Kasane – meeting point of four countries – Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana.
Street market stalls in Kasane.

The people crafting in the villages and vendors along the street are having a hard time because of the lack of tourists in these times. Crafters, vendors, tourists – they all form part of an economy feeding into a greater network of keeping the habitat shared by wildlife and people alike, well and alive. And, what is not always apparent, they all need protection from being exploited. Crafters and vendors need a fair price for their products in return for their input; tourists need to invest in products that reflect community values, artistic skills and pride, supporting a socially worthwhile industry. Communities living in close contact with wildlife, need to be compensated for any damage caused by its occasional intrusion and wildlife likewise needs to be protected from human intrusion and possible exploitation. It is a delicate balance between the forces of natural occurrences such as flooding and droughts and the forces of man-made disasters caused by greed in conjunction with ill-placed and directed demands for mythical properties by not so gentle horny men from the East.

Here is the rub: our touristy footprint, large as it is – travelling 6000 km from the tip of the continent in the South to the tip of Botswana in the North – needs to be seen in context. We are contributing to keeping one of the last wilderness habitats on earth alive and well as best we can. Since the Amazon rainforest, earth’s breathing lung, is step by step ruthlessly being auctioned off – all visitors to the Chobe flood plains and the Okavango delta in the North of Botswana are charged with supporting these last remaining areas of wildlife on earth. It is an infinitely worthwhile task requiring immense commitment. It is not without danger, not without questions and problems, and considerable resources are to be spent on it. But in the end, to be near to our fellow creatures, unhindered, and in the process being transformed ourselves, becoming considerate, appreciative, humbler and quieter and better equipped to be rewarded with experiencing the joy, grace and beauty of wild animals living in their natural habitat.

There are no roads here, just pathways through the thicket.

Giraffes always seem to display a tender air of curiosity. It is said they have no voice, even in adversity and the most extravagantly lovely eye lashes.

Aish … !

Meadow islands during the dry season.

A harem of Impalas.

What an impressive set of horns, like scimitars.

Hyenas in amorous pursuit.

We stayed downwind in one spot near a watering hole and were rewarded with some lovely views, unnoticed.
Later that afternoon we chugged along on the Chobe river which here forms the border between Botswana and Namibia.
Amazingly the wildlife on both sides of the river not only appears to be untroubled by our presence but even seems to enjoy being watched. They couldn’t give a tinker’s cuss about our motorised goings-about while wading over and feeding on the river islands. It seemed they were feeling safe for the while under our watch and would return before nightfall to the Botswana side of the river, away from the Namibian side from where poachers had recently crossed the border and been swiftly apprehended by Botswana wildlife protection teams.

Chobe islands – for some time disputed by Namibia but now settled to belong to Botswana. Here elevated during the dry season.

River bank dwellings, fenced off to keep the hippos out.

The little dot is a baby elephant.

These baboons seem to be lighter in frame and colour than their Chacma cousins in the Cape.

When in the rainy season the waters arrive from the Angolan Highlands, these islands will be completely flooded and inaccessible.

Sunset over Namibia.

It was a great adventure for us and we thank the Bhejane team for their guidance and wonderful care. We would not have been able to do this trip on our own and we consider ourselves lucky to have done it in the company of a group of like-minded travellers who we met as strangers and parted from as friends.
Thank you.

With love
Colleen & Walter
27 Sept 2021


Deep sand demands your full attention – keep the momentum going throughout …
Domestic animals roam freely along the road and there are no fences.

… and every now and then an elephant …

… or a pride of lazy lions after a kill …

… a herd of a few hundred buffaloes …

… we reach our open campsite on the banks of a tributary to the Khwai river. Open – yes, open; no fences and the hippo pool is just around the corner … and the trees are difficult to climb …

The next morning we pick up hyena and leopard spoors – silent visitors of the night. Not so silent were the mighty hippopotamoi … they stepped out when night had fallen, feeding on the sweet green juicy river grasses on the swampy borders while you lie awake, listening to their grinding crunching wallowing, heart-stoppingly near to your tent, a sheet of canvas away … hippos are well known to be short tempered, easily turning into tempestuous beasts when disturbed at mealtimes …

The next morning Mokoros arrive, steered by young people from nearby villages.

