TasteofAfrica Day 6 & 7 of 18 Cultural Integration

TasteofAfrica Day 6 & 7 of 18 Cultural Integration

We return to day 5 as we get a breather thanks to the rain.

Late on day 5 I wonder onto Mr Zulu’s homestead, where I witness the cultivation of a young male first hand

A  16 year old son is watching the 6 year old guide the 3 year old in the skills of herding and securing the sheep.

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Then at the farewell super, head-lady Nguni brings the wishes of Chief Molefe, and to the surprise of all, a marriage proposal, much to the joy of all.

The identity of the future bride is not for me to reveal.

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Then on morning 6 long emotional farewells, as we head off to St Lucia.

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TasteofAfrica Day 5 of 18 Cultural Integration

TasteofAfrica Day 5 of 18 Cultural Integration

Day 5 started on the afternoon of Day 4 as we start negotiations to have a free day, away from the schools and traditional dancing.

We initially achieve a visit restricted to 4 students, but by the end of our negotiations six students and a professor are committed, or is it sacrificed.

Added to the negotiations is the concept that the host village were of the opinion that we were leaving this morning.

I spent hours sorting through the emails in preparation for this mornings meeting.

The conflict is resolved without allowing me to explain,”the matter is on the ground”.

We all go off in different directions, Nettie and I welcomed in homes we had not visited before.

Joseph is excited about the birth of twin sheep two days back, and invites us in for a closer look at look.

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We pass a few of the group on one of the homesteads.

Then, a visit to the ‘Nguni by the road’ family, where after the formalities we are required to experience their traditional dress.

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Cedric wishes to buy the shield, but the units belong to the brother, after a little discussion, the part with the father’s headpiece.

Returning to our luxury accommodation with Benjamin and Thembi’, having asked for peanut butter and jam on bread for lunch, the meat pots are once again full.

Supper planned at Benjamin again tonight.

TasteofAfrica Day 4 of 18 Cultural Integration

TasteofAfrica Day 4 of 18 Cultural Integration

The day starts with a visit to the Ncome and Blood River Monuments.

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A visit to a Primary school,only 1 of the 4 scheduled for the day, but a delegation has undertaken to finalize the other schools on day 5

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A return visit to the secondary school.

where the students displayed their dancing much to the enjoyment and the appreciation of the scholars, and educators.

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TasteofAfrica Day 3 of 18 Cultural Integration

TasteofAfrica Day 3 of 18 Cultural Integration

Sunday starts with breakfast and the majority of the group attending a Church service, reported as a great experience.

Then lunch in Thembi’s garden, enjoyed by the visitors followed by the community families.

Sheep head
Sheep head

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Following the lunch the group join the community for an afternoon of traditional dancing.

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Then communal supper, a braai by the Nguni clan.

 

TasteofAfrica Day 2 of 18 Cultural Integration

Tasteofafrica Day 2 of 18 Cultural Immersion

Early breakfast in Soweto and then we transfer to Nqutu.

Lunch at a roadside kitchen with Thembi’s.

Thembi's kitchen
Thembi kitchen
Delicious lunch
Delicious lunch

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Highlight of the visit to the ZuluVillage is the opportunity to be presented to Chief Molefe, a Sotho Chief in the Zulu Kingdom

 

Chief Molefe

Chief Molefe

 

Then supper with Nguni Clan

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TasteofAfrica Day 1 of 18 Cultural Immersion

 

TasteofAfrica Day 1 of 18  Cultural Immersion

A walk through Alexandra, then a visit to Soweto, where among friends Cedric forgets the camera.

Jabu’s place

Jabu's Place
Jabu’s Place

Then a walk through the CBD, down past the squatter community at the woman’s hostel, and a visit to the men’s hostel where we lunch.

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Alex CBD

 

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Soweto tour, typical Orlando East and many young children
Soweto tour, typical Orlando East and many young children

SOWETO SELF GUIDED VISIT PART 1

SOWETO SELF GUIDED VISIT PART 1

This blog is specially prepared for the CopyPress Travel Writer Program, aimed at introducing the concept of providing the international visitors with a self-guide, to experience the local communities in South Africa without, using the expensive tour guide system.
This will give the visitor an opportunity to be part of the community, while giving the community the respect that they are not given during the Zoo-Like visit, and leaving behind the development that the community will experience.
I have the knowledge of many areas in South Africa, and will provide the guiding information that is safe, provided the are as aware as they need to be throughout the world.
CopyPress, please check this link for the 500 short blogs:
 START:

 

SOWETO, The Origins:  1 ORLANDO EAST:

Follow Soweto’s history, from the early origins through to 1976.

