Whale Watching

Hermanus in the Western Cape, South Africa attracts many tourists for whale watching. Even in season (June-December) it can happen that there are days that you hardly see any and other days it’s a joyful sight seeing them play as far as the eye reaches. Yesterday, virtually the end of season, they were very quiet but just before I went back to Stanford I could make a few shots and added together with photoshop it looks like real. And I realize now that many (commercial touristic) shots of whales nearby a beach are manipulated ….. Best is to go with one of those whale watching boats and a telelens mounted on your camera to obtain a nice close-up.

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Split personality

Sometimes I hear people tell me that “… you say what you think” and with that telling me not to believe one word of their stories. Thinking, saying and doing are three different entities in our existence and getting to know each other and building up true lasting friendships has everything to do with the ability of not only opening your mind and your heart but also showing that ‘thinking’, ‘saying’ and ‘doing’ are one despite our dark secrets. Come to think of it; we’re all ‘split personalities’ and I am not an exception. We all have an ‘alter ego’ and this realization goes back to the early days of humanity and religion. There has always been ‘good’ and ‘evil’; a ‘God’ and a ‘devil’. In South African cultures there is the ‘Tokkelossie‘ or tokoloshe/tikoloshe (‘uthikoloshe‘) which represent the ‘evil’ and since everybody thinks that he/she is a good person the influence of a ‘Tokkelossie’ has to be avoided at any cost; going that far that some people believe that once put your bed on stones the ‘Tokkelossie’ does nog have a chance to pollute your ‘good being’ during your sleep.

Who am I; a ‘good’ or an ‘evil’ person? I think we all have both and some of us have more ‘good’ and the other more ‘evil’ although not many ‘evil’ people will admit that they are. And than we also have to define ‘good’ and ‘evil’. Is, for example, a mother who steals bread to be able to feed her children an ‘evil’ person? Pretty sure that there is a large grey area in which ‘good’ and ‘evil’ overlap each other. Who am I to judge?

In the recent past I published some photoshopped self-portraits. Here I publish three of them. The first picturing who I think I am; the second how others might see me and the third how I see my true self in (which?) mirror.

Images in one impression

Remember me going to the Graduation Ceremony of the pre-primary school in a nearby location (township) in South Africa? Well here is what I distilled from the few hundred pictures I made. It’s about children and the joy people have despite severe poverty. And also about a community leader as one of the many who made it all possible. There is not much written history about the different tribes in South Africa and certainly not much from books is known to people in communities like this. But they inherited a story-telling culture and history flows in one or another way from generation to generation. Not the history of facts but a history of ancestry and spirituality. Due to influences of modern times the cultural heritage is threatened with ‘uprooting’ leaving people without knowledge about their cultural background and without hope, without future….

Flower portraits

Virtually every day I picture flowers in our garden. Me and Yvonne are privileged to live in an area with a year-round floral display. Most of the pictures are erased while they are still on the memory-stick of the camera; some of the others by second thought on my iMac. Flowers are natural art; especially when you look more closely. It’s fascinating! And it’s not only the flowers …….


The Swing and some more pictures of ‘township’ Die Kop

Yesterday afternoon we went to the graduation ceremony of the pre-primary school in the location (‘township’) near our village. It’s a privately funded school and supported by all parents and others of the little community named Die Kop (= the Head). It’s also one of the best pre-primary schools in South Africa and seemingly the provincial and national government are not aware of this or keep their eyes closed… Anyway once there I took the opportunity to make some pictures and ‘guided’ by one of the previous pupils of the pre-primary I had a ‘grand tour’ and I can assure you that more ‘privileged’ South Africans should do the same. It’s an eye-opener!!! Meeting people who are able to make something our of nothing; experiencing great true hospitality ….. so much different from the stories especially tourists are told. The organization Food for Thought (more info via: food4thoughtstanford -at- gmail.com donations are always welcome!) has invested quite a lot in this community during the past 10 years and it is one of the relatively few projects in the Western Cape with a sustainable character. It’s in places like this where the seeds of the future of South Africa are germinating. Education is important and so unfortunate that this is so much underestimated by many people in this country. But this is not about politics; I just want to introduce you to a colorful community and silently hope (probably against all odds) that one day more people take the first step to a mutual beneficial understanding… Click on thumbnails for enlargement and get an idea of a ‘portrait of a community’.