Wonderland

As mentioned in the previous posting our village (Napier, Western Cape, South Africa) has talent. There are many initiatives to bring different communities/cultures (‘heritage’ of Apartheids syndrome’) together. One of these is the annual production of a theatre play. Two years ago it was ‘Cinderella; last year ‘Peter Pan’ and recently ‘Wonderland’ (based on Alice in Wonderland). And … it was a spectacle!!!

The productions are all privately funded (forget about politics: -promises, promises …..) and numerous volunteers involved in dress- and decor making, styling, make up, etc. etc.

Napier is a small town (village if you like) in the heart of the Overberg region; small but with a big heart. There are a few things in which the village is in the top of South Africa. Nowhere in the country are there so many working community initiatives per capita as in this village and, also because of that, it is statistically the safest pace in the Western Cape (also thanks to preventive measurements of the local police in co-junction with communities).

Anyway: it is ‘Wonderland’ in Napier. Here a selection of images (low light 1600 ISO, A 5.6 S between 0.5 and 1/60)

Rain

Yes we had a little bit of rain. And the telecom tower at the horizon is nicely washed. Now they should keep politics away and use it to the full capacity to avoid all those internet problems… 😉

South Korea and Singapore have the fastest and most reliable internet connections in the world (average over 45 mbps in 96% of the time). South Africa is somewhere at the bottom of the list (average 13mbps in 27% of the time). A little bit of wind seems to have a negative effect on the internet speed. Most providers don’t have a back up system in place and if there is one it’s out of order like yesterday of all days when one has a deadline to fulfill in transmitting a few high resolution pictures to a printer.

South Africa’s largest wooden watermill ….

.. in Elim hasn’t been used for quite a while.

Two years ago it was working nicely after a long restoration period and there were big plans for its use (grinding flour, etc.) but it seems that (local?) politics caused non-activity. Pity.

The learning curve

Education is extremely important; always has been. Active knowledge of 1 or two extra languages eases you to travel and experience the bigger world. Unfortunately not all people are able to get the education they deserve; partly by a lack of a good and broad accessible education system (= politics) and partly children/students are not really motivated within their own environment (= culture) such as the case in the country I live in (South Africa). Many parents (most of them but not all privileged) decided to take education in their own hands and home schooling is taking of in this country. But the majority of the people seemingly don’t see the importance of education and keep their children on the ‘side line’ partly also that parents can’t afford the school fees.

There is still ‘apartheid’ in the South African education system with fairly good education in the ‘White’ schools (nowadays also accessible for ‘non-white children’ but very costly) and there is still ‘Bantu education’ with relatively low school fees but not always the desired quality (= understatement). Knowledge is power and power-without-knowledge results in a ‘phenomenon’ like Julius Malema and his new political party Economic Freedom fighters; merely consisting of members without much education.

Some refreshment is needed ….

learning

Home Sweet Home

These pictures show how millions of South Africans are housed.

To avoid misunderstandings: it’s NOT the homestead of South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma. This guy has always been very privileged … 😉 …; most probably never stayed in a shack (well I did and it was quite an experience. Everything there except electricity and a toilet …)

These pictures are part of a documentary serie I’m engaged in for the NGO Food4Thought which runs the pre-primary school Funimfundo (= ‘Seeking Knowledge’) in the location (township/informal settlement) Die Kop nearby my village. The school is privately funded (no state involved), exists for 10 yrs and is regarded as one of the best in the Western Cape.

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The Lost People

If people (especially the ones from outside the African Continent) are talking about South Africa the conversation is ‘Black’ and ‘White’. But what about the in-between South Africans? These are, with one foot in ancient tradition and the other in contemporary (white) society; the ‘Lost People’.

The ‘Coloreds’ have their own world embedded between vague tradition and misty modern world. Distrusted by both ‘Black’ and ‘White’ they have to find their own way in a ‘dark forest’.

It’s a dangerous world out there or is it here?

lostpeople

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’.