As some of my readers already know, I’m a fan of Postcrossing, the international postcard exchange club. This week I was given an address for Lucy in Taiwan as my next card’s destination. On her profile, Lucy suggested members list 5 words to describe their country, assuming the prospective senders couldn’t think of anything else to write on the back of the card.

I thought this was a great idea, pondered for a day or two and this is my list to describe South Africa:


1. Beautiful
2. Complex
3. Frustrating
4. Warm hearted
5. Dangerous
Number 1 was easy: we have natural beauty in abundance. Great contrast too, from coastal to bushveld, to semi-desert. Magnificent mountains.

Number 2 – complex? We’re an uneasy mix of First and Third World Countries, which leads to a host of problems on every level – social, financial, educational, developmental, ecological – in fact any and all levels you can think of.

Number 3 – Frustrating? Very! Try getting anything done. Mundane stuff like repairs, or renewal of licences, or a visit to any public, government institution. Unnecessarily time consuming and un- productive. Maddening.

Number 4 – Warm hearted: is there a crisis? Another fire in a shack settlement? The public rallies round for water/food for the fire fighters , and shelter/food for the newly homeless.

Number 5 – Dangerous? For sure. We have one of the highest crime rates in the world, sorry to say. Let’s just leave it at that.

Which five words would you chose to describe your country?





  1. Interesting. I am a postcrossing member too. Lots of fun.


  2. Never heard of Postcrossing but have just signed up and off to buy a postcard to send! Alarming that one correspondent in Germany has sent over 2000 PC in one year – with the speed of our postal service I’ll be lucky to receive and write more than 4 a year.But it will be fun, thanks fro the heads-up Alison!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve had such fun with Postcrossing over the last 3 years. You ‘meet’, however briefly, some very interesting people. Plus their Blog offers fascinating insights into the world of postcards, collectors, and senders. I have a prtivate exchange going with a Dutch lady in Holland – we exchange flash fiction stories, written on postcards naturally. See the blog post about A Book of Postcards.


  3. Your adjectives describing my old home, South Africa, are bang on in my opinion.
    I’ve been trying to think of five I could use to describe England. My problem is that it seems to me the adjectives that come to my mind are due to my living in a very rural area of North Norfolk. If I was living, god forbid, in one of the inner cities, like Manchester, they would be very different indeed. But, from my country bumpkin perspective, I would use these:
    1 Ancient
    2 Civilised (the vast majority of people, services, and road users are incredibly polite to each other.
    3 Beautiful
    4 Efficient (public services are excellent, the NHS, despite all its bad publicity is FREE, and my own experience of it could not have been better)
    5 Exciting (Brexit and its afternath could be wonderful of disasterous, but its on everyones lips and there is quite a bit of tension between the two camps, ‘Brexiteers’ and ‘Remoaners’, though here in the countryside they have not yet come to blows, being so used to civility!

    Liked by 1 person

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