‘If a tea-bag can be given a new lease of life, I think a human being can’. Lynette Torbit. Tucked away in Hout Bay, just along the road from Imizamo Yethu is a heritage Cape Dutch property. Set back from the road, it’s not so noticable, but inside magic happens. Lives are transformed along with the tea-bags, rubbish becomes art, creativity and confidence surge, and … Continue reading The Power of a Tea-bag.
The Waterkant ‘Second palm tree on the left please’… that’s what we tell taxi–drivers. I love ‘living’ in the quaint Waterkant, a.k.a. ‘the village’, a Disneyfied version of the Bo-kaap. It’s quiet, genteel, an ex–pat enclave, and supposedly Cape Town’s gay quarter, but you’d hardly know it. It’s rainbow-shaded eighteenth century cottages are a kaleidoscope of colour; they are also gated, barred and patrolled by … Continue reading A Tale Of Two Hoods: The Bo Kaap And The Waterkant.
‘You will see the best and the worst of Africa in four hours’. Never before have we received such a list of instructions to reach anywhere. We were driving through the old Transkei to reach Melissa’s cottage. Here, her words, in italics, are mingled with my own impressions of a long, very memorable journey. Dead dogs – 6. Corrugated iron churches – 1. Accidents – … Continue reading A Cottage On The Wild Side.
‘We will take what nature gives us. I’m not going to squeeze the nature’. We were about to step into the wild. I felt a mixture of emotion. A thrill of excitement. A whole lot more fear. ‘Whatever happens don’t run. It’s not good to die tired’. Aron, the head ranger was holding forth. ‘You too are very bright’, he said, nodding at the Germans, … Continue reading Far, Far From The Madding Crowd.
‘First I’m going to show you Heaven and then we’re going to die hel’. We were driving through the Swartberg mountains up to the top of the Pass with John. ‘I’m a man of nature. This is my special place’, he said, stopping his 4×4 at what he called the amphitheatre. We were surrounded by mountains, with their intense colours and more swirls than a … Continue reading Gamkaskloof: To Hell And Back.
‘As you get older you begin to look back; you think of your roots, because you know you’re soon going to be a part of those roots’, Henk mused as we bit into biltong and drank coffee out of tin mugs. Maybe that’s what the search for Alf was all about Alfred Faulding Tomlinson was – like me – a ‘yellow belly’: a Lincolnshire lad, hailing … Continue reading In Search Of Alf.
I can never stay up for New Year. I turn into a pumpkin around ten in the evening. But this year I got a second bite of the cherry with a Tweede Nuwe Jaar. (Literally second New Year). The Cape Town Minstrel Carnival has its origins in the days of slavery, when farmers gave their slaves a day off. Bursting with music, merriment and magic … Continue reading The Kaapse Klopse.
Tenikwa is a wildlife rehabilitation and awareness centre close to South Africa’s touristy Garden Route. I thought long and hard about going there. All of their publicity seemed to concentrate on cats – wild cat experience – walking with cheetahs – and photo combos of all of the above. It felt a bit like exploitation. But I read a lot, kept an open mind and decided to go for it. After … Continue reading Crayzee Cat Lady.
Tobeka met us at the bus stop, welcoming us to the place where she lives. ‘Over there, are the beautiful houses where the white people live’, she said pointing; ‘over there on the hill is a township where coloured people live, and this is Imizamo Yethu, where the black people live.’ Behind us ranged a ramshackle row of shacks, slanting into the hillside, random pieces … Continue reading Imizamo Yethu. ‘Our Combined Effort’.
For drama lovers and story tellers, take a walk on the wild side to what was once a little island in the middle of the Seine and discover some tall tales in Les Cimetière des Chiens et Autres Animaux Domestiques. I like visiting cemeteries. I think of them as parks with dead people. Mostly they’re beautiful, peaceful places and not at all morbid. Sometimes … Continue reading A Tear Jerker!