Jacana Media is proud to present Blacks Do Caravan by Fikile Hlatshwayo:
When her husband and children announced that they were planning a countrywide caravanning adventure, Fikile was adamant that “Blacks don’t caravan!” But faced with the prospect of staying behind on her own she put aside her preconceptions, put on her sunhat and started reading up on the way of the wild. What followed was an eye-opening, mind-changing trip of a lifetime. Fikile and her family visited over 60 caravan parks. They covered over 25,000 kilometres, traversed all nine provinces and extended their trip to the Kingdom of Swaziland.
I come from a culture where camping is purely for white people. Even if black people were to camp, they would not enjoy it because it is reminiscent of how many of us used to live; in fact, a lot of black people still live like that today – cooking on a fire, using communal toilets, with access to little or no technology – I thought there was no way I would agree to this camping expedition. I am, after all, a sophisticated and highly successful black woman, comfortable in my high heels and suits – I love my comfort! But, I had no choice – either I stayed miserable and depressed in my secure home, or I joined my family to enjoy the beauty of our country in the most affordable way. I gave in, but it did take a lot of convincing!
The trip began on 15 September 2014 and during the journey Fikile came to the realisation that South Africa is still a divided nation: ‘The idea that camping is for white people is so entrenched, and my question is, who maintains these standards? Over twenty years into democracy, boundaries still divide us and it is up to individuals to break down these stereotypes and barriers. We cannot rely solely on government to change everything and expect that we will all arrive in an all-inclusive ‘rainbow nation’ with equal wealth for every citizen. It is not going to happen until every citizen plays a role in contributing to the change we need, the change we want and the change we deserve as South Africans.’
About the author
Fikile Hlatshwayo was born in North West province, South Africa. She has a BCom (Honours) degree in Statistics (2001) from the University of Cape Town (UCT) and an MSc degree in Development Finance (2006) from the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB). This is her second book. Fikile published a book on export growth opportunities in Africa (2005). She is married to Mathieu with two children.
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