The “F” of 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
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.
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.