‘In Darkness, Be Light’ has been the intention of this ‘We are the World Blogfest’ since its inception. In Darkness, Be Light.
We are entering the 4th year of this particular blogging platform. Small beginnings from 3 or 4 years ago. A handful of people, energetic, from different parts of the world, keen to shine some light on the world, by showing individual acts or collective acts that make a profound difference to another and/or to the/a community. Each month, on the last Friday of the month, a #WATWB blog is put up, of some act, by an individual or a collective, some initiative, that has hugely benefitted the receiver/s. Some person had an idea and wanted to do good in the world. These posts always make my blood vessels expand a little, I feel my my heart widen, and it always fills me with an abiding sense of the inherent goodness of men and women and children.
This is my offering this time, the song ‘We are the World’ Kenny Rogers – RIP – is in it. Willie, Tina, Michael, The Boss, Billy, Cyndy, Dionne, Stevie, Ray, Diana – many others. It’s about 6 mins long. And joyous. And a reminder of how we can make the world a better place for you and for me.
The co-hosts this time round are below and our thanks to them.
Do pop by them and check out their posts. You will be amazed and heartened at SO much good that is done in the world.
We really are going into the unknown at this time. We feel the ground beneath our feet is shaky. We are concerned for ourselves and loved ones, and concerned for all others too in the midst of this corona virus covid-19. (Corona is Latin for Crown – is the crown and all that is ‘at the top’ and overbearing, dissolving somewhat?) Whatever is happening, may we find meaning – and hope – that a new world may emerge that is for the better for us individually and collectively.
Thank you for reading. Take care, be safe, wash your hands. May you find togetherness in aloneness. May the Force and Grace be with you –
I half knew that the equinox was this last Thursday 19th March, but it passed me by and I didn’t put up a post as I always have at equinoxes and solstices. They’re timely points of the seasons and so symbolic of a going towards and a going back – light and dark – each fecund – Did we reach a still point of balance at the equinox I wonder?
We’re moving into high gear here in South Africa. Our covid-19 numbers of confirmed cases are doubling every few days. Today they stand at 276. No deaths reported as yet. Of concern is the majority who live in crowded conditions and many do not have access to fresh running water; and those who use taxis, buses and trains for transport. And those who refuse to see the reality of it …
Our Health Minister gives us updates and re-inforces the message of self-isolating as much as possible. Our president is finally being presidential. Groups may be only maximum 100 though there is talk of lowering to this to 50. Probably less. International travel is disallowed and internal travel discouraged. Schools, libraries, restaurants, gyms are closed (or most of them). Churches, synagogues and mosques are closing. People are being innovative at this time. The elderly and pensioners are given their own hour to shop at stores. Bulk buying is not allowed and putting up prices is not OK. Bulking up on bog roll is the butt of many jokes here..
Soap and water is the best for hygiene. It is not necessary to keep the water running while hand washing. Like brushing your teeth – turn tap off while brushing, turn tap on when rinsing. Water conservation. In fact I think today is ‘Water Conservation Day’ –
In our isolation we have the opportunity be more together in co-operation. You’ve all no doubt read of the lovely things that are occurring, blue skies in China, clean rivers in Italy, Italians singing from their rooftops, various organisations making live viewing or streaming available free of charge. It was Fake news about dolphins and flamingos suddenly appearing – National Geographic has put paid to that rumour. But there are wonderful stories of people helping each out, beautiful poetry posted on eg FB that speaks to the soul. Meditation is also available on various media. As are opera, art houses and much more –
I am aware that I could be more slothful as the days go by and I need to guard against that. I can see myself on the sofa watching endless series or movies, avidly watching the news, reading till my eyes get tired, not moving very much and so on. As advised, one can still get up from slouching and do a few stretches. I have listed some tasks, like finally planting the various waterwise cactus that I have dotted around the garden into one place in among some white stones. I plan turning a room downstairs into an art room, get my easel and a table set up for all the art paraphernalia. I’m pretty much self isolating, staying at home. Shopping done, things in the freezer.
I tidied my study the other day, re-arranged books etc. I have so many lovely books, a veritable treasure house. I foresee re-reading some of them. Maybe show my husband Jung’s The Red Book. If only for the amazing art work.
Some paintings to be put up – still more to be re-arranged until they are just as I want them to be!
I’ve resurrected Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell ‘The Power of Myth’ CD’s to watch and listen to. Rich material. A long time back since I last viewed it –
Parabola (based in New York) very generously offered a free PDF of their 2012 quarterly journal entitled ‘Alone & Together’ which I downloaded after DM’ing them and have yet to read. I know it will speak to my soul – hopefully yours too – It’s a wonderful organisation to follow on FB. They often publish excerpted essays from their various editions.
I’ll tidy up my computer and delete a lot that’s been sitting there forever. I’ll need to gird my loins for that ..
I can walk on the beach so that’s a blessing. The weather is mild. The last two times I walked with son Mike (actually not on the beach but the lovely surrounds of his home) he kept a distance from me, of 2 meters.
