The “C” of South Africa

For Jenny’s Alphabe Thursday, I am going to write my thoughts on bits and bobs that I remember and how it was for me, during my almost fifty years spent in South Africa. 

These are my ‘C’ memories, opinions and views on a time during a much loved childhood and beyond!   

Come and join me on a colourful tour of: cats, camping, copper, cheetahs, citrus, cycles, cattle,chameleons and song: Crazy Life!


Oh yes, I’ve been there, we went to Cape Town, I hear this said often.  And so did every sailor who passed by the tip of Africa on his way to the far east so many hundreds of years ago, often dying of scurvy.  Until Jan van Riebeeck on the Drommedaris, was sent by the Dutch East India Company to grow a vegetable garden in 1652.  He began the building of the fort too, which still stands.

But Cape Town, known as the mother city,  isn’t South Africa !!  South Africa stretches, 814 miles north, to Pretoria, the capital and another 400 more to the northern border; 792 miles NE, to Durban, with Port Elizabeth, a little way along the coast, 412 miles to the east on the garden route.  Each corner has beauty of it’s own.

As have the many cats to be found across the length and breadth of the country.  Not least of all the cheetah.  

And my, my; doesn’t she look like her Mum!

Then after cats, this gorgeous creature, the chameleon, part of the reptile family.  This one was not bred in the wild, but is quite stunning.

 I remember the years of hand crafted copper ornaments?  My collection took pride of place on large window ledges or near the fire place.  Copper has been mined in SA for yonks!

This was an era of yellows, browns and oranges. Today copper fetches a great price as a metal to recycle, which leads to the theft of pipes and wires; a long way from the pretty ornaments in the picture.

Talking yellows and oranges brings me to the wonderful citrus farming  in SA. 

During our July school holidays, which was mid -winter; sucking an orange a day was a great comfort when there were no sweets in the house, and the closest shop a half hour walk away.  We would make a hole through the skin and suck the juice all afternoon, that way it lasted longer.

There was a shop closer to us, an African trading store along the great north road to Rhodesia, but we, as children were warned by my parents not to go into it.  This is something similar to what I remember that old trading store to look like.

And we did go in; I did when we found some loose change to spend!

A quote from a previous blog: “York Store was banned.We would have walked past York Store, an African Trading store, where the little black picaninies danced on the verandah to the sound of Quela music. If Charlotte could be sworn to secrecy, I would have gone in and bought us a penny’s worth of Wilson’s toffees to chew along the way.

Yes it was a crazy old life! 

Now that we are talking music, I loved the music that Paul Simon put together with our South African band, Ladysmith Black Mombasa with Joseph Shabalala in 1985.

Crazy Life from the album Gracelands click link below. 

If you would like to catch up on the other letters A and B, here are the links below.

B –



About liz2you

Life just happens when you plan something else. 50 years spent in Africa and relevant stories.
This entry was posted in Alphabet Thursday, cats, colourful, nostalgia, South Africa, Travel and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to The “C” of South Africa

  1. jfb57 says:

    I want to visit Capetown so this was a great taster of African ‘C’s!

    • liz2you says:

      Thanks for visiting and comments.
      When you visit Cape Town, you must do the garden route along the coast towards the east. The beauty is exceptional.

  2. What a wonderful post! I bet the trading post was filled with treasures!

    • liz2you says:

      Hi Mom of Daniel,
      Thanks for visiting. After all those years, the smell inside the store is something I still hold in my brain like it was yesterday. It was a dusty smell of hessian bags. There were large sacks of meilie meel and flour on a concrete floor piled up down the middle. I would make straight for the long brown counter that ran down one wall, behind which tinned foods etc. lined the walls, it seemed like, to the ceiling. But I was very small! Large jars of sweets on the counter was all that I was interested in.
      The little dancing children always smiled at us and we smiled back. They would stop dancing to the music till we left and wave goodbye. Our only barrier was language, really.

  3. Karen S. says:

    Oh but this is a priceless post! Lovely and so informative and great photos!

  4. Anita says:

    I am not one of those saying “oh I’ve been there”…but one day, one day. My southern adventures have been S. America and N. Zealand. My hub’s have been S. Africa. We keep talking about doing a southern hemisphere jump covering all three in one go-round!

    • liz2you says:

      Wow, any adventure is a good one. Go for it, I would move continents again if I had to. Ireland to SA, SA TO England, and I would go again!
      Thanks for comments.

  5. Each week I read more information on this dramatic place and think how badly I’d like to visit there someday.

    The textures and intense colors all around just entice me.

    The jeweled chameleon, the cheetah, the copper…


    Just such a charming post.

    Thank you for sharing it.


  6. H says:

    The culture and landscape of South Africa is so different to what we experience here. It has a fascination which makes it appealing.

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