South Africa in Six Words

Not long before I left Chicago, a colleague at CG&A shared a book called Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs from Writers Famous & Obscure. A few of us took the challenge and tried to pen six-word memoirs of our tenure at the company. I think my favorite was Nottoli’s “1,095 bagels later, I’m still here.”

The concept, as you may know, stems from a piece by Ernest Hemingway, who, as the legend goes, was challenged to write a story in only six words. The result was magnificent in its heartbreak: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

Over the course of our year here, I will challenge myself (if I remember to do so) to tell stories about South Africa in six words. Or, at least I will try to describe South Africa in six words. I’m no Hemingway.

Just two months in, my attempts are bound to be surface-level in nature, but it’s a fun – and hopefully worthwhile – exercise. Here goes:

Big Five, bigger issues, biggest hearts.

Legacy shed, we are looking forward.

Quirky, mixed-race teenager seeks worldwide attention.

Rainbow Nation, you can do this!

Brus, braais, Boks and Bafana Bafana.

I’ll keep working on it…

What story can you tell in six words? What six words do you have for us? What’s your six-word memoir?

While you’re composing, here’s one more for you:

Planes fly. Board one. Get here.

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7 thoughts on “South Africa in Six Words

  1. Working on dad’s memoir today, can you tell… I appreciate the procrastination tool.
    “Dead body, lens cap still on.”
    “Rolling gurney, sheet covering six pack.”
    “Internship. Detroit riot, collecting confiscated guns.”

    • I love the idea of the six-pack under the sheet…nefarious. And the lens cap…human error in the midst of something that likely was not a mistake.

  2. Hi Ryan! Love your blog seems like ill be reading it everyday! Don’t get people here doing blogs so this is something totally new to me! 🙂 It’s great that I had the chance of meeting you and Jenny! You guys are truely amazing and inspiring people who I look up to! Hope to see you soon at vodacom 😛 ps. I am always available to help where ever I can!

    • Thanks, Yolande! And thanks for being “my one friend in South Africa.” You know I always have questions about how things work here, so I’m sure we’ll be seeing you again soon…

  3. Pingback: What are you looking at? « AfricAnnum

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