Category: South Africa Chronicles

Zeitz-MOCAA Cape Town

The new Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa – Zeitz-MOCAA – is an instant architural landmark, both global and local, and an extraordinary addition to Cape Town’s cultural scene and to the V&A Waterfront. Rob and I were lucky enough to get in on the opening weekend (there were 1 ½ hour line-ups, but we bought memberships, and skipped the queue) but the place was way too crowded to enjoy the artworks, and in any case the architecture itself was a thing of wonder. So we wandered around, gazing up into the cathedral-like concrete flutes that rose towards the skylights, […]

Whales, Walker Bay

We were in Cape Town last weekend, the Heritage Day long weekend, and on Sunday we took my mother out to Hermanus and Gansbaai to see the whales. On previous occasions we had seen them close in, near the Old Harbour, but not this time. We were lucky, however, to spot one or two far out, way across Walker Bay, so we drove round to Gansbaai, another 40 kilometres along the coast, in hope of a better view, and were just in time to see a pod of humpbacks quite close in, before they tired of us and slipped beneath […]

Nirox Jazz Festival

A couple of months ago I posted a blog, with photographs, of the Winter Sculpture Exhibition at Nirox, in the Magaliesberg, a lovely spot folded into the hills about an hour north north-west of Johannesburg. Just two or three weeks ago we were back, this time for the Nirox Jazz Festival, a harbinger of Spring, under appropriately sunny and warm conditions. A large, white, floating cover, like a quilt of clouds, sheltered the crowd who gathered over the course of a lazy Sunday morning to listen to the music, on a green hillside that looked down onto a meandering stream […]

Hillfold Pottery, Midlands Meander

You reach Lindsay Scott’s Hillfold Pottery in Lidgetton in the Natal Midlands by following a dirt road into the hills, climbing through forest, then turning off down a narrow rutted track that makes you wonder why, oh why, do you no longer have the Landy, until suddenly the woodland opens and you are in a sunny clearing where a low bungalow awaits, and the studio beckons. The man himself was there, reserved but gracious, and while he might have been of few words the work spoke volumes. We bought a piece for ourselves, and one or two smaller pieces for […]

Midlands Meander

The Midlands Meander in KwaZulu Natal – well, meanders, criss-crossing the N3 that links Johannesburg to Durban, offering the traveller a network of scenic routes that winds through hills and valleys as it folds into its embrace potteries and chocolatiers, breweries and cheese-makers, leather workers and artists. It is the land of dairy – and, along a nondescript stretch of the old Johannesburg road, beside the railway line not far from Howick, the area where Mandela was captured, in August 1962, following a tip-off, it is believed, from the CIA – those friends of democracy everywhere. These images, I hope, […]

Parkmore Field Market

It’s becoming a meme, I guess, at least of this blog – the notion that Joburg, and South Africa, is a study in contradictions. Creativity and enterprise flourish, the place is dynamic and happening – but it is also a dead-end of fraud and corruption, crime and incompetence. There is warmth, love, vibrancy in human interactions, across race, creed and class – and there is sullenness, indifference, even hatred. The glass is half full, and at the same time half empty. You get the idea. One of the creativity, love, enterprise happenings happens once a month, on the second Saturday, […]

The walk to work, Pretoria

Most days, instead of getting off the Gautrain bus opposite the Treasury, at the corner of Thabo Sehume and Madiba, I get off at Madiba and Bosman, and walk the couple of blocks to work, past the Department of Public Works and the High Court, for what passes these days for exercise. I know, I need to take better care of my health, as Rob rightly reminds me, but at least this is something, right?! I took these images on my way to work one morning, when the sun was still raking across the street, casting long shadows. By the […]

Of Gautrains and stations

There are three guys in my office whose job it is to review the evidence – cost-benefit analyses, emissions studies, traffic analysis, urban sprawl, you name it – for a mooted east-west addition to the Gautrain network. I ride the train most days, from Jo’burg to Pretoria and back again, and much as I love the speed, safety and convenience I do have to wonder about the economics. Fortunately, though, it’s not my problem. What does exercise my imagination is the place of the human, in all of this. It’s something to do, perhaps, with the scale of the individual […]

Upcoming post

I will be posting some images soon of Pretoria and the Gautrain; here is a taster.

A Note to my Family and Friends

I have alluded before to troubles in the workplace. I can now say that the team leader I was working with has been let go. It gives me no pleasure, but I will confess to a huge sense of relief. Enough said.