Tag Archives: Postcrossing




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?





The Finnish commemorative Postcrossing postage stamp

The Finnish commemorative Postcrossing postage stamp


It’s a new phenomenon – postcards whizzing round the world, sent by nearly half a million people in over 200 countries – people who don’t know each other, but are linked by one common factor: they like to get mail! Old fashioned snail mail, stuff in the letterbox mail – for once, not e-mai!

It costs you nothing to join Postcrossing (www.postcrossing.com) but there’s the cost of buying postcards – although some folk make their own. Plus the cost of postage, which in South Africa is quite high, R5-75 per card for airmail  delivery. Apparently the Brits are not big members of Postcrossing, due to the high cost of postage in their country.

Nearly every country in the world has Postcrossing members, barring some miniscule, obscure islands that are not even dots on the map – Cocos & Keeling Islands? – and some countries in West Africa, and on the horn of Africa. Other than this, worldwide, somebody is sending or receiving a postcard this very second. Yes: NOW, right now.

The most enthusiastic joiners are the Russians, followed by the Americans, and then the Chinese.  Male members number 63,539 ; 311,178 females. There are 465,078 registered users in 223 different countries. These stats are from the Postcrossing website, but they change on an almost hourly basis. When I joined last year, South African had just over 400 members, but now, since an article on the phenomenon in Ideas Magazine, the number has more than tripled.

Apparently one of the attractions of Postcrossing is that there’s an entire generation  – electronically connected 24/7, of course – who have never received an item of snailmail! I find this fact quite staggering, but I suppose the cohort  aged 15 – 25 probably falls into this category. So for the electronic generation, a postcard in the mailbox is a brand new experience.

I joined Postcrossing in October last year, and now I’m a complete addict – it’s a lot of fun! I’ve been a letter-writer all my life, but with my increasing eyesight problems, postcards are the perfect solution. I still get mail in my box and the thrill of a card from the most diverse places: from Turkey to the Ukraine, from the USA to Malaysia – who knows where the next card will come from? The only downside to Postcrossing is our very erratic and irregular postal deliveries, but hey! getting seven cards in a bundle from all over the world is okay too.

Finland even issued an official postage stamp in honour of Postcrossing – see my very poor pic up top.

Join: I promise you won’t regret doing so.