Memoirs of Life in South Africa

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

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Blog 12: What I’ve learned

January 25th, 2012 by stephaniejeanbaptiste · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

One of the main things I learned in Cape Town is to not assume. Of course it is something I’ve always tried to learn how not to do, but somehow it seemed to have sinked in while being here. I learned how not to assume that the townships would be crawling with dirt and beggars and broken glasses. As I was surprised to see, the townships were very clean, something that didn’t fit into the pre-conceptions I had of a township. Before coming to South Africa, I had assumed that all people who lived in South Africa or in all of Africa for that matter, were white. But there was never in my head even the concept of White south-African citizen. Before coming here, I was not expecting to find this highly westernized land. I know it is wrong of me to say that I was expecting a much less technologically advanced spectacle, but once again, there is no association in my mind between Africa and wealth. I suppose these were all conceptions created by the media, and all of it was wrong. So now, I am left with the must frustrating fact of all, and that is that “ All I know is that I know nothing”. I suppose it will make it easier for me to take in the world for what it truly is instead of what I assume it is to be.

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One Comment so far ↓

  • Talisa Feliciano

    Its always good to acknowledge our own biases and be able to identify them. Then we can allow them to not cloud our judgement.

    I think we are all victim to the biases that Africa is not wealthy, but this trip has indeed shown us otherwise. It has a much more complicated history in relation wealth, race, gender, crime and other characteristics.

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