The de-colonization project – a pretty prickly issue

z Where to begin? Colonization is as much a thing of nature as it is of culture and is happening all the while we read and write here. Bacteria colonize organisms. Vikings raid and colonize foreign lands. Comets are colonized. In scientific parlance: DARMSTADT, Germany — For the last two years, the Rosetta spacecraft has danced …

Into the New Year

Dear friends, Contemplating The Ship of Fools could well serve to alert us to the follies in our own lives if not the world at large at a time when all our good New Year’s resolutions have dulled away. Bosch’s work speaks to us as freshly as it must have moved people at the turn of …

Cape Town’s Waterfront on a sunny winter’s morning

    Albert Luthuli (1898-1967) President-General of the African National Congress (ANC) from 1952-1967. He was awarded the 1960 Nobel Peace Price “for his fight against racial discrimination”. Luthuli House – the ANC headquarters in Johannesburg – is named after him. – Archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu (born in 1931) received the Nobel Peace Price in …

The Curse of Racism

We belong to the human race. The classification of humans according to essentially distinguishable traits is part of 19th century anthropology, subsequently throughout the 20th century, exploited as a political tool. Behaviour among the human race that today still uses such classification openly or in subtle ways, is justifiably branded “racist”. When and where the …

Happy days – happy souls

What are happy days? Days of lightness are happy days. Lightness of colour in your heart. Evenweightedness in feel, of mind and will. Watching the moon, at dawn, solitary, mid-sky, I knew myself completely: no part left out. (Shikibu)* May your 2016 bring you many happy days of summer clouds and fairy ways. With love as …

Namibia Impressions – II – Lüderitz – ǃNamiǂNûs*

The town of Lüderitz, named after the German merchant Adolf Lüderitz (1834-1886) who bought stretches of desert along the Atlantic between Angola and South Africa from various Nama captains, is a unique town. It still bears some trademarks of Germany’s ill-fated colonial ambitions. Without any hinterland to support it, it would eventually have been covered …

The Agony in the Garden

Reading Mark, the evangelist’s account afresh and meditating on the agony in the garden and on the corporeality of the man there meeting his fate, we have tried to empathise and to find words for it. The German text is the original and the English a kind of rendering in thought. With oil of nard …

The Good, the not so Good and the …

                      Our wish list for 2015, jotted down and in no particular order, is very short: Staying in touch with family and friends and meeting personal challenges with courage and integrity. What more, really, can one do or wish for. The debate about global warming …

The white washed walls of Stellenbosch

                  For the more politically inclined, the title of this blog ought to be ambiguous. Ambiguity is not intended here, but words have this political thing of revealing and/or concealing divergent aspects of truth (see Pablo Neruda’s “meta’fore!” – in the film Il Postino). Here, however, I …

Heritage Day – a walk up Lion’s Head

Tuesday was “Heritage Day” – so called to remind us of our cultural diversity and with that to remind us of our unity as a nation. People with Zulu ancestry are celebrating the remembrance of Shaka Zulu (c.1787-1828), once king of the Zulu nation. Others are proposing this day to be called “Braai Day” the …

The End of History

Living in Betty’s Bay for the moment, living in bliss for a while, where the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans overlap, and where at this time of the year, whales, sea otters, porcupines, baboons, leopards, francolins, guinea fowls, mongoose and a myriad of birds share sea and land with us, there is not much of an …

Views of Betty’s Bay

There are many aspects of life in Betty’s Bay, which are worthwhile exploring. Looking across the fence, there is an artist’s studio and next to him a chef, former owner of the then only worthwhile restaurant in the immediate area, now a full time chocolatier; next to us a couple retired as we are, she …

Dreaming

Much has been researched in the last almost three hundred years about dreams and dreaming, yet, we still do not know where we go when we dream. Looking at early, biblical accounts of dreams in the history of dreams, we see their images and interpretations to be of another world outside the one we experience …

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog. Here’s an excerpt: 4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 15,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 3 Film Festivals Click here to see the complete report. Dear all …

Cave of our ancestors

Colleen’s old friend Tim and his wife Di from England stopped by on one of their visits to South Africa. They are always keen on all aspects of South African history – last time we explored Genadendaal, which to their and our surprise they hadn’t heard of – and this time we thought we should …

