06 February 2011 by Julienne du Toit

Taking it Slow

Recently I was poking around the internet looking for more information about Slow Towns. This was because late in 2010, Africa’s very first Slow Town was officially declared. It is Sedgefield - a sleepy village (obviously) on the Garden Route.

The wonder is that it took so long for Africa to have its first official Slow Town. I have a feeling that the continent will take to it like a duck to water.

That is why Slow Food, Slow Towns and Slow Travel are perfect for a trip to Africa - specifically South Africa, which offers the kind of intense experiences combined with tranquillity that really lend themselves to Slow Living generally.

A bit of quick info about all this Slow Stuff: the movement for Slow Food arose in Italy (where else?) in the 1980s as a reaction against the onslaught of Fast Food. It quickly gained favour there and also France - not surprising, since as I have gleaned from A Year in Provence, lunches can take hours. Since then, the movement has spread, in different forms around the world.

Sedgefield is our first Slow Town (and will soon be celebrating its own Slow Festival) but there is also a growing Slow Food Movement - in the energetic Johannesburg, the pretty lively Cape Town and the extremely laid back Karoo.

But what really attracts me is Slow Travel. As I get older, I find it increasingly agreeable to just sit on a verandah in the heat of the day, and observe things. It’s good to go for long rambles, to spend time reading, to stay in a town for a week, instead of just a day.

It’s tempting to rush about sometimes, but the most memorable holidays are the ones where you just find time to sit, to talk to new friends and to slowly savour new food. Somehow, it all sinks in a little better…

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