Monday, September 10, 2012

Lebombo border post

Approaching the SA / Mozambique Lebombo border post: It's a dead-heavy heat that's lacquered across a mostly colourless, tinderbox-dry pan-flat landscape. It's a parched landscape desperate, and begging, for summer's rain.
As my eyes get bored with staring, they unfocus into a non-present moment. That's the direction of where Samora Machel's plane hit the ground in 1986.
Then, suddenly, the bleakness left over from winter is destroyed, and interspersed, by vast, wonderfully lumo-green banana plantations: for contrast's sake the luscious, flailing palms stand, ironically, soldier-stiff in rich-red loamy soil.
Komatipoort passes in a flash.
Then the wide-flat blue beauty of the Komati River, in less-of-a-flash, flowing fast and hard from last week's first, but faraway rains.
Passport's out.
"No smoking & alcohol allowed", and "no blasphemy", is inscribed on the inside of the luxury bus we're traveling in.
A fresh, strong wind's blowing aggressively from Maputo's direction; amidst this bleakness of the landscape - and the litter-strewn devastation of the no-man's land between borders - it's surreal to smell, and sense, the exotic Indian Ocean so close-by.
I'm also well aware, because it was during my life time, of the ghosts of the war that shredded Mozambique. Also an awareness of the loss of life, mostly always of the poor and downtrodden, and of the ghosts of land-mines (and body parts) this now fine road is built upon.
Nor should we ever forget the sublime 'wars' that the former SA apartheid regime inflicted upon its neighbours.

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