My husband & I walked down to the lagoon this morning, a glorious day. I put up the photo of the small boat on a Plett what’s app page, thinking that the owner may like to ‘know’ or identify it. One or two of the comments were amusing; one said the boat was self-isolating, another that no oxygen required –
It was lovely to watch the antics of two dogs trying to get onto a paddle ski; this one was successful. I asked permission to take the photo –
May you all keep safe – these troubling times present an opportunity to go both inwards and outwards and to find new and creative ways to stay connected while isolated. We’re way out of our comfort zones … it’s a challenge for sure. May we meet it …
To end, my younger son David the musician, The Kiffness, has produced a spoof on Sweet Caroline/Carona and is in my view very funny and the funniest part of it is left to the last. Do watch, I’m sure you’ll laugh!
May the Force be with you and thank you for reading.
The threads, holding it all together is strange – a thread as fine as a spider’s web and fiercely strong. The silk from the spider’s web is used in the manufacture of pilots’ parachutes. Delicate and strong. Two apparently opposite words in meaning.
It seems as if we, collectively and individually, hang suspended, in mid-air, wondering when the thread is going to break – and hoping that that very strong parachute will stay aloft and not come crashing down when tested to the limits and finally giving way and breaking. Slowly at first, each break weakening the next thread … and then the next and so on – on a trajectory towards the tipping and then the breaking point. The limit is reached, the centre cannot hold ..
the stuff of writers and poets, artists and those who see perhaps with a different eye, and the stuff of those of us who wish to see further trying to discern what’s going on.
We know what a virus means, we have viruses entering our computers and the hard drive being wiped out. We have cold and flu viruses. HIV, hepatitis B and so on. An antibiotic does not help as this is a virus and not a bacteria. But viruses can be treated medically and the patient is advised to be patient. Rest is often prescribed and to stay at home so as not to spread it.
The word is late Middle English (denoting the venom of a snake): from Latin, literally ‘slimy liquid, poison’. The earlier medical sense, superseded by the current use as a result of improved scientific understanding, was ‘a substance produced in the body as the result of disease, especially one capable of infecting others’.
Corona: mid 16th century (in corona1 (sense 5): from Latin, ‘wreath, crown’.
So, the corona/crown virus that is capable of wiping out peoples’ hard drives.
Is it the crown that is wiped out? Does this have some sort of symbolic meaning? I suspect it does – the head being chopped off. History comes to mind as does the practice in this current day in different fundamentalist parts of the world.
Well, I’m not going to wax lyrical ad nauseam as to the symbology of it all. Although I can’t help wondering if ‘coronary’ has its etymology in ‘corona’ . Even as I write, I want to say the symbol is always in state of change or meaning, but this symbol of the chopping the head off, does seem rather fixed – I mean, once the head is off its off right? No more breathing, no more pulse, no more nothing. Just bleeding until the body is all bled out ….
Who knows if this speaks to the dismantling of patriarchy thread by thread; the dismantling of much hitherto known and familiar; the dismantling of that which no longer serves us; the dismantling of illusion; the dismantling of excessive reason and logic which, when extreme, is quite fixed, as if in stone. I can’t help but wonder …
But, can spirit or soul emerge from the stone? Especially when forced to? Even if a hammer has to be used to crack it open?
There is no huge panic as yet in South Africa – a mild form of it is evident, which is in itself a form of virus in that it spreads, along with fear. Panic and Fear, two well known – and used – psychological weapons of war. I know that our National Defence Force has flown to Wuhan to fetch the 122 South Africans who’ve been working there and their location on return is known and will be in lockdown.
Many thoughts come to mind: a concern for those who are frail and elderly, those who have compromised immune systems or underlying health concerns, the rural areas where fresh water is not always available or polluted, the poor and malnourished, the readiness of our health institutions to meet it should it become a crisis.
So much is falling apart, and of all this we are a part. I definitely live in a bubble here in Plettenberg Bay. One more prick and the bubble will burst. Hundreds of pricks have been happening here in this beleaguered country – rioting, burning of academic institutions, burning tyres on national roads, our stock exchange crashing, murders and assassinations galore, appalling road deaths most times due to overloading of taxis and buses and aggro drivers who do not know what a speed limit means, ongoing commissions of enquiry into corrupt politicians, and wondering whether the ratings agency is going to downgrade us even further …
And yet – what is the limit? And if that limit is reached and the threads break irrevocably, then what? What is our limit? Can a limit be limiting? Can we look at all that is happening in some other way and endure our discomfort in the process? Can we rethink our attitude to all that is happening and see our own role in the larger world view? Could the breaking down of the world as we know it be some sort of break through, where we use our hearts instead of our heads?
Can all that is being put on hold such as concerts, gatherings, sports events, travel and much else besides, be an opportunity to pause, be still and find the meaning in all of this – because that is what we have to do, find meaning, even if it means asking difficult questions. What does it feel like to have my freedoms taken away at least temporarily, in service to the greater good? Can I isolate myself to some extent so as not to be an agent of spreading the virus? Can I turn inwards, towards the heart, and listen to its messages –
This little spider appeared on my computer today. It crawls up onto the screen and then falls back into the crack between screen and keyboard, disappears for a moment, re-appears, is still, then starts its journey again, upwards.
