At first glance, you would think two countries like Mexico and South Africa have little, maybe nothing in common: different continents, different cultures, different languages… but you would be wrong. Hey, I’m not an expert in Economics or Politics, but if you saw two countries facing similar problems with different approaches, don’t you think they could help each other out? Mexico and South Africa could perhaps benefit in having a better diplomatic relationship, and here’s why:
1. They are two countries with a gigantic gap between the richest and poorest.
It’s well known that one of the richest men in the world is Mexican and that Mexico suffers a great deal from poverty and ignorance, but did you know South Africa beats Mexico in income inequality? The GINI coefficient, which measures each country’s inequality (where 0 is perfect equality and 1 is perfect inequality) gives Mexico a 0.481 and South Africa 0.634.
2. The social class distinction is linked with race.
This is linked to how both countries fought back colonisation. Mexico’s independence from Spain was largely lead by “criollos” (people from European descent, but born in Mexico), and after victory, they were the ones with more resources to grow. Meanwhile, SA’s independence from the UK was fought in the early 20th century by the Afrikaners, and was finally achieved through a referendum that lead to a new Constitution in 1961. Since Apartheid was still enforced, the vote was restricted to white people. However, true independence was only achieved when Apartheid ended in 1994.
It is safe to say that colonisation made it difficult (but not impossible) for people of a race different than Caucasian to rise.
3. They both appear in separate acronyms that describe countries with the potential to have the largest economies in the 21st century.
4. Mexico City could use a tip from Cape Town’s public transportation system…
Mexico City is in dire need of a solution to traffic and pollution, it baffles me as to why our laws don’t try to improve public transportation. Cape Town may not be representative of South Africa as a whole, but people from all social classes seem perfectly comfortable to use the bus and train system.
… and cellphone technologies.
I am just going to say it: in South Africa, you can pay with your phone. (There are even a bunch of different brands). Aren’t we super tired of unnecessary PRINTED receipts?!
5. Cape Town could use a tip from Mexico City’s spiciness.
Not just talking about the food, but the majority of people in Cape Town worry too much about life. Living in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, one should embrace their surroundings more!
6. Both countries are much more than their stereotypes.
Not every Mexican you meet is involved with the cartels, and no, you don’t see lions on your way to school. The two countries offer more than the cliché enforced by Hollywood, with a vast number of endemic writers, bands, cinematographers, athletes…
7. Mexico (and the world) needs biltong. ASAP.
Afrikaners were forced to travel North when the British conquered the Cape, and they needed a useful way to transport meat. Natives from Southern Africa (Khoisan) had already came up with the technique, so the Voortrekkers (Afrikaans for ‘pioneer’) perfected it with more spices. Imagine if instead of Cheetos and Sabritas, Mexican kids ate dried meat for lunch. (Ok, eating a bunch of meat can give one gout, but at least that’s harder to get and easier to treat than diabetes and malnutrition).
8. Both countries enjoy a rich diversity in culture, flora and fauna.
Sadly, modern issues such as deforestation and fracking will erase this reason in a few years. Can you guess which picture is from which country?
Yes, there is language and culture differences, but both Mexico and South Africa are struggling unique countries with a lot in common. While I am certainly not capable of offering solutions, I encourage people to take these matters into account. You never know who might be reading.
*(Note: this post is not an attempt to generalise cities or people, but only a mere observation of a few cases that may represent a larger part of the population)*