Memoirs of Life in South Africa

English 162: Literature and Place (A Queens College Study Abroad Course)

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A way of life

January 25th, 2012 by Merzela · 2 Comments · Uncategorized

Blog 8: Choose a life story you’ve encountered during your time in Cape Town and reflect on it through the lens of Eakin’s essay “Rules of the Game.”

Raquel and I decided to have breakfast at a café on the main road. The others had gone shark cave diving or to the beach to surf. We weren’t feeling adventurous that day. We entered the café and was greeted by a soft-spoken, dark skinned woman with braids. We sat outside and reviewed the menu. A young black man came over and took our drink orders. Soon after the same woman that seated us, came to take our orders. She said, “Where are you from guys?” and we answered “New York”. She smiled and asked us how long we were here for. When we told her we were leaving the upcoming Wednesday she replied, “I should have met you guys sooner. What are your names?” We told her and she told us her name was Winnie. She continued to ask us if we had facebook and suggested we become facebook friends. We agreed.
Then I asked her if she has always lived in Cape Town and how did she like it. She answered, “I’m from Zimbabwe and I’ve been living in Cape Town for seven years”. She sighed and continued, “It’s not a matter of liking it, it’s just a way of life.” There was no excitement in her voice as she forced a smile. Raquel and I replied “oh.” There didn’t seem to be an appropriate response. She continued to explain that she was there to work. Her answer gave me a glimpse of Cape Town that a tourist may not see. I trusted what she said was true and continued to linger on what she said.

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2 Comments so far ↓

  • mikestrianese

    I noticed the smile that filled most people’s faces when they found out I was from New York. I had been told so many times that New York was a person’s favorite place but that that person had never been there. Why do people hold New York on such a pedestal?
    (Rhetorical question)

  • Talisa Feliciano

    It seems that there are a lot of people from other countries in Africa moving to South Africa to work. Her lack of excitement reminds me of immigrants living in NY. Sure its a big city but their families are probably somewhere else. I remember speaking to Tauraii and Ruva (fellow Mellons from Zimbabwe) and they both have nostalgic memories of Zimbabwe.

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