There’s something about this little spider that speaks to me even if I am a bit scared of them. And the snake as mentioned above is something I hope to not come across in my house. But I do know that what can kill can also cure. And I’m hoping that this virus and all that it means in our lives, brings about transcendence in one way or the other and that we see our way through it. And that Grace and Unity helps us along. We’re aware of medical teams and staff working under extreme pressure and our gratitude goes to them too.
It’s hard to believe that it’s the last Friday of this month 2020! January is whizzing by at the rate of knots, like much else that is happening in the world.
I wonder every day what this day will bring. Uppermost in mind is the safety of us all in this troubled world.
#WATWB is now in its 4th year, initially begun by Damyanti Biswas and Belinda McGrath as a way of tempering darkness and shining some light onto it to make the darkness leas fearful. To this end, bloggers from around the world post something that has inspired them, some action whose ripples are felt, which show and remind us of humanity at its best and which inspire us to do whatever we can, some random act of kindness or a planned community initiative. The stories are always amazing and uplifting so do pop round and see them, and drop a line – we’d love to see you there –
Here in South Africa we have millions of ordinary folk doing extraordinary things for others. As well as The Gift of the Givers, an extraordinary organisation here in South Africa that delivers whatever what is needed throughout the world. It is hard to select just one story. But since there are parts of our country that are facing severe drought with the lives of farmers and animals in dire straits, I’ve chosen this one. There’s been some lovely rainfall in recent days, but not enough.
The link below shows how women, men joining in too, started small, baking cookies to sell to bring in much needed relief funds for those in the drought stricken Karoo. Small became big! I love these kind of initiatives and the biscuits look delicious!
Our co hosts this month are below, and our thanks to them –
My apologies for Tuesday and pushing publish instead of preview. This post is entirely refashioned and much of what was mistakenly published no longer appears, though I’m still focusing my attention on revolution – and chaos.
Last week my sons, husband and myself were having a quiet lunch on the balcony overlooking the sea. Mike asked me, do you have any new year resolutions ma? A dreaded question in its way. So I thought for a minute. I said no, not resolutions, maybe revolutions. (photo below is my husband who, while smiling, was actually a bit anxious about my stating revolutions, not resolutions).
Increasingly, ‘revolution’ has come up these last several days on social media and I’m pleased that the word revolution is coming more into conscious awareness. A revolution in our way of thinking and feeling, a way of looking beyond all the chaos that is happening in our world.
But what is chaos? Can we imagine it? Or re-imagine it? Can we trust chaos? Do we have to throw our hands up in despair? Can we suffer it thereby allowing it? Can we bear and endure it? Is chaos the other side of order, neither exclusive to each other?
I wish I’d noted the source at the time, but I didn’t. But the notion stuck firmly in my mind, i.e. that for there to be good or ‘worthwhile’ suffering, there has to be an allowing of suffering. Allow the suffering. Allow it. Which means I guess acceptance of it. It does no good surely, to turn aside from the real suffering of the world, the planet, its inhabitants, human and otherwise, plant and otherwise, above ground, below ground, ourselves. But suffering in the sense that I mean it is a way of acknowledging it, re-cognising it, and the suffering of it means that we allow our suffering to be real, deep, true, tragic – we feel it at the core of our being –
Is chaos a necessity of order, and if so, can we then understand that there is the possibility of movement away from utter chaos? But surely it does not mean a great rush towards order which in itself can be suffocating? Chaos stirs things up adding flavour and vitality to order – who does not know the aftermath of peace and quiet of a violent storm or fire and feels blessed indeed when Mother Nature calms down; or the vitality on awakening after a deep and restful sleep; or even the vitality of a hectic dream, disturbing our sleep to be sure, yet knowing that the dream holds vital clues.
I feel at the core of my being that the feminine energies are rising to take their place in the world. I suspect the clash of erstwhile masculine and patriarchal energies with all that is good about rising feminine energies also invites chaos to the process. That what has been rejected is no longer allowed invisibility. The wheel is turning, and what has been formerly seen as obstacles in restoring the feminine and all her energies, dark and light, can also be seen as the path. The feminine energies call for our honouring of Mother Earth not for the mastery of her. The feminine energies of nurturance and care, protection of all that is sacred and mundane are present in men as well. There are so many obstacles on the way to the meeting of the feminine and masculine – but the obstacles are the path. Both the outward and inner world are frightening, awful, destructive, painful, confusing, overly uncertain. So for me, a revolution in my thinking and feeling is required if I am to allow what is. Can I use my experience of chaos in a revolutionary way, just sit with it and not run away from it? Can I suffer it, allow it, trust that chaos gives rise to order? Can I re-imagine chaos and re-cognise it? That’s my resolve, or my resolution .. I wonder if it will be a revelation –
We went walking down at the lagoon the other evening. It was indescribably beautiful.
There’s a full moon today and an eclipse I believe. I’ll be looking out for it and will honour her phases and all she represents – her fullness and emptiness and even when not visible, she is there as a guiding light.
Thank you for reading. May the Force be with you all.
Computer-generated image of the sun’s “lines of chaos,” emitted during the eleven-year solar magnetic cycle.