At the Hippo pool. Somewhere in the background on the river bank a crocodile is lurking, invisible to the unsuspecting eye.

The Mokoros, tree dug-outs originally, are a means of transport for the local population. To stake tourists along the quieter waterways, has become an additional income generator. The modern Mokoro is made of fibre glass and their owners are proudly showing off their skills in keeping their wobbly crafts in balanced motion. This is your moment of feigning pluckiness in an environment that is not without concealed danger while to all appearances leisurely drifting among beds of waterlilies.

Afternoon time at one of the watering holes, watching game come and go – zebras, elephants, storks …

Evening outing on the Boteti river.

Part III of III to follow …

With love
Colleen and Walter
Sunday 26 Sept 2021


In a time of psycho-terror induced mass hysteria, it is good to go away for a while – to a place of inner quietness and peace or a place away from the maddening crowds.

The Makgadikgadi salt pan, the largest such complex of its kind on earth – a once great lake of 16 000 square kilometres.
Walking barefoot, trying to get in touch with the ancient silence.

Botswana is such a place, about the size of Madagascar, slightly larger than France, shared by less than 2.5 Million people, where 80% of the landmass is covered by the Kalahari desert and two great river systems which seasonally and partially transform the northern landscape into a vast inland river delta, home to abundant wildlife.

After rendezvousing with a group of fellow travellers in Botswana we set out on a ten day adventure – the first destination Kubu island in the Makgadikgadi salt pan.

Kubu Island – a granite rock outcrop within an ancient lake which has since dried up; an archeologically explored site; a holy site for the local people, and a national monument. Access with 4×4 during the dry season only is strictly regulated.

Granite boulders on Kubu Island.

Our group – quietly following the sun’s path down over Kubu Island.

Sunset over Kubu Island.

Driving a 4×4 on a hard surface which can become treacherous during the rainy season; being in a group of 14 fellow travellers only just met, could also be a hazardous undertaking – quite apart from your so-called carbon footprint (about which we must talk a little further on) – you cannot but be in awe of experiencing the immensity of space encircling you and the depth of time gone bye.

Hoodia pilifera. South African “desert cactus”. The peeled fleshy stems were used by the Khoi-San (Bushmen) herders of South Africa and Namibia as appetite and thirst suppressants in times of critical survival mode such as extended hunting expeditions.

Our team leader, Pete, in conversation.

Adansonia digitata – African baobab – this one might be over a thousand years old. They are thought to reach an age of 1500 years. A great number of stone tools have been recovered on Kubu Island, dating back to the earliest time of homo sapiens.
Luncheon break on our way to Maun.

Part II of III to follow …

With love as always
Colleen & Walter
24 Sept 2021
“Heritage Day”


A thing that has already happened or been decided before those affected hear about it, leaving them with no option but to accept it.

It’s one of these sun soaked winter mornings in the Cape, out of the blue after a week of steady downpours and blankets of snow on higher lying grounds further inland. It is the second Sunday of a renewed lock-down and we are expecting our president to enlighten us tonight again about decisions made by this government’s Covid Command Council. It is the first Sunday of our former president’s time of incarceration to the dismay of groupings within the Zulu nation who feel disempowered and humiliated in their pride as a warrior nation. As a first response self-appointed storm troopers gave expression to their particular type of allegiance and anger in intercepting and burning some twenty trucks on the KwaZulu-Natal highways while looting a number of shops with police looking on, fearing for their lives.

Sketch of a traditional Zulu warrior.

It seems there are still divided opinions about our former president’s time in office and the nature of his alleged misdemeanours, one being contempt of court for which he is at present serving a 15 months sentence. The division appears to be based on different interpretations and understandings of the rule of law, backed up by a constitution which is written and binding for all citizens of this country and applicable to all without fear or favour since 1996.

The former president of this country, having publicly sworn to uphold the constitution, decided to renege on his oath, now calling the constitution and it’s application a return to apartheid type injustice, foretelling widespread unrest in the country as a response to his incarceration.

President Ramaphosa spoke to the nation on Sunday “with a heavy heart” and again on Monday, outlining government’s response to the crisis. The crisis however, has been long in coming, ever since the former president’s time in office (2009-2016), during which time unrestrained looting of state funds took place on such a massive scale that all state owned enterprises including the state itself are now considered virtually bankrupt.

