Johannesburg is a rich tapestry of lights – arterial amber globs and backstreet silver pinpricks.
As we descend, the land’s undulations are black sheets studded with lights: paper with rounded upper edges, placed upright one behind the other, obliterating the lower parts of those behind – a simple art project for children.
Then the lights separate from the whole and form themselves into buildings. We are in the city.
On the ground we walk the South African way.
A man announces that our baggage is on carousel nine. His warm, rounded accent pronounces carousel to rhyme with arousal – wonderfully appropriate for this country where I am on cultural alert.
For I am in the land where humans began.
It is going home in the profoundest sense. I feel the fibres of my being, of who I am, reaching back into a rich, darkened past.
Later, I hear radio advertisements exhorting the population to vote for the ANC and “celebrate twenty years of freedom”. Never have I felt the history of a nation so strongly through its politics. I feel anchored in history, as though by merely being there I am somehow enveloped or included in the country.
Journey with me and be immersed over the next week or so as I discover parts of South Africa.