Have you ever been on a road trip that leaves you wondering “Are we there yet?” After a nearly sixteen hour, non-stop flight, we were excited to finally answer that question with “Yes”. As our aircraft began its descent, we opened the window shades to find sunny skies and clear views of the African continent. It became clear that South Africa, despite the images in our minds, is one of the world’s fastest growing economies. The initial views of red soil, dry river beds, and an occasional community soon gave way to suburbs, swimming pools, and green lawns as we drew closer to Johannesburg.
We touched down around 4:30 p.m. local time. After clearing customs and retrieving our luggage, we began our short drive from Johannesburg to Pretoria. While Jo’burg is the country’s largest city, Pretoria serves as the administrative capital and home of President Jacob Zuma. We learned that unlike the United States, South Africa’s branches of governments do not reside in the same city. The legislature meets in Cape Town on the Southwestern coast while the Supreme Court presides in Bloemfontain. South Africa and the United States do share some similarities though. Both nations are net exporters of food, meaning that they sell more agricultural commodities to trading partners than they purchase. We are excited to see exactly what South African agriculture looks like, but we’ll have to wait until tomorrow. Tonight consisted of our Welcome Dinner at a restaurant near our hotel before turning in for the night. Our wake up call will come bright and early at 5:15 a.m.!
Stay tuned for more, including blogs directly from the state officers!
National FFA Organization