The “I” of South Africa
For Jenny’s Alphabe Thursday, I am going to write my thoughts, the bits and bobs that I remember of how it was for me, during my almost fifty years spent in South Africa.
These are my ‘I’ memories, opinions and views on a time during a much loved childhood and beyond!
Impi, Impala, Irene, Isuzu, Ifafa Beach, Indaba, Island,
If this was a Zulu blog I’d be alright because so many of their words begin with an ‘i’.
We could do animals, Izilwana. Or we have Impala, the graceful antelope preyed on by lions, hyenas, crocs and vultures; but it’s greatest enemy is the tick. The blood loss they suffer from an infestation of this horrible insect not only kills eventually but leaves them vulnerable to atttack. They de-tick each other to stop the infection.
So how did that happen exactly?
Rumour had it that two families, then neighbours went to the coast, children in tow, for a holiday; the intention was to purchase a caravan park like the one they loved at Ifafa, so that they could escape the rat race, wear shorts and sandals every day of their lives, hardly ever work, and really LIVE! They didn’t find a park, but bought a bakery instead.
The Zulu word, Indaba, meeting place, is also a lovely word often used as slang within the English or Afrikaans languages. Lets have an ‘Indaba‘!
One particular indaba planned, many, many years ago, the summer of 1969 to be exact, by old friends of mine was at the Vaal Dam, in the Transvaal, on the Island right in the middle.
This man made dam is the second largest in area in South Africa.
When at our indaba on the ‘deserted’ island, we weren’t aware that it had been once been used as a secret meeting place for the apartheid government. (Or was then!)
We camped, sunbathed and skied each day. Our boat was covered with painted daisies of every colour. At night we shared ghost stories, spotted weird lights in the bush, imagined how we would survive if we became marooned. It was hugely fun!
Then the boat motor stopped working, and we were marooned! We had to hail a passing boat for a tow back to the mainland. (no mobile phones then! It was 1969!)
I is for impi, Zulu warriers. These men are not the real deal, but like any proud nation, they do love to dress up and depict the warriors of old.
To end my ‘i’ story, I’d like to stick in 1969.
Stick to flowers and sunshine, back to the carefree life we lived then, beside the Vaal dam in South Africa. (click image and listen to Bryan Adams)
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