Since we live in Napier (Western Cape, South Africa) I’ve been picturing the surrounding landscapes during the past 17 months. Never lived in a place where I experienced continuously changing sky colors/temperatures on such a fast track; sometimes I’ve only seconds to shoot the right image and often I’m too late … The influence of the light on the landscape is astonishing many photographers from around with who I made an early morning trip. It’s a challenging world here.
The open landscapes in this part of the world are ‘layered’ ones with numerous hills and mountains at the horizon. Sometimes I have to go on private property of the farmers and in principle I always ask beforehand. Never had any problems. On the contrary: a real genuine warm hospitality of farmers and their staff; sometimes even touring me around in a four wheel drive to places inaccessible for my car. Last week, for example, I was during the day at Sanddrif Farm about 5 kilometers out of the village just to ask the owner if there were no objections to go on his land. “You can drive and walk here whenever and where-ever”, farmer Jan Wessels answered. While chatting he tells about his farm with 170 (free range) milk cows producing milk for Woolworth (of ‘Woollies’ as some South Africans name this supermarket chain). The farm is self-sufficient meaning that all food is produced on the farm and he has to store (‘opkuil’ as he calls it) grass so he does not have to buy fodder during dry periods. Layer by layer the grass is deposited between two walls and tractors driving up and down on top to compact it. Coarse salt is spread on top of every layer for preservation. Once the ‘tray’ is full it’s covered. In a few months time, during the dry South African Summer months, it’s ready for consumption. It’s also called “silage”. Green fodder is packed airtight so as to ensure fermentation instead of decomposition, thereby preserving its nutritional value.
Quickly scanning the farm I see winged wildlife around and can’t resist to make a few snapshots.
Last week Wednesday all shops in the village were closed. People of the location (township) had the official permission to start of protest march at 5:30 in the morning. Protest marches is South Africa are not always peaceful (or ‘civilized’ if you like). A week before a house was set alight near Hermanus with a similar protest action.
Officially the protest march was against ‘poor service delivery’ but in fact it’s about housing. Out of a one-night-experience I know that staying in a shack of corrugated steel, although reasonable comfortable, is not something to look forward to. First there is the lack of sanitation and during the night with a family of 6 in a space of 20 square meter (separated by hanging sheets) and on a clay floor.. well; it’s damp to use an understatement. From that point of view I can understand why people demonstrate. Unfortunately there are a lot of politics involved and people who are more or less jobless and in poverty move in vicious circles and are prone to ‘smart talk. The service delivery by the municipality here is excellent and if the ‘top brass’ of the ruling party in South Africa would spend less government money on their own luxuries there would be significant more money for housing. The government investment in the house of the president alone (they call that ‘security upgrades) and in the presidential jet (customized Airbus 360), is equal to the investment in almost 10,000 so called RDP-houses. Let leave politics out.
Protest marches like the one in our village usually start with burning tyres. Not this time (the local police took them away 😉 ) and from that moment on the march was peaceful. No damage on property, no fights but a lot of singing and chatting with the guiding police officers. In fact it was quite funny. It could have been a colorful carnival parade if one wouldn’t know better.