leave this country and this has led to a serious brain-drain which is to the benefit of places such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, etc. where highly skilled SA teachers, nurses, doctors, etc. are welcomed with open arms which is to our detriment.

I stay basically because I think of myself to be an African and besides my blood is now so thin that I do not think that I could handle the cold wet northern hemisphere summers not to mention the winters! (summer temps here frequently exceed 40 degrees C for weeks on end)

Of course whilst there are thousands leaving the country for greener pastures there are many more who enter SA illegally on a daily basis to look for employment and to escape the regimes of such places as Mugabe's Zimbabwe. They come here in an attempt to find work to support their families back home - as in fact do refugees from many other parts of Africa but alas they are not always welcomed by the locals who sometimes can be xenophobic in the extreme.

Our currency the Rand is virtually in free-fall which presents superb vacation opportunities for tourists from hard currency areas and if any of you feel like seeing 'a world in one country' you could certainly do worse than visiting SA - last time I counted there were something like 50 flights per week from London to Johannesburg and Cape Town all non-stop. If you would like some information on what to do, where to go, and what to see, all you have to do is email me on sandford@cyber-tel.co.za and I shall be more than happy to give you some ideas - as an example, how about a cable car trip up Cape Town's Table Mountain where the views over the city are simply stunning followed by a visit to the Kruger National Park (the big 5 in abundance) with a side visit to Zimbabwe or Zambia to view one of the 7 wonders of the world, Victoria Falls. You will not be disappointed.

John Sandford, Ladismith Cape. May 08 2008. [To News & Notices link]


Table Mountain  - Cape Town