Category: South Africa Chronicles

Nirox Sculpture Exhibition, Winter 2017

Winter it was – cold, wet, and muddy. But the Nirox Winter Sculpture Exhibition, spread across rolling fields and streams in the folds of the Magaliesberg, was full of relaxed, contented crowds – poking around the sculptures and installations, watching as their children played beneath the trees, filling up on the good eats from some of the Cape’s finest wine estates and restaurants. In warmer weather the scene must sparkle, with the late autumn light glancing off the leaves, the water in the ponds and streams laughing – but this grey day with its flat light had its own charms, […]

Rosy-Faced Lovebirds

We were standing in our garden one evening, not long after we’d moved in. There were birds in the high branches of the tree that stands outside our wall, on the street. “They look like lovebirds,” I said. “But they can’t be. You don’t get lovebirds in Johannesburg.” But they looked like lovebirds, so I got out the binoculars. Unmistakable. I got out the Roberts bird guide. Again, unmistakable. These were Rosy-Faced Lovebirds, a resident flock who live in the rafters of the townhouse one block up from us. You see them in the evenings, gathering in the same tree, or […]

Out and about in Habana Vieja

I thought I was done with my Havana portfolio, but I’m not – at least not yet. I had planned, this morning, to pull up a final set of images of the Malecon for processing, but decided to go through the complete file, just in case – and came up with these photos instead, which I hope you will agree deserve a life of their own. After this past ten days in South Africa – a midnight reshuffle of the Cabinet, two ratings downgrades to junk status, by Standard & Poors and Fitch, after protests against Zuma all across the […]

South Africa in the news

For our overseas family and friends: South Africa is in the news again, and for all the wrong reasons. President Jacob Zuma’s “night of the long knives,” in which he purged a third of his cabinet, including the respected finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, and Gordhan’s deputy, Jonas Mncebisi,  has caused consternation and a growing backlash, not least amongst members of his own party. The country’s Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has spoken out openly against the decision, as has the party’s Secretary-General, Gwede Mantashe. The South African Communist Party, which is in alliance with the ANC and has a number of ministers […]

Grand tourer

One way to see Havana – to take in the major sights, get a feel, so to speak, for the lay of the land – is to take a ride in one of the fifties convertibles pictured in this image. Gaudy, romantic, gas-guzzling, polluting, they are the perfect expression of a particular version of the city. Other cars from the fifties, clattering down the streets, overloaded with Cubans rather than with tourists, offer a different perspective: the view of a city just managing to scrape by, abandoned by modernity, impoverished yet resilient. Then there are the Russian Ladas, in various states of repair, the […]