The “L” 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 ‘L’ memories, opinions and views on a time during a much loved childhood and beyond!

Lion, Limpopo, Louis Trichardt, Lemon tree, Litchi, La Lucia,

This week we will start with a song to get you in the mood for the bush and lions, the real Africa.  Reseaching this song, I too learned something.

For a clue I have included this gorgeous fellow, the King of the Beasts!

The song is known to many by different names, even sung in different languages and has a real catchy beat.

Names like, Mbube, A wimaweh, and The Lion sleeps tonight.  Remember it now, I do, sung in 1961 by The Tokens!

Click to here them sing!

The history is interesting.  Sung first by a Zulu man in 1939 in a recording studio in SA, but he didn’t receive any credit for it and it was later recorded in America.

“Solomon Linda is best remembered as the writer of “Mbube” (translated as “The Lion”), one of the most successful songs to come out of South Africa. Although Linda recorded the first version with his group, The Evening Birds, in 1939, the song became an internationally-recognized classic when it was renamed “Wimoweh” and recorded by Pete Seeger and The Weavers in 1948.”

A fruit never to forget, the litchi.  They grow in bunches on trees in Natal.  A strange little fruit with an unusual taste.  When I first held them in my hand, the thought was, “Now how do we tackle this?”  But the rough outside skin peels away so easily, to reveal a slippery little bit of white fruit around a shiney brown pip.  Delicious!

But back to our friend the lion, shocked, he is, or is it bewildered?


This week it snowed in Johannesburg and this lion, who lives in the Johannesburg zoo, is astounded, cold too, I’d say.  The world’s weather gone mad!

I remember one other such year when we were living in Boksburg one of the gold reef town to the east of Johannesburg; and it snowed, 1982.

The shrubs and trees buckled and broke under the weight of something alien like snow, high winds, thunderstorms, hail and heatwaves, they could cope with.

So out of the archives: My two little daughters rolling a huge snow ball and the bulldogs joining in the fun.

The Lemon tree, often found growing in gardens in South Africa, is sub tropical and doesn’t like freezing weather either, but a mature well established tree, like this one in a sheltered area is happy enough. 

Citrus farms are big business in South Africa, and are found in Swaziland and Orange Free State, growing oranges, lemons and limes.

Oh, remember that game; “Oranges and Lemons, the bells of St Clement’s…….”

“Oranges and lemons,
Say the bells of St. Clement’s.
You owe me five farthings,
Say the bells of St. Martin’s.

When will you pay me?
Say the bells of Old Bailey.
When I grow rich,
Say the bells of Shoreditch.

When will that be?
Say the bells of Stepney.
I’m sure I don’t know,
Says the great bell at Bow.

Here comes a candle to light you to bed,
Here comes a chopper to chop off your head.

Chip chop chip chop the last man’s head
(The arch comes down tapping one player)”

And one more time for the King of the Beasts.

 Well he sure got the lion’s share this week!  And so what, he deserves it; everyone loves a lion!

So I leave you for another week.

If you would like to catch up on any other previous letters A – K, this is the link:


About liz2you

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

13 Responses to The “L” of South Africa

  1. Wow! I bet he was surprised by the snow.

  2. zongrik says:

    what a gorgeous lion

    my son just wrote an interesting article about Zimbabwe’s Lion Encounter

    this is my contribution for the L week
    lamb’s wool

  3. Someone on Twitter told me it had snowed in SA this past week. That’s so wild!

  4. an fun and interesting trip through the Ls! I do remember the 1961 version of the song since it was played well past its 1961 debut. fascinating history.

  5. anita says:

    Now I can’t get that song out of my head and I’m wishing for some sweet little litchis!!

  6. Snow? For real?

    I figured lions for the area (and your pictures were great!) but the snow and the litchees surprised me.

    I’ve always wanted to try those!

    I’m loving your sharing of lovely land with us!

    Thank you!


    • liz2you says:

      It is amazing when you begin to delve into the past, what you do remember. So much to write, so little time….

  7. cameron & shani says:

    Looks like my little boys rolling snowmen here in irelands big snow

  8. liz2you says:

    Little Boys! Gorgeous Boys! xxxxxx

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