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 …

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 …

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 …

Mutually beneficial communities

Our children are questioning the wisdom not so much of our institutions but of our ways of living together as human beings on planet earth. We live, they say, wastefully and could share with each other so much more of our talents. How true is that and how so very naïve. Much of what we …

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 …

Doors of St. Tropez

Windows are at times referred to as the eyes of a house – what then would doors be – the mouth? Closed door. In the throng.   The battered door – having stood the test of time.   The enigmatic door.   Oriental door. The occupied door. The dark blue door. The kicked door. Door, …

The Jungle and I: Notes from Gabon

1670 map of West Africa by English cartographer John Ogilby. Depicts the African Gold Coast, Ivory Coast, and Slave Coast from Guniea south through the modern nations of, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Mali, Burkina Faso, Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. Ogilby modeled this map after the 1639 Hondius / Janesson …

Riebeek Kasteel afternoon

Riebeek Kasteel Many artists, culinary, of craft and fine art – have chosen Riebeek Kasteel as their place to work and be, away from the city – Cape Town. The neighbouring town of Riebeek West has brought forth two sons of the nation: Jan Smuts and David Francois Malan – both Prime Ministers of South …

Cape autumn light

The autumn light in the Cape has a special, poetic quality. The summer heat has waned, the winter with its storm and rain is yet a distance away. A quietness and stillness warms the heart, soothes the eye and all the senses. The wine has been harvested and the grape juice is gently fermenting in …

A walk down Lower Main Road Observatory, Cape Town

We were staying in Adam and Thekla’s lovely house in “Obz” this week and they and Bob and Dominique have not stopped pummeling us with the most wonderful treats all week, all around Colleen’s and Walter’s birthdays. The weather has been wintery throughout and both Texi and Adamski were a little under the weather with …

Lesotho Impressions

Lesotho impressions – they all were coloured by accompanying our friends into their missionary past. We let them lead us ahead and in a way stood back and observed rather than explored. Such are then our impressions of Lesotho – a land of utter beauty, a land of poverty, a land of thousands of eager …

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 …

Return to Dorp Street

With Dirki and his Katie Jane back in the country for a good long spell, last Monday the opportunity presented itself to have a picnic in the garden of our Dorp Street home which is presently leased to Retha and her little daughter Rood. Dirki wanted to show Katie Jane around Stellenbosch, his old stamping …

Thekla and Adam

Adam and Thekla decided on a very private wedding ceremony at their home in Observatory and an opportunity for family and friends to congratulate them at her sister’s home in Hout Bay. Nothing fancy – a glass of MCC (The Cape’s version of Champagne – as good as the real stuff), bread, dips and cheeses. …

Pióbesi Torinese – a visit in Piedmont

We were invited by the family of Barbara and Filippo Gautier di Confiengo to spend a weekend with them together with Dirki and Katie in their home in Piedmont. Dirki had formed a close friendship with their son Carlo. Last year, in a freak accident Carlo fell to his death. Since then Dirki has become …

Ride along the Wild Side

The wonderful countryside beyond the Kei River, denuded as it has become over the centuries of all trees, is nonetheless blessed with deep dark fertile soil and could in fact feed the whole of South Africa – if the people themselves were geared for agricultural activity, which they are not – they are pastoralists – …

A Christmas Carol

Carol singing at Christmas time in Europe is such a wonderful tradition which goes hand in hand with drifting snowflakes, early darkening afternoons, Christmas markets and brightly lit streets and people drifting into churches looking to re-live the feeling of Christmas they remember to have had when they were children. And that is good and …

Sweet Dreams – a home in Hout Bay

Nikki and Bob’s home in Hout Bay where we are staying with Michaelene & Gary for the next while – one aspect of it. It is a home of sumptuous proportions on three levels. This is what you see on entering level two – what would normally be the ground floor which here is substantially …