Canoeing in South Africa

Last night’s PBS viewing brought an evocative show about a pair of canoeists. One was a white guy, American, and in the front of the boat was a black South African. They wend their way down the Lethoso River, and all of the while the black man is talking about wanting to see the ocean, since has never been there before. During the show we get to see the border with Zimbabwe, where scores of impoverished men try every day to get across the border. It is much like our Mexican border, they just want to get to South Africa because there are jobs there, and nothing but misery back in their villages. So they keep coming, and the man in the canoe is Zimbabwean, so he feels for them. There are subtitles even though they speak English, their strong accent and choices of words are quaint, like “chap.” It is a sad fact that so many millions are living in place where there are no jobs at all….scary when you think they all want to come here, or to South Africa.

Toward the end of the show, the white man is hurt when the black one says, “you’re a stranger here,” as if that is an offense. It’s just true…and for the same reason, some villagers didn’t allow them to shoot video in their town. Finally, both men reach the ocean and plunge in with their clothes on, laughing and lying in the waves.