In Africa we share
In Africa we share, we share the beauty of the landscape, we share the difference in culture, and we share the joy of each experience. Africa has a heart that pulses and beats to a different rhythm and if you are not listening you will miss the sound which is meant to resonate in your soul. Africa becomes you and you become Africa, whether you want to or not. You will never leave South Africa or any part of Africa with your whole being untouched, you will miss the sunsets, the silence of the Karoo, the smell of fish on the West Coast and you will be left naked in your vulnerability to withstand the beauty of our land and its people.
Personal experience has taught me that you need to use each moment as if it is your last. Savour it and like chocolate and let it melt in your mouth and experience the joy of life, as it is fleeting and precious and can end in the blink of an eye. I was made intensely aware of the fact when I was fortunate to experience an incident between a Rock Kestrel and a snake. The Rock Kestrel was hovering a few feet above the ground while a snake was reared on its tail ready to strike the Kestrel in self defence. The Rock Kestrel usually strikes poisonous snakes on the head with one fatal blow which kills the snake instantly. There have been cases where this bird has been killed by a snake while hunting. Some birds have also been blinded by Cobra venom. However, this Kestrel was determined and you could see the intense concentration of the bird while hovering above the snake, and I do not doubt for a minute that the snake came second this time round. It was an incident that took my breath away. It happened in an instant and then it was gone, but it brought my attention to the game of life played daily, the one of survival. Survival is not about money but about your soul and the impact your surrounding have on you as a person. This game is played by all on this earth, each and every creature, none being exempt. I will never forget the vividness of the moment, and have intense gratitude in my heart that I was allowed to experience one of the many dramatic moments of nature that I am sure happens every second of each day. My only regret was that I could not film the event, but it will forever be captured in my mind and soul, to hopefully when I get the time, be portrayed on canvas.
The beauty however is experienced daily by travellers should you be aware of your surroundings and in tune with nature. One only needs to be open to the sound of the tyres on the gravel road, while it speaks to you about the beauty of the earth and your surroundings. It teaches you about respect for mountains, ravines, plants and animals, while drawing your attention to the history locked in the earth, in each blade of grass and each dinosaur footprint. One can only stand in awe at that which Africa has to offer.
My recent travels took be through Douglas, the birthplace of one of our most famous poets namely Ingrid Jonker, who was born just outside of Douglas on the farm called Torquay in 1933. Sadly few people in Douglas are aware of the fact, and thought I was talking about the next coming of the Messiah when I mentioned the fact. Another famous author who hailed from Douglas was John Southy, who wrote the book Oewerpraaitjies. He spoke of himself as the English South African who was sent to Douglas to be taught Afrikaans from the Afrikaner.
I mention the authors as I was fortunate experience some of the talented works of South Africa’s most acclaimed authors during the Richmond book fare. The little town of Richmond was first named Driefontein and later renamed after the Duke of Richmond and boasts the smallest little bookshop built into the frame of a Windmill.
There I experience the duty of an Artist, the duty being to remind mankind of its humanity, and the promise of its creativity. Writing becomes a place of strange enchantment, a temple of dreams transferred to the reader, who in turn shares the journey of strange and faraway places with mere strangers and so doing ignite a passion to explore and experience. Writing should never be a soapbox for the petty beliefs and ideologies of the day, but become part of one’s heritage, and I believe South Africa is rich in Authors of this calibre. These authors share a passion for the written word, like mere mortals for oxygen.
We need to appreciate our country, nature and our people of Africa who all contribute through their various talents to the uniqueness of our country. Allow yourself to be transported to a place in your heart where simple things bring joy, and dreams are allowed to become a reality ahead of its time.