The root cause for all of this goes back a very long time, at least to the beginning of the 20th century, when the majority of the people of this country were disenfranchised by law. The so-called “Native Question” General Smuts referred to repeatedly, was never resolved until the National Party from 1948 onwards laid down the rules of Apartheid, hoping that separate development would lead to peace and prosperity for all. After the Apartheid government had been brought to its senses, that is to its knees and the ANC came into power in 1994, all things were set for a new democratic way of life for all. However, the disastrous management of state resources by cadre deployment has brought about the present crisis, exacerbated by the curtailing of economic activity as a response to the health threat. It only needed the smoke screen of the former president’s incarceration to foment an already volatile situation and political profiteers, in an orchestrated move, were able to unleash the hell hounds of looting, encouraging rioters to run amok, trampling anyone not quick enough underfoot.

The extent of plunder, of violence, of destruction caught the organs of state off-guard.
The nation is harshly reminded again of the existence of inequality and deprivation.
The often cited resilience of South Africans in times of crisis, comforting as it is, is not enough.
We need to address the divides, having all the resources, materially, intellectually and energetically, to deal with it.
However, the forces of Cuban and North Korean style liberation movements have outlived their usefulness.
Turning away from old Cuban style rhetorics, we might have to look, surprisingly, toward China, to see how its government has succeeded in encouraging capitalist type entrepreneurship.

We might have to seek the council of a round of CEOs from all sectors of society to figure out how to steer a course for this country that would satisfy ideological demands of a calcified left, cutting red tape right down to open the road for any and all entrepreneurial endeavours; slowly but decidedly lessen the state’s bureaucratic overload burden; replace outmoded means of transport with high speed sustainable rail infrastructure; secure for all citizens a minimum income and incarcerate all who illegally and/or irresponsibly divert state funds into private pockets.

All of this we can do if we respect the rule of law and with it what is given as a fait accompli – our constitution.

Between Sunday 12 and Saturday 17 July 2021.

With love as always
Colleen & Walter

At the Precipice

Inspecting ancient solstice markers of a lost civilisation in the Southern Cape’s Karoo region.

If it were up to us, we might have chosen a different time and place to be. Where would one have gone? Onto an island perhaps, the classical palms strewn on white sandy beaches? Reading Stevenson’s In the South Seas (Edinburgh1894-98), it would have been quite doable for a while despite the indigenous appetite for the flesh of neighbouring tribes. Anyway, it’s all a dream. Fleeing from the Black Death as the privileged group of seven young women and three young men in Boccaccio’s Decameron could afford, sitting it out in a villa outside Florence, seems to be the most attractive kind of shelter from a devastating disease. The story of a man who in recent history looked for a place where he could hide away from the noise of modern times, choosing The Falkland Islands to live out his life in peace, is well known (see the Falklands War of 1982). The less adventurous, the less fortunate, the less ambitious ones of us have to stay within the realm of their modest means.

Illustration from a ca. 1492 edition of Il Decameron.

Where do these thoughts originate from? The moment your wings of desire are clipped, you wish you could get far away from all restrictions, you never imagined to be imposable on anyone, let alone you. The awareness of it creeps in step by step as Dr. Bernard Rieux experiences it in the port city of Oran in Albert Camus’ novel The Pest.
Now that our ways of moving about are curtailed, we feel trapped, humiliated, angry and become aggressive.
Now that we feel how helpless we are where we had thought to be strong and all powerful in shaping our lives, we are left bereft. We are, in fact at the precipice.

At the precipice our fears grab at any good reason why we should not be where we are. Yet, no matter what, we are stuck. Yes, we do receive monetary help from the state, to keep us calm. Yes, we are being fed data to show we are not alone. Yes, we are made to feel looked after with advice how to wash our hands, how not to cough and how to stand away and hide our faces. All of a sudden we are turned into little children having to be told how to behave. It is quite astounding. Instead of saying: look, these are measures to protect yourself and others, but, otherwise get on with your life as before, we are being locked into rabbit cages and fed carrots of institutional wisdom.

