Tag Archives: Johannesburg

Jozi

Late March in suburban Johannesburg,

The first day of Autumn, yet still the warmth

Of summer and everywhere the deep green

Foliage speaks of the coming of late rains.

 

Avenues lined with stately London planes,

In gardens oak and slender poplar trees

A most strange chimera of temperate climes

Verdant mark upon grassy Highveld plains.

 

Spawned in the shadow of Kruger’s Republiek

They struck gold up on the Witwatersrand

And in the crucible of empire

A great conflict engulfed the land.

 

Yet unscathed from war she did emerge

Mighty Jo’burg, Jozi, the place of gold.

I wish you well my friend, especially now

That your riches lie above the ground

and not within.

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Shuffling Along One Day at a Time

The week just gone has been a mixed bag. Early in the week I decided, against my better judgement, to prod around my right inner ear with an ear-bud in order to remove some of the copious wax that had build up over the last few months. This happens periodically. On the previous occasion the result was that I compacted the wax against the eardrum and only after the frequent use of ear drops and much probing did the wax eventually budge. This was a painful wait of at least a week and despite being advised against the use of anything “narrower than my elbow” I’ve tried to preempt matters and remove the offending material and gone and landed straight back in the same situation. Basically, it’s all my fault and I shouldn’t be boring you with this stuff! 

An aspect of my health that I haven’t had any control over is a cold and cough that’s bugged me all week. Considering that it pretty much overtook my entire respiratory system on Tuesday it could probably be classified as the flu. That said it has not been too severe, more just a hindrance. My sleep patterns have been all over the place and I look forward to reestablishing control over my feeble corporeal being with the help of a few nurofen and alcoholic beverages (vodka, whisky, hot toddies? All advice gratefully received).

I did make it to UP on Wednesday. I arrived at the department a little after the designated time but was received without much fuss (except that I didn’t have the relevant literature to hand) by James and his study group in the staff room. This would have been a privileged experience indeed as an undergraduate or an honours student. However, this was a small group of postgraduates and as anyone in the world of academia knows postgraduates occupy a niche far closer to the teaching and research staff than do the undergrad underlings.

Afterwards James and I went for a couple of beers at one of the campus cafes. I had scurried past it a couple of times in that ‘other life’ of mine but had never had the audacity to stop and indulge in – what! – an alcoholic beverage on campus! Okay, admittedly I’d been corrupted prior to that (I was 24 years old even at that time); I was just a bit insular. Back then the main campus in Pretoria was less heterogeneous: black students mixed by the student union whilst white students fraternised around this cafe and others like it. Many of them were Afrikaans speakers. That was part of the reason I felt a little intimidated I suppose.

What a change a decade can bring. It just seemed that much more relaxed on campus. Students of all colours and creeds chatted and socialized. To see a young white girl and balck guy evidently at ease in each other’s company walking along, books and files in hand, would have been exceptional back in 2003 but today no-one batted an eyelid. Still there’s no doubt there are still huge challenges working towards complete racial and social integration. James told me about the EFF and AfriForum clashes recently and on-going demonstrations country-wide, agitating against fees, Afrikaans language-instruction, employment contracts etc. One can read all about it on News 24.

So I will be looking seriously at acquiring a project at the department this year. The two questions besides what exactly I will be researching (something to do with Karoo-age dykes and their distribution – there are economic implications) relate to a) where I will live and b) which passport I will study on. There are large concessions for local (SADC) students versus international students. Oh, yeah, and the question of £/$/R. As always.

Anyway life goes on and go on we must, as Yoda might say.

To round out this match report some photos from Zoo Lake up the road, a place of interesting provenance vis-a-vie Cecil, Alfred and Julius (explained below).

 

 

  

 

Travel Blogging (again)

Yes I have been at it again. But where are the posts you say? Well the truth is that I have been unfaithful to the cause and used a very friendly little site called travelblog.org, no better than WP, but exclusively for those of a wandering disposition…

My latest trip was to South Africa, a place I have frequented numerous times. In fact I am often mistakenly assumed to be a Saffer here in the UK which I am not. The truth is I have claim to many things – Englishman, Zimbabwean, Greek, Irish at a stretch – but not to that land on the southern edge of the African continent. Anyway, it is there I went to see family and friends for a breezy 10 days (of which some 36 hrs were spent in the air when all flights are accounted for, and not including transit times which would take it up to 40).

I wish it were as easy as re-blogging but I fear I am going to have to provide the links and then copy and paste the stuff across as well, but for any aspiring blogger this shouldn’t be a chore so I will stop my whining. Herewith the posts:

Touchdown Johannesburg

Onwards to Durban

From the Highveld to the Cape

Hout Bay and Surrounds