The “F” of South Africa

The “F” of South Africa

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

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

Featuring some of the following: Food, Ficksburg, Father Finlay, Fires, Frangi- pani, Flies, Flowers, Floods, Frikkedels, Forest, Friends

Known as ‘The friendly city’, Port Elizabeth, was where my life in South Africa began.  I guess in those days it probably looked more like this…..

Than This…….

As we moved around the country, with my father’s job transfers; our family friends remained true friends.  There were never that many, ever, but with no blood relations in South Africa, friends were important, trusted and respected.  And so as children we followed the example; trust and respect first for someone, then friendship was embedded.  

We sat around the same fire

This comes from an Afrikaans expression: “Hulle sit nie langs die selfde vuur nie.”  Which indirectly means they do not get on very well.  It is a social place, the braai fire, so you wouldn’t invite someone to your home for a meal around the fire if you didn’t like them.

Then fires of another kind.  Unexpected veld fires are very common in South Africa.  Often caused by vandalism today.  Long grass beside hundreds of miles of railway tracks was where fires started often, as bits of coal fell out of moving trains.  This was back in the days when we relied on steam trains to carry stock, post and people from town to town; city to city.

We lived in the Ficksburg area of the Orange Free State, in Gumtree beside a untarred main road between towns.  It was hot and dry in the summer; and very cold and dry in the winter.  It was 1954 and when the wind blew it lifted the sand and dirt along the road creating whirlwinds into the sky.  I remember thunderstorms, but very little rain.  Our village backed on to the Maluti mountains and was surrounded by farms and a very friendly farming community.  Friendships we still speak about and follow today.  This is a view of Ficksburg, we lived 14 miles further out on a country road.

From this weather in mid South Africa, to the South Coast of Natal, where Frangi Pani blossom on trees in a humid, hot and often moist climate.  These waxy looking flowers make lovely table arrangements because they float on water. 

Life at the seaside is hard to beat, with fruit growing in your garden, like, banana trees, paw paw trees and avocado trees.  Also the call of the ocean doesn’t come without the word fun attached.  A lifestyle you take so for granted daily.  One of my longest, still standing, friendships began beside the sea in our cottage called ‘Sweetpea.’ Park Rynie.

My Mom was probably making “frikkedels” long before she knew them by this name.  It’s an Afrikaans name for meatballs, but served in a special way.  See this link to a well tried recipe below.

So on the very yummy food thought I will leave you for another week.  If you would like to catch up with past letters A-E the links are available.



E –

D –

C –

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, Flowers, Irish Immigrants, nostalgia, South Africa, Travel and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to The “F” of South Africa

  1. Karen S. says:

    So very interesting and your photos are lovely! A perfect F post!

    • liz2you says:

      Thank You, as I cannot find a link to your blog, if you have one, I cannot view what you get up to.

  2. Sue J. says:

    Frangi Pani looks enchanting. Great “F” post!

  3. happymrsc says:

    Oh my stars, what a wonderful, informative post! I learned so much about South Africa. I am going to try the meatball recipe. i really like those lovely flowers. I think I would have a terrific adventure going to the English Charity Shops- I even love their name. I dream about going to those outdoor flea markets, is that what they call them? Have a wonderful weekend and thanks for your comments.

    • liz2you says:

      Re cycle! That is what it is called today.People are so ready to rid them selves of ‘yesterday’ here in U.K., maybe that is not so in everyway, but certainly in material goods. What comes around, goes around! You like that!
      My charity: Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice, based in London, be rely on people to do just that.
      My Life: So much of it was spent in South Africa. But I am here now, UK.

  4. Judie says:

    I used to be a flower broker and bought flowers from South Africa to sell all over the world. I have had actual dreams of visiting South Africa.

  5. liz2you says:

    What was your favourite flower from South Africa?
    Thanks for visiting my blog.

  6. Anita says:

    I’m enjoying the weekly tours of S. Africa. But F without Fishhoek?! How could this be? Hee hee.

    • liz2you says:

      Just an over sight! No! I was rushing ‘F’. But Fish Hoek should have been there, I have spent many good times there with my sister.
      In fact one of my avid readers has said my ‘F’ entry is short, and I have let him down.
      G will be tops!!

  7. Theresa says:

    What an interesting life! Enjoyed traveling thru some “f”‘s of South Africa with you. One of my favorite movies is “Out of Africa”….think you’d enjoy it too!

  8. I have always, always wanted to smell a frangi pani blossom! The name just fascinates me.

    I’m really enjoying this fabulous trip down memory lane you’re sharing.

    These places and views seem other worldly to me.

    I am always intriqued.

    Thank you for linking.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s