Cape Town - Some South Africans are in the bad habit of complaining about everything in the country by default. If they're having a bad day, it's easy for them to blame it on the government or on the 'state of the nation'.
Yes, it's no secret that we live in developing, third-world country and sometimes we have some serious growing pains.
Yet, happiness is not only dependent on punctual public transport and free medical aid. Nope, there are a few familiar things all South Africans - even those grumpy ones - need in their lives for them to be happy.
These are the things that give you that warm, fuzzy feeling in your heart and make your proud to be a South African, regardless of the growing pains:
The heat of a real wood fire
A BBQ is not a real braai. A lot of countries claim they 'braai', when what they're actually doing is cooking on an outside stove. In South Africa - we BRAAI. The wood-smoked meat is one reward of this amazing practice, but standing next to the flames (and smelling like a veld-infused fire afterwards) is probably one of the most heart-warming South African feelings ever.
The smell of a thunderstorm
It probably has something to do with the vegetation in the Karoo, but no smell on earth can equal the one you get after a massive thunderstorm in SA's semi-desert heart.
READ: 10 things that smell like South Africa
The sound of Babel - that you can actually understand
Slang words are thrown around like curses on any urban SA street. The best part of walking through this whirlpool of words, though, is being able to understand everything everyone is saying to one another. Long live 11 languages, long live!
Being able to be completely alone in nature
All you have to do to get away from a major city is grab your mountain bike and go. Even in massively populated places Cape Town, you can head to head to Kirstenbosch Gardens and enjoy the authentic feeling of just be alone in nature.
A hot, summery Christmas holiday
Other countries envy our Great December Migration and as a result our hot, suntanned bodies. December for South Africans mean watermelon, family, 18-hour-long days and partying through the summery nights. Who knows what those northern-hemisphere folks do with their time in December, except drink eggnog!? (And by the way, eggnog tastes horrible - like a hot egg smoothie. Eeww.)
To be able to say 'shame' all the time
It's like our go-to word and it really captures the compassion South Africans feel towards one another. Although it's widely used, it always means you feel sorry for someone when something unfortunate has happened to them.
Being able to hear a pin drop when watching the rugby in a crowded room
It's loud, it's really loud when you're out with your mates watching the Springboks take on the All Blacks. And then, utter silence dawns on a crowd of 200 people as the Flyhalf approaches the kick to the post... followed by an eruption of either sorrow or ecstasy.
The joy of saying 'sorry' for everything
"Sorry, do you know what the time is?" and "Sorry, what did you say" and "Oh, sorry, I didn't see you there". The lists goes on. Even though it's not your fault you don't know the time, you just apologize for politeness' sake.
To be able to speak to strangers on the train
It's so easy to strike up a conversation with South Africans, especially when you're sitting next to them on a bus or train. If you don't start talking to them first, chances are good they'll start a convo with you or just include you in their discussion. "What do you think," they'll casually ask and before you know it, you're part of a big argument over the incestuous characters of 7de Laan (A popular Afrikaans soapie).
The happy, nay, expressive people
Perhaps we're happy because of the beautiful country we live in, or perhaps it's our happiness that makes this country beautiful..? Either way, South Africans are good to be around because of how we express our every emotion. When we're happy, we sing and dance with joy. When we're sad, we ululate and grieve out loud. We live in the moment and it's real and comforting.
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