I saw a piece on BBC News yesterday lamenting the fact that most of the football fans who have travelled to South Africa for the World Cup are spending all their time between their hotel and a football stadium and are reluctant to venture any further than that. Apparently tourists have been assailed with warnings about South Africa's astronomical crime rate and are now petrified at the idea of taking any path at all, let alone venturing beyond the beaten one.
While I'm sure that South Africa is not about to win any personal safety awards, there is something a little tragic about the idea that all these people will see virtually nothing of the country itself. My own experience of South Africa is limited to a handful of photographs that I have seen and a couple of Coetzee's novels so I am no expert, but I thought it was still worth posting this (far from exhaustive) list of a few opportunities to see more of South Africa than a vuvuzela-filled football stadium.
New York's Jewish Museum is currently exhibiting 150 prints of David Goldblatt's photographs of South Africa (May 2 - Sep. 19) as well as four films by the South African artist William Kentridge's Drawings for Projection. A little closer to my neck of the woods, the Centre du Patrimoine Arménien in Valence is showing photographs by Anne Rearick and Guy Tillim on post-Apartheid South Africa. I also recently received a copy of Per Englund's Life Geos On, a bittersweet diary of a handful of summers spent in Cape Town. Try seeing any of these and you'll probably have seen more of South Africa than many of those who will be spending the next month there.