Archive for the ‘South Africa’ Category

I’ve spent the twenty-four hours following the release of the Marikana Report sitting and reading it, making reader’s notes as I go, as a service to those who won’t have the time to spend going through the 600-page document. So having taken a massive nap since, I want to just share a couple of thoughts on it

Truth be told, I blame Kerouac. Later on, Dana Snyman had a hand in it too, but mostly, originally, it was Kerouac’s fault.

The Karoo is hot. Like fucking sun-massacred hot. The land where God hates the trees. She loves only the scrubby, fragrant bushes that refuse to die and the Orange river. The leviathan that cuts its way through the flat line of the horizon like an old boxer – no speed remains, only power.

South Africans I have traveled with – and people visiting South Africa from abroad that I have met – often remark on the sheer number of contrasts in the country. On the fact that it really feels like many countries in one. Some of the time, these comments are adressed to our unequal (shamefully the   Read More …

Cradock is an unexceptional town. It was founded around 1818 and has served, for the most part, as a stopping off point for people going to other places ever since. It’s a small town, and like many small towns, has come to invest not inconsiderable effort in trying to write for itself histories of various   Read More …

South Africa’s oldest Presbyterian church lies silently with its brother in the hills an hour and a half from Grahamstown. They have been sitting in quiet contemplation for a very, very long time; and will likely contemplate a long time still.

Bodhisatta (n): In the Pali canon, the Bodhissata Siddhartha Gotama is described thus: Before my awakening, when I was an unawakened Bodhisatta, being subject myself to birth, sought what was likewise subject to birth. Being subject myself to aging… illness… death… sorrow… defilement, I sought happiness in what was likewise subject to illness… death… sorrow…   Read More …

Living in the Eastern Cape is living in a graveyard. The bleached bones of stories pierce the landscape in silence, clung to by the sinewy dust roads poking off the tar where life still moves. They relinquish their stories only to those who go looking. Quietly asking passers by to take a detour, explore. There   Read More …

The wind tumbles uncoordinatedly down the side roads. It’s the fastest thing in the quiet streets – not quite refreshing, but blowing hard enough to lift the heat from my skin, to make me believe that it’s not really as hot as it is. Dust crunches softly underfoot, leaping up in angry puffs as Yusuf,   Read More …

Camera in hand, I follow Hailey through the roads of Glenmore as the Sunday afternoon beats down on us. She, in turn, is following Ben Mafane, the township patriarch whose athletic frame understates his age. It’s easy to understand why he is dubbed the ‘Mandela of Glenmore’, having been a former boxer who now teaches   Read More …

As I go, I go. Landscape to greyscape to the inky-black unknown clacks past. Like the disjointed, rumbling machinery of some large clock in whose bowels I sleep out my delicious dreams and find these words anew. Tomorrow not only born another day, but a destination,a leg complete. Bringing with it the reward of a   Read More …

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