Where did the year go? In a few days time it will be the solstice – longest day shortest night in the southern hemisphere, and shortest day longest night in the northern hemisphere.
on the same day as Hanukkah – the festival of lights –
and a few days after that, it’s Christmas, the miracle birth of Jesus –
and then it’s the new year –
I’ve deliberately chosen images that have no messages on them but they all show ‘light’ in one form or another.
But I do have some quotes relating to this time of year with the word ‘light’:
‘Both the Winter and the Summer Solstices are expressions of love. They show us the opposition of light and dark, expansion and contraction, that characterise our experiences in the Earth school so that we can recognise our options as we move through our lives’. Gary Zukav
“A candle is a small thing. But one candle can light another. And see how its own light increases, as a candle gives its flame to the other. You are such a light.” — Moshe Davis
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm119:105
People are like stained glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
All my good wishes are with you all as we approach the end of 2019 and enter into 2020. May 2020 bring you plenty plenty – good health, peace, joy, respite, renewal, creativity. As we navigate from 2019 which has been pretty tumultuous on all fronts, all around the world, may we find our centre from which everything stems.
Thank you for reading and may the Force be with you.
How on earth is it the last Friday of the month again? It comes by so quickly, but it is the date on which bloggers from around the world post an item of good news that shows humanity whether individually or communally at its best, as a way of countering the negativity that we’re continuously exposed to.
Thank you to our hosts this month – do pop by and say hello and be enchanted.
I love highlighting stories from my part of the world. Here, there’s a very strong movement called #imstaying and I believe it’s now reached over a million stories from individuals in South Africa (and those abroad who write of their longing for our wide open skies, the friendliness and exuberance of the people – well, I could go on -)
Below, are thumbnail sketches of 4 stories with links if you want to check them out further
By Justin Foxton (SA the Good News)
Whether you like the #imstaying campaign or not, it is doing a significant job of giving a section of the population a much-needed shot in the arm. Given the vast numbers of people lending their voice to the movement (850 000 and counting), there is a huge opportunity for a phase 2 called something like#impartofthesolution.
To inspire us and hopefully get things started, here are 4 short stories from my own life of people who have been part of the solution. There is an entrepreneur, an Organisational Development specialist, a mother and a group of passionate S’affers now living abroad. All 4 have one thing in common; they have used what was in their hearts and hands to be part of the solution.
Nearly 20 years ago, an import/export entrepreneur noticed 4 girl children standing at the robots near her Johannesburg apartment. She asked a man who these children were and was horrified when he told her they were prostitutes. She invited them into her apartment for tea and after being told that they were forced to deal drugs and sell their bodies on behalf of pimps and drug lords, she stormed off to find said men and gave them a dressing down they will never forget. Those 4 girls were rescued and nearly 2 decades later Mam Khanyi has cared for over 10 000 girl children all of whom had been trafficked and sold for sex.
Nearly 10 years ago, an Organisational Development specialist was profoundly moved by the Dinokeng Scenarios (www.dinokengscenarios.co.za). Dr Louise van Rhyn responded to a scenario inviting us to work together to build the nation, by starting a program called Partners for Possibility. The program partners school Principals of marginalised schools, with ordinary citizens from the non-educational working world in a co-learning, facilitated 1-year leadership development program. Since then over 1000 schools and hundreds of thousands of children nationwide have been positively impacted by the power of this globally recognised program.
“Auntie Eunice” has cared for abandoned and orphaned babies all her life. Just this week, she got the keys to a house in uMlazi, South of Durban. From this home, she will now run her own Baby Home and will work together with the local community to care for babies, drive down infant abandonment and provide necessary support to vulnerable girls and women who are unable to care for their babies.
Lana & David Stephenson and Barry and Katherine Corden
These passionate South Africans now living abroad are leveraging their networks and social media skills to raise the funds necessary for Auntie Eunice to open and run the uMLazi Baby Home.
For each one of these 4 stories there are tens of thousands of others; stories of ordinary South Africans using their talents, passions and contacts to be part of the solution in South Africa.
A recipe for being part of the solution:
What are you best at? What do you love doing? What is easy and satisfying for you? Add these things to what gets your blood boiling and you have a perfect recipe. At some point these people – all ordinary South Africans like you and I – used this recipe and are now in their sweet-spot, making a difference and being part of the solution.
I invite you to give this recipe a bash so that you too can say #impartofthesolution.
This column is proudly sponsored by Partners for Possibility.
Thank you Justin Fox for this, thank you all for reading and have a great weekend!
It’s the last Friday of the month – how quickly it comes by – and time for a shot of inspiring stories around the globe. This time round I haven’t provided the link; the story is in full. The idea is to spread good will, to show an individual or community in action and how this makes a positive impact. It is a lovely way of humanity showing its positive side among all the doom and gloom that is pretty pervasive. The names and places may seem unpronounceable; these are local South African women from up north where it is dry and dusty and riddled with poverty.
A woman concerned about hungry children in her community, decided to make a difference.
After getting married in 1996, Esther Masekoameng (60) moved from Phalaborwa to Mathibaskraal in Limpopo, but she was shocked by the level of poverty in her new hometown.
