Reverse culture shock


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Back in London for a short visit. It certainly feels that way round, a visit – looking forward to returning home to Cape Town. Of course it is wonderful to catch up with friends and family but it does feel a little strange being here – it’s all so familiar and yet I feel a bit detached, unconnected, alien.

Small things irritate me disproportionately – especially conspicuous consumption and waste. I find it hard to explain to people what I am doing in South Africa and what it is about the place that is so special. Fortunately many of my friends have been and do understand, but still, it is not easy.

“People had warned me about the culture shock of going to Africa. Nothing prepared me for the culture shock of coming the other way. No matter how much I talked no-one understood what I was saying.”
Richard Dowden from his book ‘Africa: Altered States and Ordinary Miracles’

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