A courageous voice of a new South African generation

The face of Africa is changing. All the time. And has never ceased to capture the imagination of adventurers, poets, sailors, artists, traders, writers, warriors, film-makers, scientists, musicians, explorers. Exploited by outside forces as much as by its own, it never lost its allure. Africa is, after all, our motherland – the paradisical place of …

Wilderness

This is Wilderness on the Garden Route just about half-way between George and Knysna where we had the good fortune to be invited by our friends Karin and Michaela to stay with them in a cottage they had hired on the Touw River lagoon. We explored Knysna and went on a ferry trip to the …

Im Haus der Sprache wohnt das Sein

Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) argued that we as people cannot assure a secure foothold because everything we produce is potentially capricious and because of that we have to allow our Being domiciliary rights in the home of language. Of that nature was our discussion with Herman Perold, philosopher friend from Prince Albert who together with his …

Mission Trail’s End

We had left Morija and were travelling South to Thabana Morena where the Baccuet girls had been living after the war. Their father, the Rev. Ernest Albert Baccuet was commissioned as chaplain to accompany the Basotho regiment in the British forces during World War II in the Middle East (Syria) until they were fully repatriated …

In our Father’s Garden – under the Pepper Tree

Our friends from France – Eliane and Arlette together with her husband Richard – are on a nostalgic journey to places in Lesotho where they were born and grew up as children of Missionaries of the Paris Evangelical Missionary Society, today called Lesotho Evangelical Church – the second largest faith group in Lesotho after the …

Roadside encounters

We are on the road again, travelling from Betty’s Bay to Johannesburg where we are scheduled to meet up with our friends from the Cevennes in France. They were born and grew up on various mission stations in Lesotho and that is where we will take them again. And we are as excited as they …

The National Planning Commission (NPC) in South Africa

Trevor Manuel, former South African Minister of Finance and currently Minister in the Presidency in charge of the National Planning Commission (NPC) listing and outlining the 9 biggest challenges South Africa is facing: Trevor Manuel‘s Diagnostic Report We will be commenting on Trevor’s nine challenges in one of our next blogs. Cheerio! Walter & Colleen …

Industry and Art – the Iron Works in Völklingen

The Völklingen Iron Works, a giant monument of 19th century industry, dominating the skyline of Völklingen, is now a World Cultural Heritage Site and a place for major exhibitions. The last exhibition – The Celts. Druids. Princes. Warriors – has just closed, attracting nearly 200.000 visitors. Further sections of the plant – blower shed and works …

Pocket Power

Pocket Power is a South African racing legend. He ran 42 times, for 20 wins and 17 places and earned just shy of 10 Million Rand. He might race again, but has indicated to his trainer that he wants to rest and is put out to pasture for the time being. We visited him at …

Isabella

Ferdinand II of Aragon (1452-1516) and Isabella of Castile (22 April 1451-1504) Isabella Maria was born 29 April 2011 to Carmen and Gunther and if you look at her she has all the makings of a queen of kinds. Isabella Maria, our grand niece – commanding but fair and farsighted – born on the feast …

A Drive up Signal Hill

Kramats, as they are called in the Cape, or Karamats (in Urdu) – Muslim Shrines – are burial sites of Saints of Islam. There are a number of such holy sites in the Cape, reminders of the Dutch East India Company’s policy to bring slaves, convicts and exile defiant Muslim leaders from Indonesia and India to the …

The Singing Bone

A dear friend of ours – Naomi – is on a yacht sailing in the Aegean Sea and our own memories of life on the Greek islands were refreshed, among others funeral rites which are foreign to most of us but are still practiced in Greece. After three or more years the remains of a …

O’ Samma – O’ Bamma – O’ Daffi

Bring a man to justice as it’s done in Westerns – it is a good and noble thing. Hang him high, if need be, send him flying – not nice but satisfying. Ceauscescu, Mussolini. Pity that Adolf got away and one Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, aka Stalin. To go in firing from the hip O’ Bammabammabamma, mowing …

Guilt – where it resides

Guilt. Why in heaven’s name do you want to blog about guilt? Well, with so much “liberation” going on in the Middle East, the question of the guilt of those keeping their people in bondage can no longer be suppressed. When, one wonders, will the people of Zimbabwe rise up against their oppressors? What then …