“IT WASN’T LIKE PHALABORWA. PEOPLE ARE VERY POOR HERE AND THE CHILDREN AT THE SCHOOL WERE LEARNING UNDER THE TREES.”
Most of the pupils didn’t bring lunch to school and because the school was near to her house, Esther began to make soup for them and also started to sell vetkoek.
“THE CHILDREN WHO COULD AFFORD TO BUY LUNCH PAID 10 CENTS FOR A VETKOEK AND THE OTHERS, WHO WERE TOO POOR GOT FREE VEGETABLE SOUP.”
The unemployment and poverty in Mathibaskraal worsened over the years, and in 2006, Esther decided to approach the school principal to expand her garden to cater for more learners. “I knew that if I had a little help, I would be able to grow more vegetables and make more soup for those in need, so when the principal agreed, I asked some of the older ladies in the community to help and that’s how we started. We also give vegetables and seedlings to the crèche in our area.”
Esther used the funds from the sale of vetkoek (dough, fried in oil, sweetened) to buy a variety of seedlings for the We Can Women’s Cooperative, which was formally established in 2018. She also bought chilli seedlings and started to sell chillies to the grocery shop in town.
The Shoprite Group has been supporting community food gardens for a number of years. Its implementation partner, Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA), assess existing gardens to better understand their requirements and Shoprite then assists with the necessary tools, training, infrastructure and seedlings.
Shoprite is enabling the We Can Women’s Cooperative to grow its community food garden by providing proper water infrastructure.
Shoprite’s support also enabled Esther to erect a fence around the garden and for the team of nine women to receive extensive gardening training.
“WHEN WE DON’T HAVE ACCESS TO WATER, OUR CROPS SUFFER. THIS YEAR, WE WEREN’T ABLE TO SELL CHILIES FOR TWO MONTHS BECAUSE WE DIDN’T HAVE WATER. WE ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO HAVING A PROPER WATER SUPPLY AND WE’RE ALSO EXCITED TO LEARN NEW GARDENING SKILLS LIKE COMPANION PLANTING AND COMPOSTING TO MAKE OUR GARDEN MORE SUCCESSFUL.”
Our thanks to our co-hosts this month. Do pop by them, their posts are sure to be wonderful. Please share on social media.
These last few months have been so busy – it’s hard to believe that we’re heading towards the end of October which means November is around the corner and, as we know, it’s then full steam ahead at a cracking pace for Christmas and New Year. I sometimes wonder if I’ll feel ‘settled’, maybe only February next year.
We vacated our townhouse in Johannesburg mid July so that new tenants could move in – and a few days after being in Plett, we kept to the booking we’d made at the De Hoop Nature Reserve. It was such a wonderful weekend –
We drove from Plettenberg Bay to Cape Town in early August so my husband could catch his flight from Cape Town to London and from there, after a few days of staying with friends, he flew to Edinburgh to join golfing friends. Thereafter he joined his sister from the US in Scotland and they handed over their great uncle’s medals to the Scottish Military Museum in Edinburgh.
On the drive to Cape Town, about 600 kms from Plett, we passed canola fields – there were fields upon fields of this gorgeous gold –
After getting my husband off, I hung around in Cape Town for a few days, staying with my sweet sister. I saw only two very special friends as well as my younger son and his lovely wife. This was the sky from my sister’s garden one evening. The photo IS the right way up – and that IS the moon in the centre –
I then hived off to Wellington (about an hour away from my sister’s home in Cape Town) where I stayed with my dear friend in her gorgeous home on a wine estate among the most magnificent mountains. We set off the next day, her husband doing the driving (so we could chat and I could look out the window and remember) for Stanford, a lovely little village some distance away and stayed overnight with her sister. We went up river the next day – and did some walking, saying hello to Sarah’s horses in a field that late afternoon.
A day or so later, after returning to Wellington, I set off for home in Plett driving on a route I was not very familiar with. The windiest of roads and the most magnificent scenery – I would have liked to stop, but I didn’t and took several photos while my car was in motion.This one doesn’t do it justice –
So, back home in Plett, on my own … valuable time. A friend flew down from Johannesburg and stayed here at my home, her husband a few days later for the weekend. It was lovely to show them Plett and surrounds … My husband returned at the end of August after an excellent time away, fit as a fiddle and full of stories.
September flew by … the equinox was a landmark, the days becoming longer. We ordered a bit of extra furniture, ordered new curtains & changed some things around. New built in bookcases were installed in my study. My left foot gave me grief for several weeks but it is now better.
But the shadows of September were long. Too many deaths of people I know. Sudden, tragic – too many aching hearts.
Earlier this month, we trekked again up to Johannesburg, this time staying for 2 nights at the Mountain Zebra Lodge in the Karoo en route. This is such a beautiful place -the photograph shows the evening light. There was very welcome rain the one night.
Then Johannesburg, staying in the most comfortable apartment given us by good friends. Oh, those spring colours –
We visited our tenants in the townhouse and it was a joy to see how beautifully Michelle had maintained our garden – an orchid I left behind, roses budding, everything lush and green glowing and those jacarandas over the garden wall were magnificent ..
A friend or two here and there, lunch and dinner, brunch and coffee, a bit of shopping looking for a slinky heeled sandal ..
