I was with Chimz in Malawi when Cyclone Idai hit the East African coast near Beira in Mozambique. Malawi and Mozambique had had losses of life before due to flooding and falling trees, but the full blow of Idai was something else. Some suggest it will turn out to be the worst natural desaster to have hit the southern hemisphere in known history. Idai left hundreds dead in southern Malawi, eastern Zimbabwe and, foremost of all, in central Mozambique. Beira, a big city, is largely destroyed, and an inland ocean has been formed, in which to this day survivors are struggling with the water, with moskitos, snakes and wild animals and the lack of the bare necessities of life.Continue reading
Back in Jo’burg, a town that is so rich in music, and a town that seems to have decided to accomodate me as best as she can, especially with music events. This time it was only a few hours after my touch down that Constitution Hill opened its gates for the music festival that accompanies the Human Rights Day activities here. I admire the fact that 21 March is celebrated here, a day that hardly anyone I know in Europe is even aware of, or would care about.Continue reading
Imagine a huge, beautiful garden, with lakes, amidst low rolling hills and some higher and rockier mountains lining the horizon – welcome to the Cradle of Humankind! Many of the earliest superlative superlative human fossils have been found here, and what a better place than this to create Nirox Sculpture Park along with a residence for artists. Well, you’d have to open it for concerts and mini-festivals, and they did for the Root Music Concert this past Sunday …
It must have been in 2007 when I first heard of the Fête de la musique, in my then hometown Greifswald. Since it traditionally takes place on 21 June, this is the longest day in the northern hemisphere – quite noticeably so down north in Greifswald. Now in Johannesburg things are different. For one, the FdlM was on 9 June, and of course here days are a bit shorter now, and especially the nights are chillingly cold. After all, we’re 1.700 m above sea level. Thus it makes a lot of sense to have the FdlM during the day, ending rather early at around 9 pm or so (we didn’t stay that long). Newtown Junction, the venue is quite a good choice with a layout that allows for 6 stages and is in a safe area of town. Although the line-up may have lacked big big names, there were some really interesting acts among the performances. My choice of pics gives you an idea.
Views of Jo’burg life – two very different perspectives. One textual, for reasons that will become apparent, one pictorial, for reasons I hope will be apparent, too.
A five-minute walk from my home, and you enter Melville. It’s a beautiful suburb, many streets are lined with trees, there’s artsy decoration in the streets even, you find small charity shops as well as up-market boutiques, galleries, restaurants and clubs. Especially around 7th street and 27 Boxes, nightlife is hot as it is a major attraction for students from the numerous nearby residences and for Jo’burg’s gay community.
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 😉
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.
On my way from Livingstone to Germanland, I quickly stopped over in Jo’burg, and thanks to Vuyi (enkosi!), I could not only drop a lot of my stuff here, but also enjoyed my first night out in the big city. I was impressed by the skyline at night – where can you see anything like this in Africa? (only partly a rhetorical question) We enjoyed jazz pianist Yonela Mnana in a bar that was called, well, Kama Sutra, seedy names for some of their dishes included. But don’t get funny ideas, it’s a really nice bar. It was on this night that I realized I would be living in a major metropolis for the next six months (greater Jo’burg has 9 million people). The thought scared me somewhat, which did not exactly alleviate any worries about this town’s notoriety for crime and violence. And on the way back we saw police with firearms walking into a compound. Most likely a burglary. Welcome Johannesburg!