The “R” of South Africa

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 ‘R’ memories, opinions and views on a time during a much loved childhood and beyond!

Rustenburg, Rooikat, Ramsgate, Rooibos tea, River Gardens,Ricky Nelson, Righteous Brothers, Rhinoceros, Roses, Ronnie,

We have reached the R already, really!  Ridiculous!

How rooibos tea got into this line up, I don’t know.  

Well this is about memories and opinions I suppose.  My opinion?  Hated it!  Even the smell!  With all its medicinal claims to fame.  

Grown from a South African plant cultivated in the western Cape, the roots and leaves turn red when brewed, this tea is said to be rich in antioxidants and nutrients, have a calming effect and tastes “woody and nutty.” Yes, nutty, I’d say they are!  Them’s that do!

Rustenburg lies at the foot of the Magaliesburg mountains, 112kms from Johannesburg to the north west.  When I think of this place; I see rows of orange trees and tobacco plants; they also farm in peanuts there. 

There is a good reason why these are my memories combined with a hidden secret, told to nobody. 

Andries Pretorius together with other Voortrekkers from ten years before, founded Rustenburg. (where they came to rest)

The secret: We had gone to view a farm, a citrus farm, which my husband thought he might like to buy. 

We (not me)were at the time living in the”must go farming years”, when we wanted to change a perfectly beautiful home, gardens and pool for a plot of ground, a shack and a reem of turkey chicks!  Itchy feet methinks!

But back to Rustenburg, it was 1974, when we drove to the top of a hill to view the farm in it’s entirety.  We owned a lovely chocolate brown Triumph Chicane at the time.  After discussion about deposit and price of the land, complete with a fairly good house, the heat of the sun chased us back towards the car, where he spotted something on the back left hand bodywork, a mark in the sunshine.  A smudge.

Had I seen it before, as it was the car that I drove mostly? 

No.  Did I know that these things happen when you park in supermarkets? 

No! Well then, you said it, that’s what must have happened!

My secret was still safe, and I was smug in that knowledge, as we drove into the driveway at our home in Quail Street, Elspark, (should have done this for the Q entry) I viewed the offending peach tree out of the corner of my eye....

He should never have pruned it, then I would never have hit it, that morning on the way to nursery school, when our brand new car was only three weeks old!

It wasn’t a smudge then but a long gouge, when my good friend the nursery school teacher taught me another of her talents.  This one with Brasso.

It took us about an hour of alternate gentle rubbing followed with furniture polish and brasso again.  It did the trick and had been well hidden for almost a year.  He was told the truth after we sold the car years later, well, my friend Isabel told him, and that she had many years of practice with Ronnie’s cars!

From my moment of dread in Rustenberg, to the Rooikat.  The wild cat that lives all over Africa; he hunts alone, eats meat and lives alone, only coming together to mate.

This wouldn’t be South African if we left one of the big five out.  The Rhinoceros.  Three species of these huge animals are on the critically endangered list, because they are poached and killed so cruelly for horns and body parts.  They are herbivores, surviving on leaves, grass and fruit.  The black rhino prefers to live alone, they have bad eyesight but can smell predators from a long way off.  And are known to be aggressive, wouldn’t you be!

In 1974, Abba won the Eurovision Song Contest, and this has no R in it, but I just wanted to post this picture! 

Also in 1965, the Righteous Brothers made their world famous recording of ‘Unchained Melody’

Click picture to listen.

How could I do the letter R without a picture of the seaside, this is Ramsgate!

We have run out of time for Ricky Nelson, River Gardens and Roses!

Till next time,



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, cats, South Africa, Travel, vehicle and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to The “R” of South Africa

  1. When I think of Africa I think of the plain where the animals live, not by the ocean as pictured which is rather beautiful. Living in the states, faraway places seem so surreal and magical. But, I do not have much deserve to go across the sea to discover these faraway ranges for myself. I’m a big ole scaredy cat and won’t travel by air or sea, so I only permit myself to see the world through another’s eye. Thanks for sharing such beautiful memories!

    • liz2you says:

      Different strokes for different folks, as they say.
      I was travelling by the age of six weeks, when my parents took me to Africa.
      Thanks for reading.

  2. Bristo Jiu says:

    what a ride.
    love the wild images.

  3. nick. says:

    I have a Rustenburg. Okay, you caught me, it’s really just a pile of rust.

  4. storybeader says:

    Rustenburg is beautiful. I love how cities look, cut into hillsides like that. And on the water to boot! Is that an ocean? I’ve never heard of the rooikat. Looks like a cross between a cat and a…. bunny? With the long ears! Thanks for the tour of South Africa – it’s so exciting. Never been there! {:-Deb

    • liz2you says:

      Perhaps the picture of Rustenburg is a bit deceiving, as this will be a suburb outside the town. The river is part of the Crocodile river, no not anywhere near the ocean. Thanks for taking time to read my post.

  5. Fifty years in Africa! Wow! You probably have lots more to post about in future blogs! …And about the rooibos tea, I’ve tried to like it…

  6. Rooibos tea is my favorite!

    They used to have all the various teabags at a place I stayed several times in Minnesota.

    It was always a treat to try each of them!

    Thanks for continuing our really fascinating journey through this fantastic country.


  7. cameron & shani says:

    So I am a chip off the old block

  8. liz2you says:

    What!!! Me bash a car, never!

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