Then off again, this time up to a game lodge in Madikwe, about 450 kms north of Jo’burg very close to the Botswana border. We’d been invited by our UK friends – we’ve been there before. The comforts, company and cuisine were excellent and the game viewing superb. We did early morning game drives, returning to the lodge for a slap up breakfast, and out again in the landrover at 4.30 returning around 7.00.
Back to Johannesburg again to our very comfortable apartment, then full steam ahead for ‘The Wedding’ last Sat 12th October. There was a dinner last Thursday pre-wedding; wonderful to see old friends. The wedding service and reception is one that we’ll never forget – the photo below is of flowers at the entrance of the church.
We left Johannesburg last Sunday morning – there was a wedding brunch on Sunday, but we’d long decided to forgo that as we needed to get back to Plett. We overnighted in Graaf Reinet, about 850 south of Jo’burg. We went out for dinner in the town that evening. The photo immediately below is of the full moon rising over an historic building and the next one is of the main church, also very historic. I wish we’d had time to visit the Valley of Desolation – next time …
A deep breath for the both of us – we arrived back home in Plett this past Monday. Do all good things come to an end? No, I don’t think so … we set off again tomorrow morning. We’ll be staying with same friends in Wellington tomorrow night and on Saturday shooting over to Stellenbosch (about 3/4 hr away) to attend my sister and her husband’s birthday celebrations on a wine farm that day and night. Sunday is a very big day on our sports calendar … South Africa is playing Japan, the hosts for the World Cup Rugby this time round (every four years). It’s the quarter final … and there is NO WAY that we will be travelling on that day. They play around midday on Sunday. South Africa will be glued to their TV sets.
We’ll get back to Plett on Monday next week, either euphoric – or not –
The last photo is of what was originally just a cutting of a small branch and tendrils, transplanted from Jo’burg and attached to a tree here in Plett in our garden a few months ago and I am thrilled to see how well it has flourished and bloomed.
This post is way longer than I imagined it would be.
May you all flourish and bloom even amidst these troubling times. May the Force be with you and thank you for reading.
It’s the last Friday of the month and therefore the day on which bloggers around the world post a good news story. We hope that a good news story will bring a smile and help alleviate the darkness we’re confronted by that makes up much of our daily news.
With plastic in our oceans and landfills causing great concern, this story from Good Things Guy gives a clear example of the urgency of removing cigarette butts. I know that when go walking on the beach with bag in hand to pick up litter, the amount of cigarette butts in the sand is appalling.
About 6 trillion cigarettes are manufactured a year and over 90% of them contain plastic filters. That’s more than one million tonnes of plastic.
Some guidelines if you’d like to participate – the more the merrier. Posts to be short, under 500 words providing a link to your good news story and say why that particular post appealed to you. No political or religious posts. And please use the #WATWB hashtag and badge on your posts on social media. If you’d like to participate, this is the link to sign up.https://www.linkytools.com/wordpress_list.aspx?id=277138&type=basic
What a strange, unsettling and uncomfortable month September has been. Pretty awful in many ways. Femicide, filicide, xenophobia, murders most foul, rape, gender based violence, racism, weak and divisive political leadership, destructive protests, looting, burning, ongoing commissions of enquiry with none being imprisoned. That’s just in my neck of the woods. The recent death of Robert Mugabe, past president of Zimbabwe has had political sycophants here excelling themselves in praising him for liberating Rhodesia. That man was a murderous thug, who enriched himself at the expense of Zimbabweans.
To add to my gloom, I injured my left foot some days ago so any walking has been anything but of the ‘out and about’ kind. Gone was my plan of walking on the beach, getting fit, losing a bit of weight. Gone was my plan of looking for a lovely outfit to wear to an upcoming wedding in Johannesburg. The thought of wearing a moon boot instead of slinky sparkly heeled shoes brought my spirits even lower. Ah vanity –
Are the winds of change upon us? The Global March in many parts of the world on Friday, initiated by Greta Thunberg, the young 16 year old Swedish lass already several months ago, speaks not only to our minds but to our hearts as well. Who can not fail to be moved by her addressing the climate change crisis, fearlessly, clearly, truthfully, calling out those in power who appear to have no concern about the future of Mother Earth and her inhabitants.
The 23rd September, tomorrow, the equinox, when for a moment the axis stands still before it turns, heralding new seasons in both the north and south hemispheres.
A deepening in the northern hemisphere, an arising in the southern hemisphere. Can we hope for peaceful change of the seasons, and in the world?
The upcoming Rosh Hashanah on the 29th September which marks – by the blowing of the shofar – the beginning of the world in prayer and self reflection. It is one of the two High Holy Days in the Jewish calendar, culminating in Yom Kippur.
A few things helped to lift my personal gloom. The one was our local Ndlovu Youth Choir and their performance at America’s Got Talent (AGT – could also stand for Africa’s Got Talent). The energy of these young people from impoverished communities, their wonderful costumes, the way they were received by audiences, their being in the finals, their homecoming this last Friday, was joyous. There is no other word. All thanks are due to Dr. Hugo Templeman, the conductor of this 40 strong choir, and musical director Ralf Schmitt.
