Tag Archives: South Africa

NORTHWARDS!

Minutes from the Johannesburg airport we’re in countryside that (once again) looks decidedly Australian, scattered as it is with eucalyptus trees. Strange, elongated, pointy hills dot the flatness – possibly mine dumps. We pass flat fields of sorghum and dead corn. Boomsprays sit in furrowed fields. I see cattle, red and glossy black, on the verge of the dual carriageway. What’s to prevent them wandering onto the road? A moment later I spy the man wandering alongside them trailing a thin, supple stick. They are grazing the long paddock, as we say in Australia.

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Penguins and Points

The Americans next to me in the minivan were remarking how the landscape reminded them of Oregon. At the same time I was thinking how reminiscent it was of parts of Australia – hectares of scrub, rocky outcrops, eucalyptus (a weed in this country, threatening indigenous plants and ‘using lots of water’ according to our driver). We were on a day trip around Cape Peninsula.

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Black sea birds fly low past the Cape of Good Hope

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Cape Town Caper

Large black-maned lions used to roam the land where Cape Town now stands. The last one was shot sometime between 1802 and 1858.

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Rembrandt – a Cape lion

The sea used to wash through what is now downtown. It was pushed back in the 1930s and 40s – presumably using the know-how of the Dutch, those masters of land reclamation.

Cape Town from Table Mountain

Cape Town is a working harbour.

District Six was a thriving mixture of cultures. Apartheid policies razed it. It is now largely grass supporting a few religious buildings. People sprawl between the occasional boulders and rubbish. Continue reading

Arriving In My Past

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. Continue reading