There we are huddled together, not more than ten at a time from two families, children under fourteen years of age not counted, and – and what? Awaiting Father Christmas? The right wingers of the world are laughing aloud. See what you can do with people when they are scared! Nazism, Communism, Authoritarianism, they all feed on fear. Scare the people and they eat out of your hand as Hermann Goering told the Nuremberg court when somewhat naively asked how could so many good German people have fallen for the Nazi rule.
O no, the virus is real, it makes its round and will never be eliminated; it will become endemic for a long time to come, if not for ever. Like the atomic bomb. We are under threat all the while; we are at the precipice.

Being at the precipice requires a steadfast mind. Not to stumble. But also to take stock of your options. If there are any. If you are poor, everything matters. Cart by cart you are pushing your lot through the maze of charcoaled shacks. You would have liked to stay at home in the good old rurality, planting mealies, keeping a few chickens, some supportable life stock, yet, the call of the city was so much stronger, politicians and their wives in the latest Benzes and Cayennes showed that there is another world out there of potential prosperity. Hope of a better life.

On the road to Malealea, Lesotho.

This is the reality of most people in this country, getting on with life as best they can.

On our way to Lusikisiki, Eastern Cape.

If you are better off, nothing really matters. Your survival is assured. Comes the virus and steadily the odds are changed. You are as vulnerable as the poor. Your business is in jeopardy. And everyone connected. Now the poor and rich are equally affected. The virus as the great leveller. Messrs Soros, Zuckerberg and Gates are not exempt. All their amassed wealth means nothing anymore. Imagine a scenario, where mankind is wiped out, leaving only a handful of people to enjoy … what?

At the precipice – what are the options?
It appears the world has been there before and survived. What a world it had been, judging from the remnants of enormous skeletons! What would a world without humans eventually come to look like? A vast jungle of plants and trees with a billion animals thriving, building huge living colonies, ants, bees, spiders, beavers, frogs and more of the kind, re-colonising the world! No room for you and me to be, for sure.

The rapidity of change in technological terms has left all of us in the dust. Life has moved to the cloud. Next, to the dust of distant stars. We are being readied for the great trek to different worlds. But few of us, only a chosen few will be participants. That is the meaning of the great RESET, trashing the surplus mass, elevating the highly skilled to a new partnership in future explorations. Leaving this messed-up world behind, returning it to nature, letting it recuperate at its own rate, direction and will (e.g. Chernobyl), while accelerating the speed of development to propel what’s left of mankind onto a new trajectory out of the now and here.

Tschornobyl, Ukraine, founded 1193, population 500 (2010), better known as Chernobyl.

You think this far fetched? The future is already long behind and now the past is finally catching up with us, overtaking the world with increasing speed. That is the meaning of being pushed to the edge of the precipice.

Stellenbosch, Sunday 27 December 2020
With love from
Colleen & Walter

The Hedgehog’s Dilemma or the Porcupine’s illusion


The Hedgehog’s Dilemma appears to be a dilemma of our times, right now. It is a dilemma, not of our own making, but built into us as a species. It is one of Schopenhauer‘s witticisms presented as a parable and goes as follows:

On a cold winter’s day a company of hedgehogs were huddling together seeking each other’s warmth to protect themselves from freezing to death. Soon however they felt each other’s prickles which made them move away. Moving to and fro they eventually had to settle for a medium distance to just about their best advantage.

(Originally in Arthur Schopenhauer, Parerga und Paralipomena: kleine philosophische Schriften. Zweiter Band. A. W. Hayn: Berlin 1851, p. 524 f.)


Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 Danzig – 1860 Frankfurt/M.) at the age of 27. A romanticised portrait of the young man painted by Sigismund Ruhe in 1815.

Arthur Schopenhauer 1855. Painting by Jules Lunteschütz.

Schopenhauer explains: society’s inner monotony and emptiness motivates people to seek togetherness; their many faults and disgusting characteristics however drives them apart again. Through politeness and refined manners they eventually negotiate and can hold the medium distance. The need for warming each other is thereby partially compromised, but for that the stings from their prickles are avoided.

These days we are advised, if not commanded to exercise social distancing, whatever that means. We are told if you step out and mix with the world, you are under threat to be caught by a virus lurking in sneezes, kisses, hand shakes and other social gestures, ready to attack and potentially kill. Taking cover against an enemy invisible to the naked eye and who can strike with power and might. 

