ABSTRACT

I came to South Africa from Australia in 1997, to a land of immense cultural and physical diversity, where dreams and disappointments, generosity and crime, swirl together as blacks and whites, rural and urban, rich and poor, emerge into a democratic nation. Johannesburg, Durban, and Cape Town, in their different ways, stand as symbols of Western life, with their steel and glass, freeways and traffic lights, theatres and gardens, prosperity and slums. On the other hand, most of South Africa's blacks (and black Africans comprise 80 per cent of the population) live in rural areas, often in thatched round huts with no electricity. Young girls carry water home on their heads, young boys tend cattle and goats, and women are the mainstay of community life because so many of the men work in the cities and mines. There are many 'South Africas', in this the most inequitable country in the world, after Brazil (Department of Education, 2001a).