Population: 323M (6xRSA) |Size: 9.85MSqKM (8xRSA) | Currency: US Dollar $ | Political Leader: President Barack Obama (Democratic Party) | Capital City: Washington DC | GDP: $18 trillion (1/195)| Primary Language: English

Ashley Newell is from Santa Cruz, California

When and why did you come to South Africa?  I first came to South Africa in 2009 to volunteer in a community in the Eastern Cape.
Where do you work?  I work for the Hout Bay Partnership where I’m very lucky to get to work in our community on a wide array of projects with many great organizations and passionate people.
What do you love most about Hout Bay? I love how “switched on” the community is. There is such a strong sense of community involvement in so many areas and so much variety of experience and talent.
What’s the best thing about your country? Growing up in America you are taught from a very early age that no matter who you are you can become anything you want as long as you set your mind to it and work hard to achieve your goals. Obviously as you grow up you realize things are a lot more complicated than that and not everyone has the same amount of privileges but I am grateful to have grown up in a culture that encouraged me to believe in myself and possibility. I also love the diversity of America and the huge variety of cultures in every city.
…and the worst? This year in particular I don’t think I need to explain this to anyone…. Being American living abroad is a bit of a complex identity these days.
What do you think the USA is most famous for? America exports so much of its culture I’m not really sure what it is MOST famous for. Obviously big corporations, particularly fast food and of course celebrities.
If there’s one thing you could import from the USA to South Africa, what would it be? As a Californian I have to say Mexican food! I’m grateful for how many more options have popped up in Cape Town over the past 7 years but nothing beats an authentic taqueria and a proper margarita.

If there’s one thing Americans could learn from South Africa what would that be? Work life balance. Cape Town in particular where there’s people going to yoga or climbing mountains on their lunch breaks and Sunday family dinners are still a thing.


[#UnitedNationsOfHoutBay and #HoutBayPeople are social media initiatives by the Hout Bay Partnership to celebrate the diversity and positivity of our community]