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Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des Van Rooyen. Picture Credit: Gallo Images
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Blacks are accidental tourists in beautiful SA

By unknown | Mar 27, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Are the majority of black people accidental tourists in their own country?

Are the majority of black people accidental tourists in their own country?

I think so.

I mean those South Africans to whom cities such as Cape Town and Durban are music to their ears.

They have never been there and may never go.

To these South Africans these port cities will remain a mirage. They may as well be as far away as Paris or Los Angeles.

South Africa is continually being appraised as one of the best tourist destinations in the world.

I will name a few tourist destinations that have been described as breathtaking, spectacular or exotic, among many more flattering depictions.

There is the world heritage site, the Cradle of Mankind at Mogale City. It is also one of the new wonders of the world. Then there is the breathtaking view from God's Window in Mpumalanga. Just one look down the peak and you know why it was given the name.

On the Wild Coast there is the beautiful Hole in the Wall at Coffee Bay. It is tautologous to repeat that ours is a beautiful country, but it is necessary to say again and again that most o South Africans do not know it.

Most people do not know much about our country because they cannot travel around it, not out of choice, but because they have none.

Many people, especially those in the townships, have never been out of their locations.

Believe it or not, I have been told that right here in Johannesburg there are people who have never been outside Soweto, let alone the city.

It is no wonder, therefore, that although they might be on the rise, few blacks are seen at the country's airports during the holiday season.

If they do get there, as I notice each year, black visitors to the coast often opt for the cheapest accommodation because they can't afford those expensive beachfront resorts.

Sadly, comfortable lodgings are beyond the reach of most black South Africans. The posh ones are specifically for those with dollars and pounds, meaning foreign tourists.

This past holiday my brother-in-law, his wife and three children indignantly stormed out of an almost dilapidated hotel in Durban in the middle of the night.

As he put it: "That place is not fit for humans."

I cannot tell you what else he said because it is unprintable. The family checked into the hotel, after driving almost six hours from Johannesburg. They did not expect that kind of service after paying so much for a long-awaited holiday. But the money was refunded on the spot.

This is not how things should be for people who own the natural beauty and resources of their country.

Were I to get into the inaccessibility of affordable transport to those destinations, it would take another day.

Accidental tourists, that's what my brother-in-law and his family were, because someone thought they did not deserve a decent holiday. Like the rest of those trapped in the townships and rural areas.


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