DISCOVER Magazine #6

Building in Africa for Africa. Damen in South Africa

Published in category: Countries
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Editor’s note

South Africa. When you fly to Cape Town and your plane starts its descent, your eye catches the sun, the ocean and then: the land, with Table Mountain and Lion’s Head slowly rising up out of the sea. First impressions: a land of beauty, of wildlife, of sea life; one of the strongest and most stable African countries, both economically and politically.

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When you get closer to the landing strip, the other face of this southern-most country on the African continent also becomes apparent: slums surround the airport and children on bare feet are playing in the mud. When I explain to the taxi-driver that I’m here on a business trip, he warns me not to go out alone at night and confides that corruption is a serious problem. Nevertheless, the driver is good-humored, easy-going and proud of a job well-done – a description that seems to fit almost everyone I will meet on this trip.

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Driving along, slowly the slums turn into ‘neighbourhoods’ of small, simple, but newly built and freshly painted houses – the result of a government programme for housing the poor in a decent way. It really works, says the driver, and I believe him. You can actually see progress going on. And that is, I think, South Africa’s state of affairs in a nutshell: progress going on.

Kommer Damen:

To me, South Africa is a beautiful country with a positive vibe and a promising political and business climate

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