The Rainbow Nation

Brothers retell experiences in Africa


Maddy Kang & Shay Lawson, Staff Writers

Imagine experiencing a new country, living in an unfamiliar place, while diving into an exciting culture. Two sets of Blue Valley brothers, the Andrys and the Hattinghs, had the opportunity to live about 9,000 miles away in Africa.

The Andrys lived in Pretoria, South Africa for 2 years, while the Hattinghs stayed for 12 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

While one family came to the U.S., another left for Africa, both for their fathers’ work. However, both families fully explored the majestic, yet dangerous, daily life in Africa.

“We weren’t allowed to leave our neighborhood — there was an electric fence, fingerprints to get in and armed security,” junior Matthew Andry said. “[It] was a high hijacking zone outside of our house.”

The Hattinghs said they especially missed all of the things Africa had to offer, from safaris to the scenery.

“While I lived there, I really enjoyed the fact that we didn’t have the drama of social media and technology at our age,” junior Kiron Hattingh said. “We spent our days outside playing in the rivers and going on safaris. We had everything we needed — a bunch of land with wild animals, prairie bushes, dirt and friends.”

Tibeyan Hattingh also said they had a river conveniently located near their home where they would swim for fun.

There were many cultural differences in Africa, but a major one was schooling. The Andrys attended the American International School of Johannesburg, freshman Jake Andry said.

“It was outside. The weather was always nice,” Matthew said. “I would walk to my next class and go outside. It was hard, though, because the teachers were from Africa and had accents, and they all taught differently.”

Kiron said another cultural difference was that different nationalities of people in Africa blended together very well and people were generally interested in strangers’ lives. He said if he was waiting in line for something in Africa, a stranger would socialize with him to pass time.

“The country is called the ‘Rainbow Nation’ because you have European culture, Native African, Eastern and Indian,” Kiron said. “They all blend in a way I have never seen before. Within the few years I’ve lived in the U.S., people keep more to themselves and have an isolated vibe to them.”

Both sets of brothers expressed the positives that came from living in a country other than the U.S. and how it affected them.

“It was a completely different experience,” Matthew said. “It was a lot different than here. We got to experience new things, and we got a whole new vibe of culture.”