Ever since Al Gore blessed the world with his prized invention – The Internet – The world has ceased to be the culturally-segregated place it once was for countless generations. In a prior, less technologically-dependent world, letters, books, word-of-mouth & even the occasional National Geographic w/tribal-based nudity were the primary forms of spreading and sharing knowledge of the unique cultures, traditions & ways of life of those “across the pond.” Fast forward to the present day, and we now live in a society where over 6 billion people own a smart phone (!!!), and thus, have access to endless catalogs of information, videos and of course, this gem. Not only are we as connected as ever, but our inherit regionally-based individuality has slowly molded into a worldwide culture. A culture that has an odd obsession with self-importance, and of course, the other-worldly derriere of Kim Kardashian.
Just over a decade ago, when most of the advanced world was relishing in the productivity-destroyer now known as “high-speed internet,” South Africans were still content with any form of connectivity, even if its relative velocity was still measured in kilobytes per second. Attempting to load a Youtube video of a self-made 5-year-old millionaire who opens presents for a living (pause for depression to subside) was about as time-consuming as waiting for your own 5-year-old to come up with a multi-million-dollar business plan. However, this era of modem-level speeds did not last long, as only a few years later, technology caught up with South Africa. And with it, a new culture emerged.
Officially deemed by the writers of Not Another Damn Travel Blog as “Netflix Culture,” in essence, it is a phenomenon whereby the presence of a “hit show” causes an entire generation to abandon prior cultural beliefs and traditions, and transform themselves into mirror images of the characters in front of their eyes. And with that, Sex and the City inspired a generation of South African divas to find new purpose - Day drinking. Friends helped a society rife with unemployment, justify that existence with countless hours spent at newly-built neighborhood coffee shops. And Breaking Bad inspired drug dealers nationwide to “mix things up a bit.” But most importantly, for those children of South Africa, their naïve little world was truly upended when two words entered their daily domain – “Hi Neighbor.”
Thanks to Daniel Tiger, South African children everywhere were welcomed to a new realm. A realm full of toys, games and activities never before seen, let alone known. A literal visual onslaught with the only lasting repercussion being that of a never-ending chorus of “I want that.” And of all the “I want that’s” that followed, the one that seems to have had the greatest impact right around the end of October is none other than Halloween. A holiday, once only celebrated in South Africa by the most dedicated satanic worshippers, now in literal “catch-up mode,” as 60 million people vie to partake in the most Instagrammable holiday of the year.
And what better way to describe this “catch-up” then by breaking down Halloween into its most foundational elements:
Overall, partaking in South Africa's version of a "pared-down" Halloween was actually a very sentimental trip down memory lane. To a time when Halloween was at its most basic -- Smiling jack-o-lanterns beneath brightly lit porches. Hoards of kids dressed in whatever $10 get-up their parents bought the day before. And enough candy to last you til spring (if of course the suffocating mask your mother forced you to wear allowed you to make it that far). At some point in our lives, Halloween abandoned this simplistic notion, and instead morphed into, what seems to be, an “internet winning contest.” And while the award undoubtedly goes to this lady, it makes one wonder why this happened. And whether it takes away any of the authenticity of the Halloween from our childhood. When for one night, our parents ignored concepts such as "kidnapping" or "poisoning" and just rolled the dice on our lives. Ugga mugga.
Onto the pics:
PRIOR BLOG POSTS:
Year Abroad Intro:
• Welcome to our Newest Blog! Again!
• The Move - Dissected, Probed and Then Probed Some More
• The Voyage (Part 1) - If At First You Don't Succeed, Trying Again Won't Work Either
• The Voyage (Part 2) - The Layover to Rule All Other Layovers
• A Personal Life Update - Establishing Our Shallow Roots
A Guide to South Africa:
• How to be an Expat When You Aren't Technically an Expat
(Part 1 - Bank Accounts)
• How to be an Expat, When You Aren't Technically an Expat (Part 2 - Health Insurance)
• Load Shedding - Keeping the Lights Off in South Africa Since 2007
• 195 Ways to Fight a Pandemic - The South Africa Edition
• Halloween in South Africa - Playing Catch-Up Since 2016
• SnapScan - South Africa's Glimpse into America's Future
• Thanksgiving in South Africa - Where My Turkeys Be At?
• Life at the Epicenter of Omicron - A Different Type of Cancel Culture
• Playgrounds - The Starbucks of South Africa
• Cost of Living in South Africa - An Exploratory Journey of Everyday Expenses
• Namibia Roadtrip (1 of 3) - Driving a Shake Weight to Sossusvlei
• Namibia Roadtrip (2 of 3) - Searching for Souls in Swakopmund
• Namibia Roadtrip (3 of 3) - Getting our Safari on at Etosha National Park
• Weekend Getaway in Robertson - A Trip Down Pleasantville Lane
• Summer Holiday Trip (1 of 3) - Glamping Without the Glam in the Drakensberg Mountains
• Summer Holiday Trip (2 of 3) - The Historical Chronicles of Kruger National Park
• Summer Holiday Trip (3 of 3) - Searching for Whales and Spare Tires in the Overberg
• Visitors Round 1 - The Woodmans - An Expedited Exploration of Everything
• The Great Wildebeest Migration - 15 Years of Waiting Decided in 15 Minutes
• Ngorongoro Crater - A Pre-Migration Layover Inside an Inverted Volcano
• Ndutu - The Safari to Rule All Other Safaris
• Serengeti National Park - Seeking Out Simba at an Abandoned Pride Rock
• Zanzibar - The Island of Sugar, Spice and Most Things Nice
• Visitors Round 2 - Let's Ignore Our Sanity & Do All The Things
• Wild Coast - A Little Tatse of the O.G. South Africa
• Spring Break in September - Just as Strange as it Sounds
• A Day in the Life of a South African Expat - The Visual Edition
• A Wrinkle in Our Spare Time
• Our Final Week in South Africa - A Bittersweet Symphony of Bucket Lists
The Other Stuff:
• This is 40: The South Africa Version