Friday, January 28, 2011


While Egypt burns, the revolution has my support, my lithops - from Oudtshoorn in the Klein Karoo - has flowered. It is as rare an occasion. There's another similarity - yes, unexpectedly, things can flower in harsh, desert conditions.
Fragile and beautiful. Life goes on. God is in the detail. I believe. It's what gets me through. I believe.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Homophobia in Uganda is not ok

I’ve just received a press release about the murder of Ugandan gay rights activist, David Kato, who was mercilessly beaten to death yesterday in Mukono, Uganda.

Mr. Gay South Africa, Francois Nel, with the support of LGBTI NGOs and organisations will be laying flowers at a vigil at the Ugandan High Commission at 882 Church Street, Arcadia, Pretoria, tomorrow afternoon at 5 pm in honour of David Kato.  

According to, David Kato was one of three people featured in Uganda's Rolling Stone newspaper which was this month ordered,  in a court injunction, to stop its anti-gay campaign. Friends of Kato, who did not want to be named, told Reuters he was attacked with a hammer.

Nel said: “The vigil is held to commemorate David Kato's life - for living true to his natural identity - and is a celebration of the work he has done for our community. We will remember you and work harder for a world where we all have equal human rights, irrespective of sexuality. We grieve this sad loss and stand together in solidarity with the LGTBI community in Uganda.”


Expiry of data bundles is theft

Ivo Vegter writes in his itWeb column today that it's time to get serious about the fraud that [South African] mobile operators commit in cancelling data bundles after a given expiry date.
You may have noticed, when you buy a data package, that it comes with an expiry date. Unlike fresh food, which actually goes off and can kill you, there's no valid reason for imposing such a limit. Would you accept it if a petrol station drained your tank and discarded what's left every time you fill up? So why do we accept this outright theft by mobile operators?
Can you taste the bile in your mouth and want to read further? Click here.  

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Day's end

It has poured with rain the entire day and the Elands river flowing through my town is angry-white and close to bursting it's banks.
I've just got home and this is the view that greeted me from my back door. This and my two cats. Happiness.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

On the road

This photo was taken earlier this week (by my friend Ronelle Rust) "on the
road from Malmesbury (in the Western Cape), coming into the silos". It does
something to me makes me yearn for the open road and wide
open spaces. Also for the quality of light that I know is found there, also
in the Karoo.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Heading west

I'm on my way to Johannesburg so that I can register at Wits university tomorrow. I'm going to finish my studies this year.
I left home in a storm of note, and have been enjoying the moody scenery ever since.

Rest day

There's no way I'm even touching my desk today. I've promised myself that going forward I'm going to rest at least one day a week. There was undoubtedly wisdom behind the Biblical concept of chilling on the sabbath.

January Highlands Herald

The January edition of Highlands Herald was put to bed last week, it was
printed on Wednesday, and now the very last of the distribution is just
about done.
We published January late because of the Christmas holidays, and will begin
the February edition tomorrow. It will be printed and distributed by Friday,
4 February.
Outside a storm has begun to rage; my fear is that it is a hailstorm.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

What happened?

"When I was a kid, I dreamed such great dreams. Often, I visualized myself as sports hero or as a business tycoon. I really believed that I could do, have and be whatever I wanted. I also remember the way I used to feel as a young boy growing up on the sun-splashed West Coast. Fun came in the way of simple pleasures. Fun was spending a glorious afternoon skinny-dipping or riding through he woods on my bicycle. I had such a curiosity for life. I was an adventurer. There was no limits on what my future could bring. I haven't felt that kind of freedom for fifteen years. what happened?" - p.49 The monk who sold his Ferrari
This passage sums up how I've been feeling after a particularly stressful and challenging eighteen months of my life. Not pretty. And now I'm fighting my way back from the edge of madness, that's called normality.
I didn't expect to find myself reading this book, but I'm glad that I am.


The temperature in Nelspruit must have reached 40 degrees centigrade today, and the humidity was extreme...and unbearable.
But the very welcome rainstorm on the way home saw the temperature drop dramatically, and pleasurably.
Then, unexpectedly, sunshine, as we ascended the escarpment from the Lowveld up to Waterval Boven.
I lay in the hammock reading but not for was too chilly. And the mosquitoes were on a search & destroy mission.


It's a muggy Saturday afternoon, I'm wearing shorts and slip slops, even so I'm hot and perspiring. I'm on my way to Nelspruit, 93km away, to have lunch with a friend at a restaurant overlooking the botanical gardens. The bushveld is lush after all the rain. It's a beautiful afternoon.

Peaceful evening

I tinkered in the garden until well after dark. It was good for my soul. Then I lit a fire outside and cooked some food. It was a peaceful, enjoyable start to the weekend. Then, before going to bed, I rearranged the kitchen and did all the dishes. I am happy. I want my life to be a simple and straightforward one. A life of wholesome quality.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Almost home

By the time I reach Millys, pictured here, I know I'll be home within 15km. It's also the more intense beauty that drives home the point, no pun intended. And it's an ideal place to get decent the Seattle coffee bar. It's also the best people watching opportunity for at least an hour in each direction, though in that anonymous border post/in-transient kind of way that I love so much.