Schopenhauer concludes: the ones who have much inner warmth of their own, will prefer keeping away from society, neither to give cause for complaint nor be on the receiving end of any. 

Now, the Porcupine’s illusion.

“Schopenhauer’s tale was later quoted by Freud in a footnote to his 1921 essay Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego, where it was invoked to illustrate what Freud called the ‘sediment of feelings of aversion and hostility’ adhering to any long-lasting human relationship. Freud’s entire corpus is haunted by questions of intimacy: How much is too much? What degree of intimacy is necessary for our survival? How can we simultaneously crave and repel intimacy—especially from those with whom we find ourselves in some kind of intermittently repulsive, inconceivably intimate embrace to begin with? One could say that the dilemma of the porcupine, as rendered by Schopenhauer, is the Freudian relationship problematic as such.”
(George Prochnik, The Porcupine Illusion. Cabinet Magazine. Issue 26/Magic. Summer 2007)

Returning to the Virus context of our present moment, we are presented with statistics and being bullied into retreating to and staying locked-down in our abodes, be they comfortable homes or overcrowded shacks. And while the well-to-do have stacked their cupboards with enough booze to last out weeks the majority of people have already run out of such provisions. Road deaths, usually in the hundreds over weekends, are nearing nil while domestic violence is on the increase. Lives are saved while jobs are lost. The virus itself is almost harmless compared with the catastrophic fall-out of these measures imposed. Yet, voices of dissent are ridiculed as conspiratorial or right-wing populist. 

Here is one such dissenting view:
“<…> In South Africa, the average male dies before the age of 60, and 3% of the population is over 65. The median age in Africa is 18. In Europe, it’s 42. Africa is the world’s youngest continent, by far. We must ask, then, whether African nations (including South Africa) have as much reason to fear Covid-19 as regions where so much of the population is older. <…> Do not be tempted to retort that Covid-19 will kill more people in total. By far the most dangerous disease in human history is malaria, preventable with mosquito nets. Almost nobody dies from childbirth in developed countries, and few children die of pneumonia. But in developing countries, according to Unicef, five million children die each year from pneumonia, malaria and childbirth complications. <…> It’s time that African leaders, and especially those in South Africa, get themselves advisers who are awake to the differences between Africa and the places where lockdown was conceived, and who are willing and able to model the full consequences – not just death by Covid-19 – of a full range of measures.” 
(Alex Broadbent, Lockdown is Wrong for Africa. In: The Namibian, Tuesday 14 April 2020, p. 7. Alex Broadbent is director of the Institute for the Future of Knowledge and professor of Philosophy at the University of Johannesburg. He specialises in prediction, causal inference, and explanation. His books include Philosophy of Epidemiology and Philosophy of Medicine.)

While we are called to heed government’s regulatory measures – and while we are seeking the motherly warmths of being cared for by the organs of state – we might also be repulsed by the prickles of being patronised through heavy handed state interaction with our private lives. Here to find the middle path between adherence and disobedience appears to be the dilemma of our times. 

In Schopenhauer’s own view of the world it would in any event be preferable to stay away from society as long – and that is the criterium – you have enough inner warmth yourself. 
Ironically, that is how we engage with the lockdown – as our very own private spiritual retreat.


With love as always.
Walter & Colleen
Stellenbosch, 20 April 2020


A visit to the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art (MOCAA) in Cape Town

Inside the behemoth: some of a myriad of grain silo shafts, viewed from one of the interconnecting bridges.

The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art (MOCAA), the most recent addition to Cape Town’s Water Front and cultural scene, is a dazzling example of entrepreneurial skill, daring architectural design, seamless technical execution and amazing individual vision and devotion.
Who in his right mind would have considered transforming Cape Town harbour’s old grain silos into one of Africa’s showpieces?!

The entrance hall. Cathedral-like. Organ pipes? The openings featuring the grain-theme. A very powerful metaphor. The monumental growing power of a seed. A biblical dimension.

The dragon, then, very apt. Representing the power of the imagination. Also, the fury from within the artist’s belly. The power of con- as much as (self-) destruction. Hanging in the balance.

The construct. Welded. Painted. De-formed. The idea. Anything is possible.

