Tag Archives: history

A wonderful museum

I’ve seen many small town museums in South Africa but the one in Genadendal in the Western Cape is one of the better ones, if not; The Best!

Genadendal is neglected by the tourism industry and maybe that’s good; I don’t like ‘tourism traps’ and this oldest mission station (founded in 1738) of the African Continent still breaths as life stood still for a few centuries. Once taken the turn into Genadendal (between Caledon and Greyton in the Western Cape, South Africa) follow the signs to the old village and disappear from the contemporary world in this open air museum. In this living history museum you will find amongst others a working water mill, a blacksmith, woodworker, potter and paper making. In the ‘print museum’ one can discover that printing in the old days was more complicated than a click on the mouse. And there is more like a visit to the Moravian Church, the museum (with 25 exhibition rooms), the herb garden, the honey maker, etc. etc. Oh … and whatt about the oldest fire-engine and oldest pipe-organ of South Africa?

Take a day or so… Genadendal (meaning: ‘Mercy Valley’) is a 90 minutes drive (rural pace) from central Cape Town. Tourists, once escaped the Mother City to the other side of the mountain, tend not to return to Cape Town except to the airport… ūüėČ

An impression in 25 pictures:

The South African whose funeral attracted more Afro-Africans than that of Nelson Mandela

From history people can learn that history is always repeating itself. Unfortunately history is not high on the list of subjects in education so people forget or are unaware of the existence of certain events. I’m not a South African but Dutch living in South Africa and, while not pretending to know it all, I do know that I know more about the South African history than the average South African.

Smuts1Why am I writing this? Yesterday I was in my favourite South African bookshop and noticed some books about one of the most prominent South Africans of all times: Jan Smuts. Unfortunately the Wikipedia article does not mention everything except that Smuts walked on Ghandi’s sandals, was mentioned in one of Albert Einstein’s writings, had dealings with Winston Churchill, etc. etc. If the ‘General’ had won the 1948 elections there wouldn’t have been ‘Apartheid’ to the extend it grew into¬†under the Broederbond (brotherhood) supported National Party. Neither does it say that many (white) South Africans moved out of the country after the 1948 elections in which Smuts was defeated.

Smuts’ funeral (15 September 1950) attracted more people (especially native¬†Africans) than that of Nelson Mandela. How people forget … W.F. de Klerk’s older brother wrote in 1975 (!!!) “The Puritans in Africa‘ with as subtitle ‘A Story of Afrikanerdom‘ (Published by Penguin Books, UK).

About the last days and the funeral De Klerk writes:

“…. From everywhere in the world, inquiries and good wishes started pouring in to Doornkloof. From everywhere advice and a variety of medicaments were sent. ‘Never did he speak any words of criticism or bitterness of his political foes,’ his physician recounted. ‘The only tone of disappointment I ever noted during my conversations was against those of his fellow-Afrikaners who, he thought, did not regard him as one of them because he thought wider than the South African scene’ …..

…… At each station on the way …. the speed was slackened to permit the standing crowds on the platforms to pay their last respects. Crowds of all races… were on the station. At Irene Station, near his home, an African children’s choir stood to sing the train through the platform lined with flowers. At Olifantsfontein, Africans lined the fences along the rail track, heads bowed, hands folded. A quarry edge was lined up with silent watchers ………. ” ¬†¬†etc. etc.

Again: Why am I writing this? Standing in the bookshop, seeing and picturing the ‘Smuts collection’, I recalled the paragraph I just quoted and wondered if Mandela’s funeral wouldn’t have been more respectful this way than the political propaganda spectacle it was made into last year …

 

 

Play Day 7

Tuesday 12 November goes into history as ‘My Play Day’. I’m still exploring different techniques in photo processing. I know what I want and also know it’s a long road of achievement. I can see my own style in the distance but still have to hone (refine) my skills. During this historical day I’ve been merely working on monochromes (with a few exceptions) and in such a way that the result sometimes leans towards graphics. What you ¬†see in this series is not really extraordinary; it’s just one of those phases I have to go through…..¬†Leanne Cole¬†is so right in mentioning picking up ideas (etc.) here and there but never copy; just for the evolvement towards your true own ‘image’; in my case ‘Imaginaries‘.

blLandscape9

Play Day 6

Tuesday 12 November goes into history as ‘My Play Day’. I’m still exploring different techniques in photo processing. I know what I want and also know it’s a long road of achievement. I can see my own style in the distance but still have to hone (refine) my skills. During this historical day I’ve been merely working on monochromes (with a few exceptions) and in such a way that the result sometimes leans towards graphics. What you ¬†see in this series is not really extraordinary; it’s just one of those phases I have to go through…..¬†Leanne Cole¬†is so right in mentioning picking up ideas (etc.) here and there but never copy; just for the evolvement towards your true own ‘image’; in my case ‘Imaginaries‘.

blLandscape8

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….