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South Africa

Tuesday, 04 January 2005
la antilope

image

The photo above is of an antelope which Lynne, Indrin and family sent me as a Christmas present from Cape Town.  According to the label on the beaded beast, it was manufactured by Nosakhamzi of the company MonkeyBiz South AfricaWarning: Site is a bit fragile.

One of their statements jumped out at me:

Historically, bead work in a South African context has been the domain of women largely within the Xhosa, Zulu, Ndebele and Sotho Communities. The women are introduced to them directly through their mothers, grandmothers and other women in the community. The women have a natural aptitude for the craft.

Now that’s interesting. I wonder if they have a natural aptitude for dancing, beating drums, and wearing goatskin clothes as well? 

My thoughts are that beadwork has universal appeal and is something that has been done by most cultures around the world. Also what about the many other fields that African women show great aptitude in: sports, music, art, medicine, information technology and a whole range of other professions?

Anyway, the stuff that MonkeyBiz South Africa produces and sells is beautiful.

Posted by bigblue on 04/01/2005 at 09:22 PM
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Tuesday, 29 June 2004
au coucher du soleil

Port Owen

Today is Lynne�s birthday so I was thinking of her and I decided to post a photograph that I took during my last visit to Cape Town in August 2003.  I took this at the cottage where we stayed which was about one hour’s drive up the West Coast from Cape Town.  The sun sets relatively rapidly in Cape Town (summer or winter) and generally you don�t get a great effect unless there are some striking cloud formations (which are common) and you have to be quick to capture the moment.

Where I am the sun rose at 4:44 this morning and will set at 21:34, making it one of the longest days of the year. Today is probably going to be the brightest and sunniest day of the week - the rain is back again tomorrow.

Posted by bigblue on 29/06/2004 at 08:53 PM
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Wednesday, 17 March 2004
St Paddy’s Day

Ostrich

In a similar vein to yesterday’s photo, here’s another photo of a bird that I spotted at the side of the road one day and stopped to take a photograph of.  This male speciman was about 180cm tall.  I took this photo last year in August, near Langebaan (outside Cape Town). Ostriches are supposed to be the fastest annimal on earth over a long distance. Of course the cheetah is the fastest annimal over a short distance. However you hardly ever see them running. They walk around lazily, often alone (or perhaps in pairs). Then again cheetahs hardly run around the place either.  One also has to feel sympathy for the ostrich. Farmers don’t seem to trust them to hatch their own eggs (of which there can be between 40 and 70 per year) and generally remove them to an incubator. This is a pity because ostrich make good parents (both the male and the female) and it has been shown that they can count their eggs and notice if one of nine, say, are missing. Ostrich also usually mate for life (although hareem polygamy is not unknown).

This evening after work, Carles and I went into Strasbourg and attended the Cercle Européen conversation evening. Afterwards we went off for beer and tarte flambée with several of the others who attended: Xavier (Spanish), Mireia (Catalan), Jakob (Danish), Sophia (Swedish), Akeiko (Japanese) and um, I forgot the name of the German guy!  Also, the Cypriot seemed to disappear before we got to the resto.  It was a great evening. The last time I was in the resto (student hangout), it closed early and we had to move somewhere else. Apparently it was open late tonight because of St Patrick’s Day.  A special (darkish) beer was available, called Posted by bigblue on 17/03/2004 at 11:51 PM
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Thursday, 16 October 2003
bon anniversaire githan

Githan

Today was a day of shock, but I am not going to say anything about the bad news until tomorrow.  I need to hear the full story and establish exactly what has happened.  But do not be alarmed - everyone is safe and sound.

This evening I went roller-blading with anna-sofia. We also invited our house-mate aline to join us but she declined. She apparently had a run-in with mme wolff about having had a friend over on Tuesday night, and is now nursing her wounds.  We drove to Betchdorf, a charming Alsatian pottery-village and then roller-bladed 4,5 km along a piste cyclable through the fields to the village of Surbourg, and 4,6 km back.  (That is not a typo, but what the signs on each end of the piste indicate the relative distances to be!).  I appreciated them particularly this time, because there was a headwind on the return journey which made it seem longer than the outward one.  The piste is built on an old (forestry) railway line.  It was bitterly cold and windy, and we got back to my car just after sunset at 7pm.  A highlight was seeing a traditional sc�ne pastorale - shepherd, sheepdog and herd of sheep in a field.  A lowlight was hearing the continual boom-boom of les chasseurs.  The piste passes close to several miradors, but these were empty. The shots were being fired from further afield.

Today was my nephew githan’s 9th birthday.  It was good to speak to him this evening and hear his soft deep voice. 

bluemeanie, lil blue meanie, and I visited him and his family in August this year.  Although it was probably the coldest and wettest time to go it was good to connect with family and friends in Cape Town again. 

The following two pictures are “left-right” photos of githan. These pictures are produced by taking a picture (e.g. the one above) and splitting it in two - down the middle of the face.  You then have two pictures.  For each picture you create a mirror image of the half-face, using it to complete the face.  You end up with two complete faces, but one composed of two-left halves, and one composed of two-right halves.  Because of the beauty mark on his face, githan’s face is clearly asymetrical and you end up with two very different faces.  (Unfortunately the original picture is also of a ‘tilted’ head, so this also distorts both the “left-face” and “right-face” images in different ways). 

githan’s “left face”:

Githan

githan’s “right face”:

Githan

What is striking is how githan’s “left face” looks so much younger than his “right face” and (for those who know justin) how strikingly like his second-cousin githan’s “right face” looks!

The pictures come from our trip to Cape Town in August. The technique was shown to me by peter and eva.

Posted by bigblue on 16/10/2003 at 10:52 PM
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