Sunday, 11 April 2010

Window into SA: Vanessa

VWow!  What a week it has been in South Africa – we need all the positive news and vibes we can get!  This week’s interview is with Vanessa and I’ll dive straight into the questions.  Be sure to look out for her photos at the end of the post.

What is the name of your website or business?

Whereabouts in South Africa are you?

Tell us about what you do?
I am an IT girl. More specifically, I do server support at the outsourcing division of a very large IT company. My blog covers all my hobbies though - reading, writing, watching, listening, laughing, taking pictures - because it is important to have a life outside of work, especially when you work in IT, because often work consumes so much of our private time too.

Are you a football fan?  (rugby, cricket or football)
Not really. I will watch the games if South Africa's team is in the final of the world cup (any of them), but that's as far as I'd go.

Which team will you be supporting?
South Africa, who else?

Which is the nearest football stadium to your home and work?
The Ellis Park stadium is the closest to me.

Will you be attending any games?
I doubt that very much. But, if Bafana Bafana make it to the finals, I will gather round all the geeks and we will crack open a couple of beers, probably throw something on the fire and watch the game together.

Are you near to any historical places or places of interest?
You know, in Johannesburg, everything is quite close together :) I live in the eastern suburbs of Johannesburg, and quite close to Houghton, where former president Nelson Mandela now lives. I am also quite close to Constitution Hill, Horwoods Farm and Linksfield Ridge. As far as shopping goes, I live close to Eastgate, Greenstone, Sandton and Rosebank - each a great shopping centre that caters for a wide variety of tastes and requirements.

How would you describe South Africa to someone who has never been there before?
South Africa is a very versatile and controversial country. We have some very stupid people of all colours, just like we have some very bright people of all colours. But, where else in the world could you live in a massive city, and only need to drive 30 minutes to be in the middle of a savanna, complete with lions? South Africa has a unique beauty, rich and diverse, and it is hard to grasp the beauty of the land and the people until you have been here.

What would you say is the single best thing about South Africa?
Diversity. In culture, language, origins, food, fauna, flora and everything else. It makes it a very exciting place to live. Scary sometimes, but exciting nonetheless.

What is the number one attraction that tourists must visit in South Africa?
That's is just not fair - limiting me to one option. But if I must chose one option, it will have to be The Entire Country :). Seriously though, there is so much on offer. If you like beautiful scenery, I would suggest the Western Cape (yes, all of it) but I think for a truly South African experience, visit Soweto.

Where in South Africa do you go on holiday?
The Garden Route area. Most of my family live there now, and, to me, it is the most beautiful part of our country.

Do you have any advice for tourists and visitors?
Be vigilant, but not overly paranoid. Make sure you always have cash on hand, especially if you want to buy local arts and crafts, and always check your change. Drink the water. Enjoy our cuisine and our weather, but be sure to also bring something for the cooler evenings - in winter, temperatures here can drop below 0°C, and because our summers are so hot, we don't generally have fantastic heating systems in our homes.

What can South Africans do to make the country a better place?
Work together without any prejudice or preconceived perceptions. Our biggest problem is that we have become incredibly selfish and self-centered, and many simply do as they please. This is an awesome country - it is beautiful all over, rich in resources with some really incredible people. If the people of this country can look past the differences and see the beauty, it can be truly incredible.

What is your dream or vision for the future of your city and country?
I would love for all South Africans to live truly free - free of fear, hate, anger, hunger (and Julius Malema *grin*) - so that each person can appreciate the country we live in and be proud of this country again.

What is your favourite South African charity?
Not quite a charity, but rather a very important NPO, The Teddy Bear Clinic. They do such good things for abused children.

I asked Vanessa to send along a photo of the city and this was her reply:

(click on the photo for an enlargement)

Ok, so, again, two pictures? Really? choose one picture of the city from the thousands I have taken. No, I think not. So, I cheated a little. The pictures chosen were chosen for very specific reasons.

There is a beautiful view of the west rand, taken from the rooftop of one of my customers' buildings in Randburg. I chose this because often the only view one sees of Jo'burg is the skyscrapers, and one misses the fact that Jo'burg is the biggest urban jungle in the world - which I think my picture shows a piece of.

The second picture chosen is one of the Campus, where I work. It shows our beautiful blue sky, and was chosen simply because of the blue sky (and I am rather proud of my place of employment, that is very green conscious and has  won multiple awards celebrating its contribution to a greener world).

The third picture is of a set of cranes, which I took in Sandton one afternoon. The country, currently, is a boom of construction and development - physically and otherwise - and I like to think of that when I see this picture.

The last picture is of the sun setting over afternoon traffic, with a new building to the right hand side. I included this simply because it is pretty :)

Like I said, it has been a difficult week in South Africa (some of which I spoke about in my political blog) but chatting to someone as positive and inspirational as Vanessa puts it all back in perspective.  How are you enjoying the Window Into South Africa series?  Do you know a prominent South African blogger or business person who would like to be featured? 

© 2008 - Mandy Southgate | Emm in London

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