We start out tour in Orlando East, officially the oldest Township on Soweto, dating back to 1932.

This Orlando East Township can take a few hours, all magic, and you need go no further than Orlando West in the day, you decide.

If using public transport, we recommend that you use the Rea Vaya T3 route, that passes the Park Station / Rissik Street Station, suitable for commuters arriving from Sandton & Rosebank on the Gautrain, and then the bus passes through the MELVILLE area.

We recommend that you alight at the Orlando Soccer Stadium station, where, by previous arrangement, our host will meet you at a specified time.

Orlando Stadium

If sitting on the right-side of the Rea Vaya, you will see the stadium, then you need to alight if meeting our guide.

Orlando Rea Vaya Bus Station

One of the most damaging pieces of legislation passed in South Africa was the 1913 Native Land Act, the greatest separation between the South African black and whites. This blog will discuss this Act, the forerunner of this Act, in greater details under the South Africa History blog, (link to be defined when ready).

The Native Urban Areas Act, 1923 required Urban authorities to accommodate all black people that worked in their area, in Temporary accommodation. In 1928 the Johannesburg City Council established the Non European Affairs Department, (N.E.A.D.) and the Orlando East Township was their first project.

Orlando East established in 1932, between 1932 and 1934 the Council built 3000, to 3500, houses in this area. Legislation was passed in 1923, making it the legal responsibility of the Councils, to provide accommodation, for the black people who worked in their Municipal area. Prior to this housing development, the black people lived in various ‘locations’, in central Johannesburg, Klipspruit, Nancefield and Kliptown.

You will enter Orlando East through Noordgesig, cross the Soweto Highway and access Mooki Street, you will pass the famous Orlando Secondary School, and the Orlando Soccer Stadium bus station the first stop.

Soweto tour, allows a visit to a school
Soweto tour, allows a visit to a school

On the side opposite the Soccer Stadium, the first house on your left, the one with the tall palm tree, is house no.1 Orlando East, all the township houses, until recently, were numbered from 1 to 14 000, or, however many houses, were built in the township, the houses were not numbered as we are accustomed to it, odd & even numbers on either side of the street, but relate to stand numbers. Today, it is still easier for you to follow the old numbers.

All the streets are named, but many of the residents, do not attach importance to the street names, rather, where the house numbers change from 1799 to 1800, they identify this street at ‘18’. If you asked a local where they stayed, you will possibly receive an answer ‘18’.”

On the right is the New Orlando Soccer Stadium, upgraded for the 2010, having replaced the Orlando Soccer stadium, built in 1949, original home to Orlando Pirates.

Move in the same direction the bus was travelling, and pass the Orlando East Community centre on your left.

The small red brick houses that are seen in Orlando East are typical of the 3500 houses built between 1932 and 1934. It was only recently that I took notice of the different building materials used during this process. We have the red brick that is synonymous with the perception of the local whites when describing this development, yet closer scrutiny shows that they used the red brick, a slightly yellow/red brick, we also have two grades of cinder bricks and then the large cement block. The original houses consisted of two roomed houses, three roomed houses, and a number of them are semi-detached. When first built, the house only had one front door and the second doors were only added later. The enclosed porch that you see on that small ‘red brick’ house was first permitted in the 1950’s, subject to motivation and approval by the council.

Soweto tour, typical Orlando East and many young children
Soweto tour, typical Orlando East and many young children

As a white South African, I could not believe, just how much development, had taken place in Soweto. My perception still had all houses in Soweto, as rows of these little red brick houses. I do not think that many white South Africans, would ever give credit to just how many of these houses have been developed. Not only developed, but developed on properties that they only rented, without having title deeds to these properties. They used their own money, and did not have access to loan finance, through the financial systems. I think they still find it difficult, to obtain financial assistance today. Where extensions take place, they build little by little, taking years to complete, living in the original house, and often the original house, remains fairly intact, in the inside of the completed house.

Us whites, were forever boasting, about what we achieved, during the years of ‘isolation’, the period when we had restricted sport contact, performing arts contact, and had to buy oil through the back-door, what an achievement. But look at the Sowetan community, just look at what they have achieved, while in isolation, and they are still in isolation.

