My dear friends,
These are the baby steps of my first very own blog. I created it to keep you all updated, to give you an insight into my life even though I will be very far away for a considerable amount of time. But my motives are not entirely altruistic. Partly, I will be writing this blog for myself, since it helps to reflect on experiences that imprint on you. Surely, I will mature as a person, as well as in the field of academics.
As you all know, it has been my dream for years to return to Cape Town, which I sincerely consider to be the most beautiful place on earth. However, God doesn’t give with both hands. South Africa is facing severe and profound issues:
12% of the population is HIV positive, which is no less than 5.7 million people in absolute numbers! Approximately 50 people are murdered each day. It is estimated that about 500,000 women are raped each year, what makes South Africa the “rape capital of the world”. 25% of the people are unemployed.
Nonetheless, I chose this country to be my host and my home for the coming months. When I visited South Africa, I didn’t feel like a stranger or a tourist. It felt like coming home. Never before have I encountered such haunting beauty, such overwhelming friendliness, such a deeply touching history and heritage.
In 1990, (the year of my birth), Nelson Mandela was released from prison, after 27 year of incarceration during the Apartheid regime. It would have been easy, and somewhat understandable, for him to take revenge. To choose the path of violence and leading this beautiful country into death, destruction and misery that comes with civil war. But he chose the path of forgiveness, reconciliation and hope.
Therefore, the title of my blog is Journey of Good Hope, since it reveals the ambivalence of this country, but at the same time my deep admiration for it.
And on a slightly brighter note, in case you miss me at some point, worry not, I will be back sooner than you wish :). So lean back and let yourselves be entertained by my stories and pictures. Many of you will receive postcards, small presents or the occasional bottle of fantastic South African wine. Let the preparations begin.