Last week we spend 5 days in Hondeklip Bay in the Northern Cape, South Africa. Once this small town was a flourishing fishing and mining community but that all changed. Except for one company the mining industry left (commercially not viable anymore) and the fishing industry was moved to another town 400 kilometers South of Hondeklip Bay.
One of the villagers, a business man himself, stated “Political and corporate gangsterism”. I rather stay out of politics but I could understand. After the industry left no rehabilitation was ever done. To get to Hondeklip Bay one has to drive 56 kilometre on a poorly maintained gravel road and arrive ‘rattled and shaked’ thanks to the corrugated road surface.
And the town itself? Despite poverty there is a positive attitude amongst the population (approx. 1000) but no faith in politics.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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’.