As I've mentioned in the last few posts, I'm preparing for the release of my last South Africa memoir which covers a period of nearly twelve years in Johannesburg.
It was possibly one of the most exciting, difficult and challenging times to have been there, but I remember Joburg with great affection. We lived in a number of its suburbs and peripheral towns, five to be precise, and each one has its special memories for me. My favourite was definitely the last, Krugersdorp, but it seems I have no photos of our home there, which is something I find hard to accept.
It's not all that surprising, though, because I rarely took photos at all in those days. Before digital photography, photos were just not something we spent money on. It was actually very expensive to have films developed and printed, especially when so often they didn't come out well. I think we forget now(or at least I do) how lucky we are that digital photography makes it so easy to take hundreds of photos without thinking of cost.
Anyway, I do have a few from those days, and they're very precious to me. I've scanned some of them all, but instead of putting them in the book, I've made a link to an album so that readers can click on them if they want to have a look. The quality isn't very good, but at least they give some visual support to some of my words.
When I think back, much of life in Joburg was fairly mundane: we went to work, spent evenings doing chores and enjoyed our outdoor life at the weekends, but for all that, it was a different kind of life and Joburg was an interesting and incredibly vibrant city. There was so much going on at the time, both politically and socially, but there was no way I could write about it all. Even now I keep thinking of things I haven't included that I feel should have been there. Never mind...maybe I can write a supplement to the book, or follow it up with blog posts. Is it important? Probably not, but South Africa, like everywhere, is changing every year, so in a way, it is history, but the kind of history that might well be forgotten in time.
Here are a few of the photos of some of my favourite neighbourhoods of Johannesburg back in the day. These are some that will be in the album.
|Melville, an old but charming inner suburb|
|Melville's main street|
|Shady walkways in Melville|
|Norwood, or Little Italy as it was known then|
|Norwood café, a favourite Italian restaurant where|
we enjoyed both the food and the real cappuccinos
I should also say we had some terrific adventures during my years in Joburg. Three of the best were to Namibia, Zimbabwe and Lesotho. I posted a couple of photos of our Namibia trip last time, but sadly I can't find any of Zimbabwe at all. However, I went to Lesotho a bit later, in 2000, right at the end of my years in South Africa, so I took one of those disposable cameras that were fairly new and quite popular then. They were great because they came complete with a roll of film installed and once you'd finished the film, you just handed the whole thing over to the photo developers and bought a new one. Hopelessly wasteful really, but I took more photos with disposable cameras than I ever did with my very nice little Olympus Trip 35.
Back to Lesotho, though, the adventure was when we went pony trekking. My friend, Moira, her partner and I did a three day trip through the Lesotho mountains with a small group of other people. We had a guide, Johannes, who was a lovely, friendly soul and we spent the night in a rural village with nothing but absolute basics. I actually wrote about it here on my friend's 50th birthday, so if you'd like to read about the fun and laughter we had, feel free to read the post.
I added a few photos to that one, but as luck would have it, I found a few more, so here are some of them. Lesotho was breathtaking and I would have happily stayed there. I really loved it.
|View over a Lesotho village|
|Roll call for the goats at our overnight village|
|Our accommodation for the night|
|Giving our bums a break on route|
|There aren't many rivers, but this was one we reached....|
|From up here. That's me at the back of the trail, clinging on for dear life.|
It was a very steep descent to the river down there
Well, having immersed myself in memories of SA and Johannesburg during the writing and editing of the book, I am now hauling myself back to the present and what is now my real world, that of the waterways, which I also love. But I do miss South Africa. Very much. Writing about it so intensely has brought back so many of my feelings and impressions of the country that it's hard to let go of them and I find myself looking at properties for sale in places I know and wishing I still had the means to spend some time there every year. Still, as my mother used to say "If wishes were horses then beggars would ride." Bless her. Ever practical and grounded, she was. Not like me. My heart is always packed and poised for the next move.
Well that's it for this week, allemaal. I'll be back to boats and things soon. I've just got to shake of my nostalgic yearnings for my former home....after all, when you look at that scenery, you can't blame me, I'm sure.