Another thing that has lifted my spirits immeasurably is a tag that my son recently linked me to on Facebook. It’s the #ImStaying tag. It was begun only 2 weeks ago with a small ‘membership’ and now it has reached epic proportions. The personal experiences of South Africans who’ve lived and travelled elsewhere in the world, or haven’t travelled at all, speak to my heart and mind. Each and every one (many thousands already) says why they’re staying – it’s the people mostly, their energy, their diversity, their ordinary human ubuntu kindness, the feeling of being one with the soil, the land and sea scapes, the wild life, the birds and bees and the swaying trees … The song and the dance – black and white like the yin yang symbol … people of all stripes and cultures standing up, tall and proud. Every reason to believe that South Africa will turn the tide.
This one below I came across this morning; it’s certainly one of the longer ones. Malusi Thabethe is a man with the heart of a poet and the strength of a lion. I hope you read it.
I define South African. I am the child of the soil, the branch that grew from the seed that became a tree called South Africa. I strive and strike to make my country the better one in Africa.
I am the remainder of the blacks that were burnt fighting for freedom and equality and their ashes gave birth to me.
I am the light that will shine tomorrow to give light to our generations regardless of their Race.
I am the doorman who is going to chase out Xenophobia from our beautiful Hotel South Africa and welcome my fellow African brother’s with open arms.
I am the product of the past of South Africa, but I am the future to the improved South Africa;
The South Africa that does not discriminate against any race,
where children feel safe to walk on their own, anytime without the fear of being abused.
The South Africa that have politicians who care more about the people than their own greed.
I define South Africa.
I am the guy on the street whose life depends on the crumbs on the bins and leftovers from strangers.
I see my fellow brothers who made it in life driving past me on a daily basis and they close their windows every time they see me.
I don’t blame them the Government is also closing the door to better life for all. Remember the one they promised us during Election campaigns?
Yes that very same door is closed and I have no choice but to stay on this streets.
I used to believe that my vote count, oh yes it does count when it matters but once counted they forgot about me and their promises.
I am now a disgrace to my fellow leaders and I am labeled a failure.
Yes I failed but you failed me and the entire society.
I define South Africa.
I am the guy who is doing 2 shifts to ensure that my family is well taken care off.
I work for less to ensure that tomorrow my children are able to generate more for themselves.
I slave myself out for their future which I am hoping would be better.
I don’t see them as I leave early and come back when they are asleep,
This is life of a typical South African man, work hard for your offspring and hope for the better.
Every morning I pray for their safety and sure hope that I will come back home safe.
This streets is full of vultures, it’s a dog eat dog country and the dog I am want to go back to my puppies safe every evening.
I walk in the valley of death, oh God are you still my Shepard? Or because my name is Shepard I need to be my own Shepard?
I live in fear every turn I make might be my last one and every time I see my child might be my last time.
I define South Africa.
I can write ten thousand things about my country but
I am Love
I am hope
I am Reconciliation
I am Faith
I am the Smiling Stranger on the street.
I am the Diversity
I am the Past
I am the FUTURE
I am Malusi Thabethe
I am South Africa
Winds of change – they’re in the air, and in the soil. They’re in the birth of books by a few of my internet friends who have published books recently. They went through the labours of writing, editing, proofs – and launched their creations into the world.***
The winds of change are about – people are more aware of non biodegradable items and refusing them. People are voluntarily cleaning up beaches, and other areas. People are pushing for change – not only pushing, they’re doing it themselves.
Tuesday is a public holiday here in South Africa. Heritage Day on 24 September recognises and celebrates the cultural wealth of our nation.
South Africa is a rugby mad world (also soccer and cricket – women’s teams too; as well as tennis, music, dance, braaivleis). The opening of the Rugby World Cup was on Friday night SA time. It happens every 4 years and this time it is being hosted in Yokohama Japan, the first time that an Asian country has hosted the RWC. The opening ceremony was wonderful.
Sad to say, our Springboks lost to the All Blacks on Saturday midday SA time. But, all is by no means lost. The Springboks know that South Africa is behind them every inch of the way. There are still plenty of games ahead …
Other things that are uplifting for me, is that I saw a GP here in Plettenberg Bay this past Thursday. My husband had a separate appointment with him after mine. The GP examined my foot very carefully and tenderly and prescribed an x-ray and some blood tests to be done which I did first thing on Friday morning. As well as a strong short course of anti-inflammatories. On Thursday night son Mike joined us for supper prior to his flying to Johannesburg on Friday for the #comicconafrica annual convention at which he was incidentally giving a talk this Sunday afternoon at 3.00 p.m. Mike didn’t really know about how sore my foot was. He was very concerned and took my foot very gently in his hands and performed some Michael magic …
X-rays first thing Friday morning, bloods taken and a call from the GP around 1.00 that day to say there were no broken bones in my foot and no sign of a stress fracture. My bloods were all within normal range. Sugars good etc .. Already my foot started feeling better, and has become increasingly less painful in these last few days though I’m being careful with it. I wonder if in part at least, the fact that I took matters into my own hands (or foot) by making that GP appointment – putting my trust in a yet as ‘unknown other’ helped my recovery. Maybe it was I who needed to make the first step, in aiding it. Maybe I needed to be own shepherd/Shepard. I feel as if I’m on a better footing with the world.