Mugabe clings on

As Tunisia frees itself we need to keep Mugabe on the agenda, as well as to question why the South African government continues to pussy foot around him. See the latest Big IssueSA's blog entry:: '...Farcical as Mugabe clings to power like a withered barnacle, spurred on by his hyena-like cronies'

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

TV ban

Does anyone else have those inexplicably hideous days where every word, every task is like pushing a one ton granite block up the side of a pyramid? That was my today.
But now I'm sitting outside next to the fire with a glass of shiraz, my body still tingling deliciously from its first, albeit late, run of the year. The moon is unsuccessfully trying to push through low-slung moody clouds giving everything a romantic tinge, while the breeze is picking up into a flapping wind. Storm coming? I hope so.
The other excitement is that the electricity is off and perfect peace, in terms of both noise and light pollution pervades... except now for my neighbours ghastly generator. Unlike me he undoubtedly has a TV.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Obrigado* Canimambo

There's not much that surpasses the travel experience, except perhaps, and quite ironically, coming home to your own bed after a long journey away from home. What undoubtedly enhances travel are the great meals (read 'extraordinary culinary experiences') in unexpected places... as well as the unexpected and highly intense social interactions with other human beings on the 'same level' as you that par for the course. Now imagine bringing these two together... but while travelling!
A restaurant in my own province, of Mpumalanga, that I've often dipped into after a day or few days of being on the local road, is Canimambo in Graskop. It's never let me down.
I love the combination of Mozambican, Portuguese and South African cooking.
I love the friendly staff, like our waiter Maxwell who looked us in the eye and welcomed us, as well as the fact that the host (Lance) leaves you well alone to write your notes, to take your time with whatever, including eating, and that - most of all - his partner (Carla) is hands-on in the kitchen.
That they have Portuguese wine and Mozambican beer is another plus. Also that it's always full with a great mix of locals, local tourists, and foreign visitors.
Not to mention that Canimambo is value for money. On Sunday evening my starter was mussels with cream and garlic sauce (R39.90), while for main I supped on a hearty bean stew with chouriço and smoked chicken (R59.50). (Delicious Portuguese chouriço – sausage - get its distinctive smokiness and deep red colour from dried smoked red peppers). I also made a point of dipping into Steffen's aromatic chicken chauti, a Mozambican dish served with coconut rice and salad (R59.50).
Next time I'm heading straight for their renowned seafood platter. 

Info: +27 13 767 1868
Canimambo Restaurant, Graskop
Corner of Louis Trichardt and Hoof Streets
They have a sister restaurant in Dullstroom, which I'm dying to try. Canimambo also boasts a Platinum Star Award from the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa.
* 'Obrigado' is ‘thank you’ in Portuguese.

Pinnacle posing

The Pinnacle and gorge, just outside Graskop in Mpumalanga, was the
turnaround point of Sunday's road trip. After the bracing, wild
grass-scented air at the escarpment's edge, it was time for sustenance at
one of my favourite restaurants, Canimambo, in Graskop.

Sunday, January 09, 2011


At the Pinnacle viewpoint, just before God's Window, gulping in fresh, fresh air fragrant with the scent from veldt grasses and herbaceous bushes. This is life at the edge...of the escarpment. There's the Lowveld below, and on a clear day Mozambique in the eastern distance I'm sure.

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Crisp green & seedless grapes

I've not been home long, nevertheless it's good to be out of the house, out of the town, and on a road trip of sorts.
Just over the escarpment and down the Long Tom Pass we stopped and while gulping in the view, fresh mountain air and crisp green and seedless grapes. That lifted my spirit somewhat.
Now we're sitting at Harrie's Pancakes in Graskop sharing scrumptious carrot cake and chugging on a stainless steel coffee plunger for two. This has also lifted my spirit somewhat.
A peek through God's Window and to the east would have been good for some spiritual perspective, but I know not to waste my time in this low cloud and drizzle. The persistent curio sellers would undoubtedly peck away at whatever gains I'd made in trying to raise my spirit from the floor.
It's a moody Sunday afternoon at the very beginning new year; grey all-round.
Worst of all the camera on my phone has been broken since November last year, so no images as company to these postings.

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Discipline must follow lethargy

I've had neither the will nor the discipline to write this last month. Last year took everything out of me. I believe, as a powerful side affect, this has left my passion and joie de vivre extinguished. Consequently some of last year's challenges are hanging loose-ended, untied over into this year. Tomorrow the new year kicks into action, so I must stoke my passion and courage to tackle these frayed, stressful ends. And I need to be disciplined.
I pray for wisdom and understanding.

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