Cap Oriental | Eastern Cape

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8 Responses to Cap Oriental | Eastern Cape

  1. Jane Shey says:

    Dave and Anna, it was fun reading your update and it reminds me of my week that I spent in RSA. I was in J’burg and East Molteno in the middle veld. I hitched in from Mbabne. I was in Swaziland for two weeks in the mountains with a friend in the Peace Corp. I really liked the people in Swaziland. I am still in Leuven and would love to see you when you get back. Take care and happy New Year. Jane

  2. Bob/Dad says:

    As always a pleasure to read about your adventure. Although my French is limited, it is worth reading your posts in both languages. Each of you has your own way of describing things and the message is richer and more substantial for having two voices speaking. I agree with Anna’s book suggestions and have just finished Johnson’s book on SA about the Beloved Country Post-Apartheid. Not a very happy story to read, and it is hard to reconcile it with the country we saw and people we met during our trip in November. But of course we saw just that particular and uniquely westernized area of the Western Cape. It seems that the great man Mandela was also, after his years of fighting and imprisonment, (his long walk to freedom) just too old to really take on the challenge of building a true rainbow nation. One thinks he might have pulled it off and done something truly wonderful had he had the opportunity to do so earlier. Unfortunately, it would seem that the people who truly ran the nation after the end of apartheid, had been so profoundly influenced by their years of colonialism and struggle, in many cases their exile from their country, as well as their really “stalinist” mind set, that while they paid Mandela’s vision lip service, they implemented something that shows a very different vision. It is truly to be hoped that the ANC and more importantly the S.A. people will find a way to gradually move in a better direction and will succeed in making something uniquely wonderful. Parts of your experience and your enjoyment of the people make me hope that is possible.

  3. Katy and Adrien says:

    Bonjour Anna! Nous apprecions les detalles inclus dans ta texte que mon frere Dave n’a pas inclus, Adrien a traduit pour moi et il m’a aide a ecrire ce petit mot. Bisous!

    Dave- I loved the English too, and thank you for the photo of the DOG!!

    Good luck in Malawi you two, can’t wait to talk to you soon! And see you in March!

  4. Permacyclists says:

    That book is pretty intense isn’t it? We found ourselves wondering sometimes too whether that was really the country we were traveling in. We talked to a SA bookshop owner who had read it and he said it’s all true, but that in the end some people see the glass as half full, some as half empty. Johnson is definitely a half empty type! For our part, we found that Johnson misses the whole racial tension issue. He presents the country as if it had no problems after 1994 that can’t be attributed to the ANC, while actually I think there is a lot of tension and a lot of history. We thought Antije Krog captured that much better – the sort of emotional side of the country. She has some new books out which apparently are more critical, we would love to read those too one day. Thanks for the comments!

  5. Permacyclists says:

    Happy new year Jane! We wish we had made it to Joburg, maybe next time. We would love to hear more about what SA was like back in the day. We read Cry Beloved Country and were suprised though that even the country back then in the ’40′s seems a lot like today. The more things change, the more they stay the same I guess…

  6. Tysa says:

    I finaly finished the “long walk to freedom” in Utah and now am cringing as I read johnson’s south africa. It is too painful and dissappointing.
    How do we understand the vast differences that we see in countries with very similar geography ,at least initially, all of whom were racked by colonialism and then developed in such divergent patterns. I doubt it is explained by remoteness to outside the countries, or to differing national characteristics, but it does boggle the mind. In reading the long walk to freedom, Mandela makes the point that there was a long history in africa before colonialism , the history of which has been maintained by tribes and taught to children growing up in different areas. Does this play a role?In the Native American analogy, does the worst happen when what is lost is not just political freedom ,but also what shapes the nation is remembering it’s stories? What do you think. I don’t think it is all money either although certainly that is a big part of it but compare the poor in Tanzania and the poor in what you are describing in Mozambique. It sounds like a striking difference. What do you think? and yes, I would love a rant if you are in the mood. I find them to be some of my most enlightening reading

  7. Permacyclists says:

    Hi Terri,

    Yeah, I can’t imagine the shock that those two books one after the other could bring! The only consolation I can offer is that I don’t think it is quite as bad as Johnson says = though really, if it’s only half as bad, it’s still pretty bad…
    And yes, we too were supprised by how each country is so different – a universe unto itself. It is enough to make you despair of ever understanding the world really. And then if you add that each person in each country has their own view of the world… The complexity is astounding sometimes.
    As for the geography and the like, actually the whole history of South Africa is based on its geography. It is the only African country that is far enough south to be beyond both the tropics and the arid sub-tropical regions (though both regions are expanding because of our changing climate, a serious threat to South Africa’s future). The result was that the Bantu Expansion essentially stopped before reaching the end of South Africa, where there was a more mediterranean climate (wet winters and dry summers vs. dry winters and wet summers) that made it impossible to grow the crops which were the basis of the whole migration – the most important event in African history.
    So, since the Bantu couldn’t settle there, the land remained in the hands of hunter-gatherers until the Europeans came along and found that a mediterranean climate was just what they needed for their European crops, and that what was better, there was no pesky malaria or sleeping sickness there – making Western Cape the only area in all of Africa that could easily support European settlement. Everywhere else, the whites died off; there, they could stay. And then what’s more, since there were only hunter gatherers there, it was easy to settle, they just had to shoot a few defenseless people and the land was theirs. Compare the ease with which they settled the Cape Colony to the five hundred years it took them to expand beyond it, including moments like Islandawana (misspelled I’m sure), the biggest defeat in the history of the British Army. If the first whites had encountered organized Zulu impis instead of loose bands of hunter gatherers, African history would be completely different, they never would have gotten off their boats.
    I imagine each country has its equivalent – both of geography and culture and pure accident. The deserts of Namibia, the luck of Uganda never having been an officail ‘colony’ as Kenya was, Tanzania having fallen under German influence rather than British at first… There must be millions of such little details that make the world so complicated.
    Anyway, we do our best, but who knows how much any of us can ever really understand!

  8. Bono says:

    And I thought I was the senbisle one. Thanks for setting me straight.

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