View from the top floor restaurant onto one of the Waterfront’s alive and vibrant harbour scenes.

Culture shock – good wind for now! But see …


… see the trade … of goods – humans like you and me – bartered never to return.

Horse and rider all strung up in one ideological pose. The puppeteers abandoned. Keeping the pose …  hobby horsing into battle, hobnobbing with the god of war.

Looking from within to the outside …

onto the terrace … the periphery … clean-shaven blocks in blue.

Cathedral like vaults with shafts of light …

The galleries.

William Kentridge’s video installation …

More Sweetly Play the Dance ...

The Musician’s Mask.

Cyrus Kabiru, born 1984, Kenya : Masks

The harem guard’s mask.


Roger Ballen: Rooms of the Ballenesque

The biographer knitting her family history.

Time-weathered concrete structures having stood the test of time are released into a more commodious togetherness with light and art.

Treasure cones once filled with wheat. Still biblical as ever: a ziggurat.

The strong structural components cleverly segmented and opened up to let light in and allow for silently gliding  tubular transportation.

The walls of ancient Babylon. Hammurabi’s inscriptions, faded.

A more down-to-earth view of the walk way to the elementaries.

Sheer monumentality and solidity of the structure seen here,  calling for special craftsmanship to break it open, revealing it’s secret realm of capture, allowing it to breathe again, of letting go, though diminished yet sharply open.

Allusive of ancient temple constructions the industrial modernity left suspended and cut short – the remains of dusty industrious days now converted into a new flow of thought.

No shyness here to reveal the source of all the underlying endeavour of previous centuries. Seen today as introduced once under the guise of progress and development, to be condemned now as colonialism, suppression of indigenous rights, cultural theft – here it is alive: a memorial of the strength and will of the time to succeed against the odds of a hostile climate and environment and as a reminder now of the still strongly flowing sense of daring to succeed against the odds of any type of ideologically de-formative intervention.


Precious but affordable objects displayed for sale in the ambience of  industrial charm, tastefully arranged and worthwhile to consider.

The ever present cut-out embryonic openings representing the power of a grain of wheat are contrasted with the display of industrial machinery developed to harvest, transport, store and distribute wheat on a grand scale. Here, the amputated arms of a once industrious body hoiked up in suspense, are showing a kind of pathetic readiness to perform and yet, aimless as they have become, they are witnesses of a time of harvesting and processing and nourishing without which life is not sustainable and art not fundable.


In the end, here, finally, on your way out, meet the simple industrial machinery, well and adequately anchored to bring it all about. The raw stuff of power and design, solidly earthed.

Stellenbosch, 26 July 2018
With love as always
Colleen & Walter



Give us back our land!

Give us back our land! The cattle! The freedom of roaming!

The pride of a nation is at stake.
We were once proud of who we were.
Came the white man and chased us off our lands.
Stole our cattle.
And the war started.
Stealing and chasing.
Tit for tat.
In the end the white man gained the upper hand.
Occupying it all now.
Gaza, West Bank and now even Jerusalem.
And there is no end.
No peace.
No plan.
Only pain.
The pain of an awakening.

Walther von der Vogelweide (c. 1170 – c. 1230) German lyric poet. Illustration from Codex Manesse (Große Heidelberger Liederhandschrift) folio 124r, c. 1304.

Owê war sint verswunden alliu mîniu jâr!
Ist mir mîn leben getroumet, oder ist ez wâr?
daz ich je wânde ez wære, was daz allez iht?
dar nâch hân ich geslâfen und enweiz es niht.

O where have all the years of my life disappeared to!
Have I been dreaming or is it true?
What I hold to be real, was it ever so?
As if I had been sleeping and do not know it now.

Returning to the place of his youth,
the poet bewails the loss of a familiarity
once naïvely assumed to be granted for good.

There is pro-gress all the time.
A moving on.
Does that imply that the old positions
have no value or right of being reinstated?

Once the natural forests have been harvested,
once the oceans have been fished clean,
once the West Bank is fully built-up,
it will be difficult to rectify what has been lost.

We as people are living in an unjust world.
Palestinians are dealt a raw deal
to have to live in the world’s biggest open-air prison.
Israelis are dealt a raw deal in defending their gains,
whichever way disputed,
against a hostile neighbourhood.

