The world turned on its head for a moment last night. Or at least for the duration of an intriguing movie on telly: Africa Paradis - meaning Africa Paradise in English. Set in a future where Europe has fallen to poverty while Africa has successfully merged to form a powerful United States of Africa, it centers around a computer programmer, Olivier and his girlfriend school teacher, Pauline.
They try to get a visa legally, and wait outside the African embassy in France. The queue is long and the French are desperate. Sadly for them, their visa is rejected whereby they decide to get into Africa illegally, and even work the menial jobs on offer, even though they are young, in the peak of their lives and very much so educated professionals.
Call me conditioned by society but I felt weird, to say the least, to see an influx of Europeans into Africa, even if it was in a movie....Our reality is the reverse. Most, if not all people from the developing world dream of the 'better' life they can get in the First World.
And here in South Africa, people immigrate in droves for different reasons: the crime, the unemployment and Lord knows what else. I mean, even S.O and I have had fleetingly discussions about leaving the country. Somehow the oodles of optimism just post 1994 seemed to have dwindled and I too, a self confessed patriotic, have been having second thoughts seep into the edges of my mind.
There are signs that things are not looking good, but I sometimes wonder if people are seeing a hurricane in a tea cup. Or am I being naive? Will I change my mind about this country if I have to experience how it is to live in distant shores, and not feel scared all the bloody time about becoming a statistic to crime. Yes, I admit, I am so cautious to a point of paranoia. I mean, you know you are losing it when you do not feel safe in your own bed and think every noise is someone trying to break into the house. Or that every stranger on the street has malicious intent. Or when you are scared of stopping at a red robot because there is a chance you may get hijacked. Yes, paranoia is now my constant companion.
And what is even a further dampener on the situation is the book I am reading: Swahili for the Broken Hearted: Cape Town to Cairo By Any Means Possible written by Peter Moore. Yes, Africa is beautiful but there are the things like corruption and crime that has a way of seeping into the story. And his experience in Johannesburg in particular, was distressing. And when you see it in black and white and in a book, it's hard to deny the reality of they way we live.
So all of this just got me pondering about my love for Africa, being an African (even though I have been told numerous times that just because I am not of a certain hue I am not African)where I belong, if I do actually belong and where to from here.
As yet, there are no easy answers, but then again are there ever?