Exotic me

30 years since the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Three weeks ago I was looking for a present for dad, and as a late thought I considered Gert Dietrich’s Cultural History of East Germany (Kulturgeschichte der DDR) a good idea, albeit an expensive one, perhaps a joint present for us all. So I went to Göttingen’s best academic bookshop, which happens to be located down the road from the publishing house where the book was made. I couldn’t find it on their shelves and asked for it. Their response: it’s “too exotic” for them to have it on stock. East German matters are “too exotic” some 60km from the old border, I get it. You wonder why I feel at home in Africa, kkkkkkkk! Have a happy anniversary next year, you re-united Germany!

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Chimz in Germanland

Yay! We made it happen. At the end of October, Chimz arrived in Germany. We had two months ahead of us, with German classes to attend, music festivals to enjoy, with some trips to Hamburg, Berlin, Munich and the Alps. With Christmas markest and family get-togethers in Magdeburg and Munich.

t-shirts made by our friend Vuyi in Jo’burg
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New galleries

I have not been very happy with the galleries on WordPress. The combination of text and image, which I love, puts high-quality images at a disadvantage. I grant that I may haven’t found the right styles yet. Anyways, since I put a lot of work into editing my photos properly now that I’m back home and have all my equipment again, I decided to create galleries on 500px. I’m quite happy with the display, though not the functionality of their content management (notably the random order in which the images are uploaded). So if you want to see high quality images, go to my profile there.

Note: the Omo-Valley gallery contains semi-nudes that will only display for registered users who allow NSFW-content to be displayed.

Out of Africa, back to Germany

Addis Ababa airport. As for a farewell, Africa has given me a treat of what the negative stereotypes about her hold in store: cancelled flights, bad service delivery, lack of water, and now quite some chaos at the airport. I feel obliged to add: obstacles like this amassed, that’s new to me here. My Africa year up to here, the last few days, has been mostly smooth, so much so that I can wholeheartedly dismiss the negative stereotypes as prejudices. That, however, doesn’t mean negatives don’t occur. They are just not as “typical” as the prejudices would have them. So here I go, through a row of obstacles on my way out.

the music corner in my flat

back with Ibs and my drumming group

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Africa in family

Almost perfectly in synch, my parents and I thought they should come here on a visit, and although it came at rather short notice, we went ahead with the plan. Roughly four weeks later they were here, for ten days over Easter. Their first time in Africa. Their first meeting with Chimwemwe. I had planned to show them around and take them on a trip to Zambia to see the Victoria Falls and stay in a bush camp, to see wildlife on a game drive in Chobe National Park in Botswana, and to see Jo’burg and Soweto. And so we did! And they loved every bit of it! I let pictures speak 😉

at Moyo at Zoo Lake, Johannesburg

a new Livingstone?

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Teaching at UJ and Wits

… and some research, mostly done in my “home office“. But teaching is what I came here for, on my INSPIRE scholarship.

Ngiyakwemukela, here’s UJ!

The central building at Auckland Park campus is a concrete monster, forming a half circle of sorts. Its various sections are referred to as “ring”, so the ten-odd offices that are the Department of English are on level 7 in the B ring, until last year sandwiched between African languages and German/Greek/Latin, the latter now extinct. The concrete mass is matched by bureaucratic hurdles that pile up between you and whatever you want to get done. When a prospective student has mastered his or her “matric” (the South-African equivalent to a-levels), they may realize that this is the real exam, with specializations in patience and stamina. Of course, I am exaggerating here. Once you are registered you get an access card, and with this in your hand you join the queue at the gates to register your finger print and walk in. “Walk-ins” by unregistered students are the horror for admin here – after all, you have to pay to be allowed in, and the fees are rather high. Which is why many believe that #FeesMustFall (see protests at Wits Uni here).

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My Jo’burg home, Auckland Park area, and UJ

After a month and half in Auckland Park Lodge, a nice place with lovely staff, beautiful garden (see here) – ah, I miss you! – I am now in a nearby lodge. I call a bungalow my home, with 2 rooms, and most spectacularly: overlooking a pool. Considering there is nobody else staying here currently, I can call it “my pool”, and hence I’m taking care of it, what with cleaning and such. The place looks like an old English country house, though I can only guess its style. It comes with a beautiful garden as well, in the midst of which there is a lovely old fountain. A major attraction for birds, and there’s lots of them around here, notably the noisy hadeda ibises.

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