There’ve been a few tragic deaths lately. A dear friend of mine’s husband died unexpectedly 2 weeks ago. I know someone whose daughter died tragically. The clouds are dark indeed for them. It’s an unknown journey for them as they mourn and grieve deeply.
‘Where there is sorrow, there is Holy Ground’ – Oscar Wilde.
Thank you for reading; I know it’s a long post.
***For a few of my internet friends who’s newly birthed books have been launched into the world, all success with them! I’ll do a blog post fairly soon I hope and give you details. The authors are Jacqui Murray, Marian Beaman and Damyanti Biswas.
It’s the last Friday of the month and therefore the day on which bloggers from around the world post on good news, as a way of alleviating the darkness and confusion that seems to pervade our everyday lives. I always enjoy looking for a good news story, they come my way through various media. I feel uplifted when I read about the good in people, ordinary men, women and children who in some meaningful way make the world just that little bit better. This takes many forms – people acting individually (like people picking up trash or coming to the aid of another); or on a collective level where there is a common purpose eg raising funds for a worthwhile cause, which invariably began with an individual who heard the call and responded to it ..
It’s always hard to choose one story from around South Africa, there are so many. But the one below seems like a good choice and is in line with the aim of #WATWB ie to spread good news. This couple, Justine & Michael, travel the world making short films about good people. “We hope to remind our audience of one simple truth – that we are all human – that inside our hearts and minds, we are all facing similar challenges. We have so much to learn from each other, and our connections run so much deeper and stronger thanwe think.” The link I’ve provided shows a video of a woman, Maggie, of indeterminate age and her love for life and her animals. The scenery is beautiful, her roses and red hot pokers are lovely, she speaks in Afrikaans, there are English subtitles. She is the epitome of our strong South African Afrikaner women. You can see her vitality shining through. The video Perpetual Motionis at the end of the story –
Do pop by them and say hello – their posts are sure to be wonderfully up-lifting.
If you’d like to take part there are a few guide lines. Posts to be non-political, 500 words or less and a note as to why you particularly liked it. The purpose of #WATWB is to show humanity in action, that crosses all borders. The #WATWB badge to be used, and as always we appreciate your sharing it on social media.
Does order come from chaos as the Bible and quantum physics claim? Have we underestimated the magnitude of this relocation from Johannesburg down to Plettenberg Bay? Our lovely home down there is already furnished, but now that we are renting out our townhouse with furniture and all else to a corporate SOE, we have to remove our personal belongings, clothes, toiletries, books (mine are down there but my husband still has tooooo many of his here, including medical and golf books galore), too many boxes of photographs, files, paintings, my art stuff (much of it down there) and I don’t know what else – more stuff –
It’s too soon to panic or at least that’s what I’m telling myself. At least the appointment is made for professional carpet and tile cleaners to come by this Friday. We plan to drive down in our 2 cars with trailer in tow on Saturday. My husband is aghast at my wanting to take down my beautiful hanging orchid and at least one pot plant of my already blooming orchids.
What to keep, what to toss. An existential question for me. Already I’ve given away many clothes, shoes, kitchen stuff. Breaking up is hard to do – I’ve tossed photos of old boyfriends with a loving thought to them. No time for any reminiscing. I’m keeping letters and post cards from family and friends from when Moses was a boy; there’s no time for any reading of them now. It would take forever –
In among this all (and Wimbledon – my nerves), my lovely blogger friend Norah Colvin in Sydney Australia, has and is running a series on School Day reminiscences. It’s been so interesting to read these guest posts which appear on Sundays in which she interviews fellow bloggers from around the world on their memories of school days. My school memories went up on Sunday and can be read on her link below. The below photo is one I found of my sister and me which is not on Norah’s post & which I sent via what’s app to my sister in Cape Town while sorting photographs, which made her a bit weepy – I MUCH prefer her rounded collar –
Norah is a great proponent of early learning and especially reading – www.readilearn.com.au – learn.com.au – and her posts for parents and teachers are always excellent and innovative on this topic. Her web page is www.NorahColvin.com .com
I’d better get on with it – thankfully Jane my housekeeper is here and will work for the new tenants a few days a week; and although our employer-employee relationship officially came to an end at the end of May, she’s being an enormous help right now in the cleaning of cupboards and much more –
Little by little, bit by bit, slowly we come to the end of it –
To begin again.
Everything is pretty tumultuous around the world. Here as well. Plettenberg Bay where we’re heading to has recently seen several days of terrible protest action with some pretty darn revolting thuggery and destruction thrown in among the mess – may order reign everywhere and not a moment too soon.
Jean Raffa, author of beautiful books and Matrignosis: A blog about Inner Wisdom (rich and real soul food), blogged today on Susan E. Schwartz’s and my co-authored book, ‘Aging and Becoming ~ A Reflective Enquiry’– it was a wonderful surprise to see this today! https://jeanraffa.wordpress.com/2019/07/09/aging-and-becoming/…
May the Force be with you and thank you for reading-