Turn left off Mooki Street into Rathebe Street, with the Library, the blue building on the opposite right corner, and a community centre now immediately on your right, next to the Library. This centre has a magic church service on a Sunday morning. Recently Rob, our Australian visitor came to visit us in Soweto; one of his desires was to find, a similar experience that he enjoyed in the United Sates, in the type of ‘Gospel Choir’ community church services, we would see on TV. This is not my forte, but our local guide Sibongile, and her sister; accompanied him to this church venue, and he really appreciated this experience.

Orlando Library is the little blue/green building bottom right, on Corner of Mookia and Rathebe Streets. Opposite is the Orlando Station Rea Vaya bus station, up Rathebe is the YMCA building and the bottom end of Rathebe Street.

Soweto tour, the children love you as much as you will love them
Soweto tour, the children love you as much as you will love them

This street is busy because of the Railway Station below Mooki Street. The locals will walk miles to a Railway Station, as the costs of a shared taxi to the station from their home; will double the cost of their daily transport. We also have a taxi route along Mooki Street that will take them to other parts of Soweto. Add to this the Police Station, Library, Community Centres, ATM, and the local traders in the Station Street market, all located on Mooki Street, we will have pedestrian traffic all day.

Orlando Station with the SAPS on the right corner, the station is down the road to the right.

Soweto Tour, our favourite hardware store
Soweto Tour, our favourite hardware store

As a white I was impressed with the cleanliness, of the streets and the properties. Most of the side-walks are swept and so neat, and many of these gardens are so nice. To this cleanliness we cab add the attention that they people give to their clothes and selves.

If I was a first-time visitor to Soweto, with no guide, to pull me around Soweto, as I entered Rathebe Street, off Mooki Street, I would just cool here for some time. Walk slowly, stop at the hardware store; sit down next to a local, just talk, and become part of the magic.

Rathebe Street, off Mooki Street:

This setting is magic, the red-brick houses with shacks of various shapes and sizes, different materials, the odd bit of colour.

An Original Match-Box House with a typically neat garden.

Just walking up and down the streets of Orlando will give you an experience that you will never forget.

By now you would have discovered that the community do not mind you taking photos, it is because you are walking the streets and become part of the community that they welcome your presence. I do not suggest that you request permission, but should you see that some-one is reluctant, wave an apology, and back-off. Always be prepared to show the locals the photo that you have taken, if you have a digital camera. Not only do the enjoy seeing the photo, but the children love the close contact with our guests. They will touch you and feel you.

While we are on that subject, I do not encourage our guests giving to children, or for that matter, adult beggars. Rather buy some fruit; or other items from hawkers. You will get an opportunity to donate to the youth, or aids groups, that we pass through. Also, on a few sites, we have individuals, making their time and homes available to you. Here a small donation is welcome.

If you feel obliged to give to the children, or the many adult beer drinkers, who will be pressing you for a few rand, it only makes it more difficult, for the guests who follow to get close to the community. The beggars start to shield you from interaction with the magic.

Soweto tour, T-Mans place, one of my favourite drinking spots
Soweto tour, T-Mans place, one of my favourite drinking spots

As you walk past one of the properties in Orlando East, the small two roomed red brick house, is often surrounded by eight to thirteen tin shacks, with hardly a passage to move through. Do not be afraid to accept an invitation to stop and talk to one of the communities.

The home owner, the occupant of the main house, rents a piece of ground out to the sub-tenant. They are probably paying between R 90 and R 120 per month. The home owner; possibly receives R 1000 to R 1300 per month, towards her living costs. The problem however; is that the sub-tenants, do not pay for the electricity that they are using. Today, the council are building two rooms, in the back-yard, and encouraging the tenants to move off the property. Apparently, the economics of saving electricity; will warrant the investment.

Thirteen, maybe fifteen families, on a piece of ground, 15m X 20m, the original two-roomed house, not changed in 70 years, accept for the porch that was enclosed in the 1950’s, and accommodates a sub-tenant, and the thirteen shacks of various shapes and sizes, that are build around the perimeter fences of the property.

In the far left corner of the property, no grass here, just the very red soil, is the one outside toilet, with the only source of water, the one water tap feeding off the toilet system.

The occasions, when a few quarts of beer are being consumed, by young men, and sometimes the older woman, sitting in the early morning sun, maybe playing drafts, or just chatting; is a magic experience for the visitors.

Soweto tour guide, Sibongile, the best, we miss her.
Soweto tour guide, Sibongile, the best, we miss her.

Always a friendly welcome for all, interaction between the groups, smiles, and confusion, as they all jockey for the opportunity, to have a few words with the visitors.

