The Beauty of My South African Community

Author: Sifiso Mtshali

It’s October and in South Africa, it is the time for all things bright! Flowers and trees are blooming and we are able to walk around in our tees and shorts. It is a good time for all. When I read the writing prompt for this month, I began to wonder: “What makes people identify with a specific place?”

I soon began to wonder what makes me South African. I live in a very small, close-knit community; one that I believe is the best in the whole world. Okay, maybe I am exaggerating but I do love it. I hope that once you have read my list of ten things I love about my community, you will be able to agree that it is indeed the best!

 

  1. Metonymy. We love metonymy so much; you would think we invented it. It is common to hear someone in our community talk about “the municipality” even though they are referring to the “refuse removal employees”. Another example would be people referring to “Young suits” when they really meant “aspiring entrepreneurs”.
  2. Synecdoche (i.e. talking about one whole thing, when you really mean part of it). It is also common to hear residents say things like “We won!” when they really meant the local football team won their match.  
  3. Very close knit. We all know one another in our community almost as if we were an extended family.
  4. Good ol’ days. Everyone speaks of the good old days but what does that really mean?. To the aging barber down the road, it reminds him of his young, money chasing days. To others, it means just that – the good old days.
  5. Storytellers. Our community is made up of many storytellers. It is instinctive for us to sit under a tree and listen to yet another story that begins with “Have you heard about this one…”
  6. Small melting pot. Though racial discrimination is becoming prevalent in many cultures worldwide, it is a blessing that it is not a problem in our community. Our neighborhood is composed of aging Britons, 3rd generation Afrikaans, Pakistanis’, and many others living together harmoniously. We are not a utopia, we do butt heads every now and again, but it helps to cement what we have in common rather than what differentiates us.  
  7. More than just a piece of land. We are more than just different people occupying a piece of land. Instead, we are bound by a strong sense of brotherhood and sisterhood. When one lacks, we all do, and when one is successful, it is celebrated. We believe in the phrase “One for all and all for one”.  
  8. Symbolic. We are a symbol of something unfinished and unknown. No one really knows the origins of our community. Everyone has their own version of our “history”. You could describe us as a story left unfinished, an origin open for discussion or even simply classical.
  9. Different, yet the same. People with different trades, backgrounds and skillsets reside in our community, from the street merchants to the farmers. We are all bound together by the hope of making it in life by achieving our individual potentials. We are diverse yet all the same.
  10. A community of the old and new. You could consider us a blend of old and new generations. The new generation enjoys the fast-paced life, completely enjoying where they are in today’s world. The older generation keeps the law and order by balancing the scales effectively and wisely. We need each other.

 

We might not be the best to others but we are definitely unique and I am very proud of that!

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