All of this is not so much or only about land itself.
It is the loss of comfort.
Of familiarity.
Wanting to return to the places of our childhood.
Places of integrity and well-being.

It is only just, we feel, to have a roof over our heads.
The tiniest of gardens to walk into in the morning.
A safe ride into town to work.
A home to come back to in the evening.
To have a place of pride of ownership.

The world is our place to live in and we want a share of it.
Yet, our world is bent on destruction.
We are being robbed of what there is
before we even own the littlest of it.
Should we despair?
Need we remonstrate with shouts of give us back our land?

It is difficult to have a wider view of things
if you are in dire need of things elementary.

A place to cook.
To stretch out and feel at ease.
Safe and secure.

Let us be frank and know:
we are a long way from home.

The world we seek is not a place for us to have.
It is an illusion.
A project at best.


With love as always
from Colleen & Walter
Stellenbosch, Sunday 27th May 2018



The jolly duck-run at Vergenoegd Löw Wine Estate

Vergenoegd Wine Estate. Painting by Colleen. Oil on board, 135 x 84 cm. Artist’s collection.

Vergenoegd’s homestead gable showing the date 1713 with a spelling variation.

Vergenoegd – a Dutch word meaning contented, pleased, satisfied. And exactly this is the feeling you get when you visit the farm market on a Saturday morning with the thrill of the duck run thrown in at 10h30 am. The Indian runner ducks, gently goaded by a number of farm hands adding an air of excitement to the slow awakening of the market activities.

However – since the new president of the ANC, succeeding the former abjectly corrupt President of the Republic of South Africa, declared in his State of the Nation Address a new shift in land reform policy – a possible shadow has fallen over farms like these. When the Dutch established a victualing station at the Cape in the 17th century to stock their ships sailing to and from the East with fresh provisions, they hadn’t intended to colonise the Cape’s hinterland. Increased traffic around the Cape however led to encounters with local herders and commercial contacts eventually leading to the development of farming enterprises deeper into the interior. Vergenoegd is one such example. The new President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has stated that food security will not be compromised – with obvious reference to the catastrophic events in Zimbabwe which lead to the massive impoverishment of all its people. While the new ANC leadership has wrested the issue of land reform away from the provocatively aggressive and apparent fascist EFF propaganda machine, it nevertheless remains a topic of great concern for many farm owners of whom the majority are of European descent. In other words it has become an issue of white against black ownership of land. Not that the land was originally owned by anyone. What is relevant is that the white people have cultivated the land with help of indigenous and slave labour and are holding it as their possession. This is supposed to be changed radically. No-one at this stage knows what it entails, but many are worried.

Gently goaded into the farm yard.

Indian runner ducks. Instead of waddling, they are running, kicking up a dust.

Grazing to the public’s content.

Indian runners were introduced on the farm as pest control. On Saturday mornings they run for the love of it (we think) – they appear to be rather proud of their controlled performance as runners or, shall we say, soldiers of the snail trail.

Homeward, runners!

The duck run is a lovely feature of the farm abounding with entertainment value which you can look up on their website. We came here to experience the duck run since we love ducks and had a number of Dutch quackers in our garden. They are such jolly creatures, though a little messy as well.

Dutch quackers. Painting by Colleen. 1996. Oil on board. 1996.50 x 40 cm.









We rounded our duck run visit off with a walk through the morning market buying some succulents on our way out, the present drought situation forcing us to re-design our garden to become water-wise. No space now for ducks to paddle in the ponds.


Are places like these stolen from the people?
Should cultivation and development of land be viewed and judged as an act of malfeasance?
The voices of fascism are shouting: the time of reconciliation has passed, now is the time of justice.
What kind of justice?
The German playwright and poet Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) would have said: the land belongs to those who will work it.
Are the white-washed walls of a farmstead still standing out as symbols of oppression, exploitation and outright results of criminal acts?
Political fodder thrown to the masses by demagogues masquerading as omniscient and divine arbiters of earthly justice?
Let’s leave it there for a while and instead savour the last moments of a lovely summer morning at the Vergenoegd Löw Wine Estate.


With love as always from
Colleen & Walter


Stellenbosch, 13th March 2018