Terry and Mary Drader, winter visitor friends from Canada, recently returned from a trip to South Africa part of which was a Rotary project.   Here is Terry's background story on South Africa.


"Dutch traders founded Cape Town in 1652 as a way station to and from the orient.


The rival British seized Cape of Good Hope (the point where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet) in 1806. In 1833 England abolished slavery in all its colonies and about 12,000 Afrikaans farmers or “Boers” made the “Great Trek” north and east to establish new colonies that would not be under British rule.


Diamonds were discovered in 1867 and gold in 1886 spurring an influx of immigration of those seeking to strike it rich.


South Africa is well known for its decades long experiment with apartheid (separation) which ended in 1994. The first general election where all the citizens got to vote and Nelson Mandela became the first black president after 27 years of imprisonment.


South Africa is 1.2 million sq. km. or almost twice the size of Texas with a very diverse population of 54 million people – 80% Black, 8.8% Colored, 6.4% White and 2.5% Asian.


The climate ranges from sub-tropical to semi-arid and with water the agricultural possibilities are enormous, growing everything from grapes to fruit and vegetables to grain, fodder and trees.


The physical beauty is spectacular and constantly changing as you move over the next range of mountains into a new climate ecosystem.


South Africa has possibly the greatest biodiversity of the flora and fauna of any country on the planet and the photo ops are truly endless.


Game parks are both national and private. Some private parks will sell a guided hunt for as little as $200 USD for one of the smaller antelope.


South Africa is noted as a top 10 tourist destination because of value. Currently $1 USD = 14 SA Rand. You can get excellent wine for $3 - $4 USD per bottle. There is great food, good service provided by smiling friendly people, all in a very safe English speaking environment. We had a great time and met some wonderful Rotarians in South Africa and as well as those on our tour group. We would highly recommend South Africa to anyone yearning for an adventurre.


And in the over 50 countries that Mary and I have been hosted in or visited, one truth stands out as universal. People, no matter the culture, religion or geo/political position, all aspire to have a good life for themselves, a better life for their children and an even better life for their grandchildren.


Rotary brings us all together in that universal truth that supersedes all borders and prejudices and allows us to think of ourselves as global citizens. We are all brothers and sisters and if we are all united and committed, we can indeed change the world!"