Talking about South Africa

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In this recording Mark interviews Lerato, who comes from South Africa.

M: Ok so…Hello everybody I am sitting here with Lerato from South Africa. What part of South Africa do you come from, Lerato?
L: I come from Johannesburg.
M: Right, so you were born in Johannesburg?
L: I was born in Durban, educated in Cape Town, and lived and worked in Johannesburg.
M: Sorry.
L: It’s the last place that I lived before coming to Japan.
M: Right, and what’s Johannesburg like? What kind of a place is it?
L: It’s the biggest city in South Africa. It’s mainly the business capital. It’s quite a dense city, almost what New York is to the United States.
M: I don’t know a lot about South Africa, but in high school I learned during the apartheid time, there were three groups, the black people, the white people and the colored people.
L: Uh-huh.
M: Do people still classify other people in the same way in South Africa now?
L: Um, yeah, yeah, they still do that, but um…yeah, they do.
M: So in Johannesburg, how many black people, how many white people, how many colored people?
L: (laughs)
M: Do you know roughly?
L: No, I don’t but basically it’s about maybe eighty percent black people generally and then the other ten is divided among white and coloreds, but the coloreds have the smallest population.
M: And the coloreds, they are mixed people? Indian, Asian, black, white, mixes of all races or…
L: No, no. It’s a mixture between…traditionally it’s a mixture between black and white. Um, yeah, a mixture between black and white.
M: Do you know, there are two words: mulatto and mestizo. I am not sure of the right pronunciation.
L: Yes, I have heard those.
M: They are South American words.
L: Yes, they are South American words. I think they refer to people who are of mixed race.
M: Mixed race, right, OK. So you’re in Japan now and you’re studying your masters in architecture.
L: Yes.
M: Are you specializing in any particular area?
L: Architectural symbolism.
M: Symbolism, wow!…wow.
L: Don’t ask me to expand. (laughs)
M: Architecture and symbolism are both really interesting.
L: Mmm.
M: Ok well I can’t ask you any more questions about architecture…but ah, ok…well thanks for talking to me.
L: Ok. It was nice talking to you also.
M: Thanks a lot.
L: Bye.

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9 Responses to “Talking about South Africa”

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  1. andile says:

    What current learning conditions are you talking about Lerator? It is obvious that you haven’t been home in a while. Within Gauteng, you have three schools of architecture; University of the Witswatersrand, University of Johannesburg, and University of Pretoria. And they are all world class institions, with WITS being ranked in the world 500 top universities. Your idea of ‘more’ knowledge is flawed in that you think that any other foreign country can offer you ‘more’. One day you will return to Africa and realise that knowledge has been developed here for centuries, even millenia; and realise you knowledge is worthless here.

  2. Lerato says:

    I think according to the current learning conditions in africa it is better for one to go out of the country, acquire more knowledge in the particular study and come back home to share the acquired knowledge with the people back here who can’t afford to go abroad.

  3. Gape says:

    Gaan hell toe.Wat weet julle manse van travel?Ke motswana wa Rustenburg and making it tin the US and I get questions like “do you have a lion for a pet?” This is 2007 people!

  4. Uncle Irv says:

    Mmmm… yeah… but maybe she is just studying..travelling is the best way to learn, no?

  5. nombuso khanyile says:

    i am amazed that Lerato had to travel thoiusands of kilometres to study the symbolism of architecture in a context un-parallel to South Africa in many ways. it is a dissapointment to me a fellow student of architecture in the lovely country of South Africa to have talent [or not?] such as Lerato prancing around the world in search of symbolism when the country is undertaking such a meaningful search of a South African identity and symbolism in aeshtetic…….Shame on you!

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