Why black people don’t go camping
By: Tyson Jopson
21 October 2013
Maybe I’m not hanging around the right places, but I don’t see a lot of black people at campsites. It bugs me. How is it that the romance of staring vacuously into a campfire while the wife picks miggies out of her dooswyn hasn’t permeated all South African cultures like the great Coca-Cola yo-yo craze of ’96?
Did I hear someone say, ‘Because black people are building themselves up and away from rural life, they don’t appreciate nature and the outdoors’? Pardon me while I snort my tea. I’m afraid your brain is still flapping around in the same hot wind that flew the old vierkleur. Come now.
I’ll admit, for reasons that involve the Transvaal Education Department’s aversion to my suggestion that primary schools be renamed ‘primary melting pots’, my own friendship group isn’t quite representative of the entire rainbow. But I do know, after chatting to my media connection at SANParks, Rey Thakuli, that more than 80 percent of South Africa’s park rangers are black and I’ve never met a group of people with more passion for nature and the environment. I’ve also had the pleasure of sharing a campsite sunset with a friend … who happened to be a Xhosa.
There we were, around a campfire in the Limpopo province, enjoying a beer while bathed in the glow of an egg-yolk sunset (you know, the type that makes you feel like everything just makes sense), when he said:
‘I love it out here, but what’s the point of escaping the city to be in touch with nature when you feel the need to bring everything and the kitchen sink with you.’
Behind us, a member of our group was peeling a potato over a state-of-the-art collapsible camping sink, complete with drainpipe.
I immediately blamed Robert Baden-Powell and the cubs of 4th Benoni Scout Hall. Baden-Powell, the old woggle-jogger, made sure that two words were drummed into my impressionable skull ever since I can remember sewing on my roast-a-dassie-with-a-magnifying-glass badge: be prepared.
Now, any time I venture out into the wild I feel inexorably compelled to make checklists, plan everything with a freakishly clairvoyant sense of foresight, and equip myself with all the latest gadgets.
I may well be pulling this little ‘fact’ right out of my left nostril, but I believe the amount of planning, preparation and checker plate it would take to feel sufficiently prepared at a campsite next to Frik van den Boom and his flashlight-radio that triples as a gas stove, could lead the majority of South Africans (who might one day consider camping) to deem the whole exercise complicated and unnecessary.
This highlights one fundamental difference between white people and black people. Whiteys like to complicate. Black folk like to simplify. Indian people, incidentally, like to modify.
As I said, I’m always open to the idea that I could be talking absolute rubbish, but I’ve concluded that white people have gone and complicated the hell out of an activity that could easily have been one of the best ways to bring South Africans together.
Any self-respecting entrepreneur should have, by now, seen a simple, nation-building solution to this whole predicament: a website that groups potential campers of varying races into the camping dream team by assigning roles to each based on cultural predispositions. Our Khoisan camper could be responsible for getting a lay of the land (i.e. choosing the campsite). A Zulu could cover the necessities, like meat and beer, leaving me to fuss over the checklist and ensure the dishtowels match the scenery. And what would a South African weekend away be without a larney? You know, to modify the deep-cycle battery and bedazzle us with six metres of well-placed neon multicoloured LEDs. Now that’s how you go camping under the rainbow.
- See more at: http://blog.getaway.co.za/travel-blog/w ... di4uX.dpuf