Editor’s letter: the trouble with mistaken identity

Posted on 21 June 2017

We live on the second most polluted continent on Earth. Here’s what you can do about it, writes our editor, Sonya Schoeman.

When British comedian Ricky Gervais was little, his older siblings used to take him to the forest, where he loved to get knee-deep and investigative with nature. One particular day he was especially thrilled to find a discarded snakeskin, and like any little brother worth his salt began chasing his older sister with it. To his utter delight, she was revolted. ‘Put it down, it’s got germs!’ she said, and ‘You’re not coming in the car with that!’ Years later, wanting to get one up on her in front of his teenage mates, he began teasing her about it, when she shot back: ‘You do know it was a used condom, don’t you?’There are many morals to this story besides ‘always assume your siblings have more dirt on you than you on them’. Another is that Earth makes a poor bin for rubbish, leading to many instances of mistaken identity. Heard about whales confusing clear plastic packets for jellyfish, for example?

According to Dr Tony Ribbink from the Sustainable Seas Trust (SST), Africa is the second-most polluted continent in the world (number one: Asia, especially Southeast Asia) and something needs to be done about it. This is why SST is organising the first-ever African Marine Waste Conference in Port Elizabeth this July. It’s a first attempt to get the 38 African coastal and island states to find solutions to these waste management challenges.

There are many ‘what can be done?’ conversations to be had around this, ranging from government action and legislation to personal responsibility. Civic action is one within our control and so there’s an opportunity to throw one’s hat over the wall, here, and see what we, as South Africans, can do to alleviate the situation. Kenya has just become the latest country to ban plastic bags (Rwanda did so back in 2008). Should we motivate to bring about such a thing for South Africa, for instance?

We’re partnering with SST to see what we, the public, can bring to the party. Keen to put forward an idea? Keep an eye on our social media platforms and join in the conversation. We’ll be collecting the good ideas, giving our own suggestions, and keeping you informed about this initiative.

Enjoy this issue.


4 things to look out for in the July issue

KZN Midlands
Our cover story this month is the gorgeous KZN Midlands. We sent our professional reviewer there to find 15 top spots for a cosy winter break. See page 42.

Virunga National Park
I can always tell a good story by whether it makes me want to start saving, and Scott Ramsay made this destination come alive for me. It’ll cost, but this is ultimate wish-list stuff. Read his story on page 76.

Budget Challenge
We set two families a challenge: to find a weekend getaway outside of Durban for R3000. Impressively, they took their budgets seriously and still had fun (page 68).

Look out for the good-value star
Each Getaway issue has several inexpensive accommodation options, places to stay for under R550 per person (some for less) and that we think offer good value.


This month’s contributors

Angel Campey– New York, page 94
Angel is a South African stand-up comedian who spent most of 2016 performing in New York, with a short stint in Montreal and Hong Kong. After a successful initial tour of NYC’s underground clubs, Angel was invited back to some of the most prestigious comedy clubs in the world, where she spent the summer performing by night and sightseeing by day. She shares some of her favourite outings with us.

Africa Melane– New York, page 94
When he’s not filling the airwaves with his deep and distinctive voice on Cape Talk’s Weekend Breakfast Show, Africa loves to travel and there’s no place better place for him than the Big Apple. Here he revels in an abundance of three loves: different types of food, museums and jazz. Read about his favourite haunts in this cosmopolitan city.

Taweni Gondwe Xaba– KZN Weekends Away, page 68
Taweni’s heart and head continue to debate her preference between the ocean and bush aspects of her new home province, KwaZulu-Natal. She chose the latter when we challenged her to a family weekend away on a budget – and discovered a new favourite. ‘If I could go anywhere alone for a quiet weekend right now, it would be to The George Hotel in Eshowe. I would spend a quarter of my time in its gorgeous, romantic library and the rest in the Dlinza Forest, which is possibly the most beautiful hike I’ve done in years.

Obie Oberholzer– Morocco, page 62
A photographer who needs no introduction, Obie has regular bouts of extreme wanderlust, a large percentage of diesel and dust in his head, and more horizons in his heart than money in the bank. He has just returned from a month-long journey across the Nullarbor Plains in southern Australia.‘I follow my photographic roads like Elvis sang: “You’ve gotta follow that dream, wherever that dream may lead you…”


This story originally appeared in the July 2017 issue of Getaway magazine.

Get this issue →

Our July issue features the best places to stay in the Midlands, budget family breaks in Durban, and the best (and mostly free) things you have to do in New York.


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