The few followers and regular visitors to this blog may have noticed that postings have not been all that frequent during the months of April (13 articles) and May (only 4 articles). Besides the fact that I experienced some annoying technical snags and glitches this month, while trying to upload material from various West Coast locations -- ranging from Langebaan to Mossel Bay, there is also another reason why I’ve been somewhat sluggish on the blogging scene, and also in the voting booth.
Some of you may recall that I was blessed with the wonderful opportunity to visit the far north-western part of the Okavango Delta in Botswana during March 2011. The trip and some of my experiences were shared in the posting entitled Beautiful Botswana – Okavango Delta, dated 30 March 2011. The short Botswana trip (16 days) was a voyage that will remain stuck in my mind - the segment where one stores pleasant memories, for many years to come, bearing in mind that the last 7-odd years has been the most miserable, most distressing time of my life! The Botswana trip also gave me a fresher perspective on several matters concerning Africa and its peculiar blend of assorted ‘African characters’, who happen to inhabit the southern region of this so-called dark continent.
Please take note that when I use the term ‘African characters’ I’m referring to people of ALL races, customs, and traditions, – the whole diverse colourful lot living in Africa - (including the sheeple!)
By mid-April, barely two weeks after my return from the natural and tranquil habitat of Botswana, the city life and arrogant attitude of the majority living in the wretched province of Gauteng, almost forced me to retreat the 1500 kilometers back north into the African bush. Fate, however, had other plans in mind for me, so before I could say “Zuma” I found myself on a spontaneous 1500 kilometer drive to Langebaan on the western shores of the Cape – as previously reported in this posting, dated 26 April 2011.
I eventually departed from Langebaan to Cape Town on 10 May 2011, from where I travelled the scenic route through Worcester, Robertson, Swellendam, Riversdale, and Mossel Bay, where I intended to briefly say “hello and goodbye” to an old work-colleague, dear friend, and guru, living in Hartenbos. I had serious intentions of travelling back home to Pretoria long before 18 May 2011 (election day), in time to cast my vote in the ward I was registered in, but then I received some sad news…
I learned that my dear old friend and tutor was busy dying. A cancerous growth had infected his lungs and penetrated his spine. The likelihood of ever seeing him alive again was extremely slim, particularly in the light of my plans to relocate to the UK in July this year.
To end a long story… I decided to extend my stay in Hartenbos, mainly due to my good friend’s persistent arm twisting techniques, a practice he has always been able to master with skillful ingenuity. This was the sole reason why I was unable to cast my vote in my hometown. By then it was also way too late to arrange a special vote!
Obviously, my old friend and I did not sit around sipping red wine and doing nothing all day. We utilized every precious moment to catch-up on stories and fond memories of the good ol’ days. Despite his serious illness, we managed to visit many sightseeing spots and museums in the immediate vicinity of Mossel Bay - places I’ve never seen before! We also took slow relaxing drives on the scenic back routes through picturesque towns such as: Groot Brakriver, Wilderness, Sedgefield, George, and Knysna. These outings not only reminded me of how exquisitely beautiful the Western Cape is, but also why it is so important to keep the ANC trash out of that region.
My old tutor, a qualified forensic crime expert, self-taught Boer War specialist, Tour Guide, collector of rare Boer War publications, etc… and also a devout Christian, inadvertently jogged my memory back to the many life-lessons he had previously taught me in my younger days - essential lessons I had carelessly forgotten as time went by.
I also learned, among other things, what it really means when someone announces at a funeral: “He has lost the fight against cancer.” (Hy het die stryd teen kanker verloor). The keyword here is fight (die stryd), for it is indeed a distressing and endless painful battle from morning till night. There are many other lessons to be learned from these words, for if you have not experienced certain aspects of life first-hand, especially the fight part, then you will never truly understand or appreciate other things you may encounter on life’s journey.
My most recent personal experiences, observations, and also interactions with Africans from diverse and unequal cultures, ages, languages and backgrounds, has given me a slightly new (let’s call it fresher) perspective on several issues that affect our lifestyles. I’ve also had much time to ponder about these issues. Future postings will undoubtedly reflect, in drips and drabs – depending on the time I have available, some of my new found thoughts, so stay tuned!
One last small matter…If one more person tells me that my non-vote was a vote for the ANC, I’m going to start chopping heads off!!!