Good Morning All,
On The Road and In Your Backyard is a weekday feature spotlighting reader submissions. From the exotic to the familiar, please share your part of the world, whether you’re traveling or just in your locality. Share some photos and a narrative, let us see through your pictures and words. We’re so lucky each and every day to see and appreciate the world around us!
Submissions from commenters are welcome at tools.balloon-juice.com
As promised, a bigger drop of Le Comte’s marvelous Africa pictures. Also today marks history – Nancy Smash, part 2. I fear much about this year but have a lot of faith in her and how she marshals the nuances in the House, Senate, and Presidency to get things done. Let’s hope she can guide us away from ruin.
This memorable Thursday, we pick up this story where we left off on Tuesday, the Kalahari. True fact – I was born in South Africa because my parents lived in Kinshasa and the best medical care around was in Johannesburg. I’ve been there once since, during the height of Apartheid, and it was sobering. I hope to go back and see the land of my birth, hear the sounds my parents played for me as the regaled me with stories of my infancy. and see progress. It’s a different world there, and so much more complicated and brimming -bursting, really – with potential and desire.
We’ll continue with Le Comte’s odyssey next Tuesday. We’ve got something wonderful lined up for Friday, so have a wonderful day and enjoy the pictures!
Today, pictures from valued commenter Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes.
Further images from the Moonscape…
We rode after a short breakfast, so we could have a long breakfast at Camp Kalahari
Meet George. He lives at Camp Kalahari and drinks from the swimming pool there.
He’s an exceptionally well-mannered elephant.
This was the only jackal we saw – he was very focused on going somewhere.
After so many adventures in the wild, we got to explore cosmopolitan, urbane Cape Town.
Located at the southern tip of the continent, Cape Town is close to the mixing point between the cold South Atlantic and warmer Indian Ocean. The climate is essentially Mediterranean, and because it is a port city, it always drew people of many nationalities.
Because of the rugged topography, it is fairly sprawling, with a population roughly equivalent to Pittsburgh. Apartheid’s legacy is still visually apparent in the shanty towns, which dot the cityscape like chicken pox.
I’ll discuss apartheid in some specific photos. All were taken 10/23 to 10/25, 2018
This was our view from our room on waking up.
District Six Museum, Cape Town
We went to the District Six museum, which brought home what apartheid did to people of color in South Africa. It is worth reading some detailed history to underatand the sort of regime that American evangelicals and the conservative movement were deeply into supporting in the early 1980s.
South Africa always had large pockets of extreme white supremacy among the population of Afrikaaners, but that wasn’t uniform. In some places (particularly Cape Town, with its major seaport culture), the races worked and cooperated and and did business and married and worshipped together.
The election of 1948 changed all that. The National Party came into power on a platform of racial separatism and white supremacy, all in a country where the voting white minority was quite small.
If a person were black or of mixed race, there were no voting rights, rigid public separation, a harshly retributive justice system, vastly unequal allocation of public resources, bars to all lucrative or professional employment, bars to public service employment, bars to some types of ownership, bars to mixed marriages, bars to everything that makes life worthwhile.
Cape Town presented a special problem, and enraged the thugs that ran the government. It was a resistant sort of place, what with its mishmash of people and cultures – whites, blacks, Arabs, Indians, Jews, gentiles all working together, playing together and getting along. At the heart of all that was District Six, a neighborhood of businesses and churches and houses where people got along, right in the middle of the city. F.W. DeKlerk took care of it in the mid 60s by order – the inhabitants were cleared out and the neighborhood razed, not for any actual purpose, but simply because it was there. Over 60,000 people lost their homes, most of their possessions, their livelihoods and their sense of community – the black residents were forcibly placed in a less pleasant area far outside the city. Our museum guide was an older gentleman who lived there, and described that of all the things lost, the end of those connections of community were the worst.
To object to or resist the actions of the government would bring accusations of communism on anyone so reckless as to do so in a way that grabbed the attention of the authorities. There was an extensive network of secret police and informants, ready to pounce and impose harsh sanction.
This was what our government and evangelical churches were supporting. In such an environment, why wouldn’t the oppressed fight back in every way possible, including turning to radical politics and allies?
This system left indelible marks on all who lived in it. Our tour director was a pleasant young Afrikaaner man in his mid 30s who was born and raised in a town a couple of hours’ drive north of Cape Town. He was knowledgeable and kind, but I determined has some internal struggles with his own attitudes on race. He shared a story with me alone, about how a black man had urinated at the side of his grandfather’s store. His grandfather commanded him, at age 5, to slap the black man for urinating. He refused. Incensed, the boy’s grandfather beat him severely for not slapping the black man.
This was apartheid – cruelty all the way down.
District Six Museum
Some of the signage of the times
District Six Museum
Even the cab stands…
Such a beautiful church and memorial…
Cape Town continued
Table Mountain from the V&A Waterfront
Cape of Good Hope
The views were great in the park leading to the southernmost point.
This is the tip of Africa.
The new lighthouse…
District Six Museum
When DeKlerk issued his order, they also eliminated the streets. A pylon was made memorializing that, with salvaged street signs added.
The museum is a very human place, and gathers items, signs, photos and recollections of life in the neighborhood.
Thank you so much Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes, do send us more when you can.
Travel safely everybody, and do share some stories in the comments, even if you’re joining the conversation late. Many folks confide that they go back and read old threads, one reason these are available on the Quick Links menu.