What is not obvious to the visitor, during this brief excitement, is just how structured life on these properties is. With thirteen families, and possibly 40 people moving in and out the commune, the toilet hygiene, and use of the washing facility, washing lines, and such, all needs to be shared and strictly controlled. Add to this the fact that there are five different language groups / indigenous groups, living in this commune; this commune; is an example to the rest of the world, on how to live in harmony. 

The little children, moving around the property, seem to belong to the community, and it is difficult to distinguish, the mother child relationships.

At the top of Rathebe Street we approach a T-junction, it only appears to be a T-junction but if you look carefully it is clearly a traffic circle. This traffic circle has the community offices built on the circle and should remain a ‘beacon’ reference point for movement around Orlando East.

Rathebe Street, cnr Sofasonke, at Community Offices

Should you wish to the Apartheid Museum en route to Johannesburg, using local taxi transport, please just enquire at this circle, the Baza Baza and Chikani taxi route passes this circle, making it an ideal alternative in and our of Soweto, via the Apartheid Museum. Just make sure the driver and passengers knows that you wish to visit the Apartheid Museum.

Using the local shared taxi on your Soweto Tour is an experience
Using the local shared taxi on your Soweto Tour is an experience

Keep right into Sofasonke Street, keeping the community office behind you, and follow the arrow towards where you will catch a local taxi to the Bara taxi rank, from where you will continue your visit through Bara, visiting Sun Valley and Kliptown on your next link:

The payment method in local shared taxi will amaze when on Soweto Tour
The payment method in local shared taxi will amaze when on Soweto Tour

Note:

You need to remember that your T3 bus, leaves off Mooki Street Orlando East, and this is what you need to know when you are returning from a visit away from Olrando.

The map that follows will keep you orientated, we include Sofasonke’s house and Pashia’s Shebeen.

Orlando East1

The James Mpanza history will follow shortly off this post:

REFLECTIONS ON SOUTH AFRICA

REFLECTIONS ON SOUTH AFRICA

Courtesy Anglo Boer War website: Post 1

Social media gives us varied understanding on who we are and what our heritage is. In Reflections on South Africa, we will regularly post a few links to give insight into what we see as our heritage.

Plaatje: Report of the Lands Commission:

The report reflects on the status of land use in 1913:

Cape Colony is about 83 3/4 million morgen in extent.

It is usually referred to as: —

THE COLONY PROPER: 

78,800,000 MORGEN, feeding

560,000 WHITES and 

1,090,000 BLACKS, with their 1,603,625 cattle, 240,000 horses and 20 million sheep and goats; and

THE TRANSKEIAN NATIVE TERRITORIES: 

5,000,000 MORGEN, feeding

20,000 WHITES and 

900,000 BLACKS, with their 1,111,700 cattle, 90,000 horses,  3 1/2 million sheep and goats, and more poultry and pigs than in the Colony Proper.

Comment:

This report excludes the crop farming, much in the hands of the black farmer.

Of importance in this reflection is that there were 1,090,000 blacks in the Cape Colony proper in 1913 when the Native Land Act was introduced.

Subscribe to REFLECTIONS ON SOUTH AFRICA 

http://www.angloboerwar.com/books/131-plaatje-native-life-in-south-africa/2801-plaatje-report-of-the-lands-commission

Elephant walks over Kruger Park fence

Elephant walks over Kruger Park fence

On Monday December 15, the Matiyani Bird Guiding club members take me for a walk in the area between our village and the Kruger National Park and there we discover a rogue elephant walks over the fence.

Within twenty meters of reaching the Kruger fence, we find the tracks of an elephant that has breached the fence.

It had rained in the Village from Friday through to Sunday afternoon late, and the prints observed are in a water-way, so the elephant would have passed during the night, or early morning.

From the photo’s you will see that the elephant hardly skipped a step as he, or she, breached the fence.

The fence is not designed to keep the elephants in, but very cleverly returns to prevent poachers from entering the park.

My first response is to track the elephant, one item on my bucket list, but the guides are afraid, they have had family members killed by an elephant.

These guides are being trained to escort visitors safely though the Village birding zone, so I need to sacrifice my bucket list item, in the interests of their future safety.

What it does do, is wake me up to giving them a lesson on how to respond should they ever come across one of the Big 5, outside the park.

Cedric

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DSC01680DSC01681DSC01678DSC01684DSC01674DSC01683Join us for a walk on the wild-side.