Yes – back home and back at work.
As I reflect on my trip:
• I am aware that many farmers have moved off the land: small farms have been swallowed up into large farms. We can only compete against European subsidised farming by consolidating farms. So people are out of work. And farm houses stand empty.
• I saw many new houses that have replaced the dirt-poor hovels that used to surround the rural towns. I am grateful that our Government has been able to provide so many new homes. But I wonder where the people find work. Because the consolidation of farms has denuded the small rural towns of viable economy.
• I saw decaying tennis courts. The rural towns used to be the backbone of our tennis playing population. But town after town has windowless tennis clubhouses and rotting courts. I doubt that we will soon see world-class players from our country.
• I saw many, many pot-holed roads. I was grateful to be riding a GS11:50 – a bike with a long travel to the suspension. So I survived the roads. But the backroads are in bad repair. We are not much different to countries to the north of us.
Nevertheless, as I reflect on the trip I am aware of the amazing attraction of my country. Not just the variety and the vastness of the land, but the interesting people who live in hidden corners. I am in love with being a South African. And am more committed than ever to participating in building a new nation.