Living in the Slow Lane


Last week we visited Johannesburg. A couple of things making us drive from our base in Mozambique to Gauteng could not happen due to enterprises and services closing from December to January. It seems common in South Africa, but it’s a bit upsetting in terms of functionality. Services should honor the word. But then we live in Africa and here speed kills.


I have present Mozambique case. From 24 of December to 15 of February nobody works with capital W. Holidays multiply and are sacred days devoted to Holy Laziness. There is an interesting system to show that national holidays are untouchable. If they coincide with Sunday nobody works the next Monday. I don’t know if this is usual in other countries, but it seems to me pure nonsense. As if fate had somehow robbed people and it’s up to the government compensate them for such cruel injustice. I know people in general do similar manoeuvres, but it’s startling when they are institutionalized in a country desperately in need of human energy to grow from poverty and apathy into a viable project.


Besides the never-ending construction site South African cities have become due to the 2010 World Cup, there are other worrying signs here and there, now and then. Rubbish as we never witnessed before, especially all long the N2 and N3, is one of them.


Signs of slow pace are everywhere to be seen. In front of TD’s apartment there is a street lamp working intermittently. It’s like a strong holophote turning on and off from five to five minutes. It’s like if TD had decided to live right in front of a lighthouse. I don’t know how TD can take it. I am a lot less conformist because I was already plotting to kill that blinking eye. And before you start to think I am intolerant, I have to add a missing piece of missing information here: that street lamp, situated in one of the best areas of the city, is in the same state for three years now. If this is not apathy I have to improve my vocabulary and find some other appropriate word. A stronger one maybe.


I read this post to Paul. He is a supporter of my writing attempts, without being that supportive. He nodded all the time and in the end he asked: “Don’t forget to mention the phone operators. I don’t care if it’s a problem from the Mozambican or South African side, but the fact is that we have spent two days without connections. That when traveling and in more need of contacting people!”