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177 Nations of Tasmania podcast - From Sweden to the heart of Africa

Updated: Oct 27, 2023

One of the beauties of doing this podcast is the diversity of stories and cultures I get to hear about from quite disparate parts of the world. Some are more personal or individual things, others have a more universal quality, while others say something very poignant about a particular place and its culture.

It's perhaps hard to think of two more different cultures than Sweden and South Sudan, at least on the surface, and they also represent very different environments in which to grow up. However, they both have qualities and traditions to respect and admire. For example, in South Sudanese culture the concept of sharing, especially with those less fortunate that yourself, is very strong. A very strong aspect of Swedish culture is "lagom", which is very much about moderation and balance and not taking more than you need or overdoing or underdoing things. I've included a short video here explain this concept a bit more.

SWEDEN - Cecilia

Before coming to Tasmania, Cecilia worked for the Swedish Antarctic Secretariat, and it was at an Antarctic conference that she met her future husband, who brought her to Tasmania. In this episode we talked about some of the challenges she had settling in Tasmania such as finding work and understanding Australian slang, and also about some unique aspects of Swedish culture, including the notorious pickled herring surstromming (see video below for more explanation). There was a craze on YouTube a few years ago called the "Stinky Fish Challenge", which made the dish rather notorious !

SOUTH SUDAN - Lawrence

Lawrence's story is characterised by major challenges, resilience, sharing and family. Arriving as a young man without his father or mother here, he struggled in the school environment initially, but got into the workforce early and now has happily settled down with his large family near Hobart.

RWANDA - Aubert

Anyone who knows anything about Rwanda, would be familiar with the

horror of the Rwandan Genocide that happened in 1994. Aubert helps organise a commemoration of the event each year in Hobart, both to mourn those lost and to remember the lessons of genocide so they may not be repeated. But Aubert is keen not to be defined by this horrible event, and as you will hear in this interview, he has done much to help others in his 20 years in Hobart, especially newly arrived migrants from Africa. We also talked about the other side of African culture - the strong sense of community bonding and sharing that we have perhaps lost a lot of in our own culture.

For more information about the Rwandan Genocide. There are many of other videos and documentaries about this on YouTube and elsewhere for those interested in learning more about the context.


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