Category Archives: Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Morning Olympics

In the quest for Olympic gold, Africa must be a favourite for the Breaking of Day competition….


Her sunrises can be fast or slow, gradual or intense – but always a small miracle of nature.


Animals know that dawn will conquer night’s darkness, announcing the new day.


On the banks of rivers, birds will sing their praises, celebrating, calling, chirping in the misty light filtering through the haze.


And man will, like he must, rekindle last night’s embers to brew a mug of coffee.


Others aren’t so spoilt – a long, cool, drink will slake that night-thirst just as well.


Jep…Africa should be assured of a podium finish – even the King thinks so.

The Problem with Democracy

“I am the biggest,” Elephant said, “you need protection. So it’s only natural that you must vote for me.”


“Oh no,” Jackal countered. “You guys need somebody clever as a leader. Look, I know where to get food for free! I am your only choice.”

Mrs Ball's.jpg

“You’re all ssso ssstupid and sssilly!” Snake’s disgusted voice silenced the argument for a while. “You need to have a leader who is in touch with matters on ground level! Forget the lofty argumentsss…vote for me!”


“Oh, shut your traps!” Lion had enough! “I represent royalty! I have a reputation! How can you not vote for me?”


But, sadly, the voters didn’t care. The drought had brought on a terrible famine.  Hunger and fear – so much more that policies – made them vote for the candidate who had no intention of fulfilling his promises. When Baboon promised green pastures, plenty of rain, freedom to do what they want – and said that all animals would have equal rights, he knew it would be impossible to deliver. “The carnivores,” he said, “are the criminals. They steal our land and eat us. When I’m in charge, there’ll be peace. I’ll get rid of them.” Of course, he couldn’t look them in the eye…


And so, when the day of the election dawned, all the animals voted. Monkey, being the most numerous of all, had the biggest say in the outcome.


There was chaos afterwards. There was no free food, no strong animal to guard them, no freedom and plenty of fear.


“That’s the problem with elections,” Secretary Bird sighed. “Smoke and mirrors. Promises of change? Hah! When will we learn to vote with for good, upright individuals who have already served the community, shown that they really care and proved that they are qualified to deliver on their promises? Sadly, we get what we vote for: lots of words and no change. It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent. It’s the ones most responsive to change. Darwin said it and we still don’t get it.”



Weekly Photo Challenge – Cherry on Top

He’s been walking for a day-and-a-half; if he doesn’t find water, the desert would have won. But…he knows the area and he knows the tradition of his people. If only he could see their marker, he’d be alright.

Ah…there it is!


To a stranger, it’s just a heap of twigs. Nothing to stand out in the barren wilderness. He knows better…


First, he’ll thank the unknown man who did this. Then, carefully and with the necessary respect, he’ll remove the camouflage.


Uncovering the hidden treasure needs time and patience. Breaking the egg would be disastrous.


Is it dry? Has the water evaporated? Noo…there it is – the cherry on top! Cool, clear, water.


Now he has to do the right thing: find the man who hid the water, thank him…and then fill up the ostrich egg again.


Weekly Photo Challenge – Half-light…

The Challenge: Share a  half-light photo inspired by a poem, verse, song lyric or story.


Okay: here’s the Rolbos entry, titled: Zuma Sunset.

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It is the evening of the day,
I sit and watch the children play.
Smiling faces I can see
But not for me,
I sit and watch as tears go by.                                                    M Faithful


Weekly Photo Challenge: Life in Harmony

“Every event in Nature has a unique harmony and rhythm.” ― Joseph Rain.

Harmony fills the residual vacuum after emotion is removed from a situation – if we’re lucky. When only the facts of a matter is considered, one is left with one of two possible outcomes. Anger and acceptance cannot coexist in the same space, after all.

Harmony – the holy grail so lacking in society – has proven to be an extremely illusive goal. In my search for harmony, I have found some striking pointers in nature to chart the way into the unknown.

IMG_4302.JPGIt seems as if the younger members of most species are quite prepared to be unafraid and to share whatever they have. We, on the other hand, thrive on fear (why else do we listen to the politicians?) and tend to hoard. Innocence lost, indeed…IMG_4353.JPGTenacity…we’ve lost the will to persist. If at first we don’t succeed, we give up. Harmony so often requires a sustained effort  – and then rewards us with grace.IMG_3619.JPGHarmony is a reflection of the state of mind. It is the product of the past. In the tranquility of acceptance, we can reach for the sky.IMG_4753.JPGHarmony is the balance between sun and shade. Once we allow the sun to shine on others, we are often surprised at the response. Individuals who are also striving towards joy and beauty will respond in kind – even though they are rare. But…we’ll never know who they are until we reach out, will we?IMG_4881.JPGHarmony has always been there, waiting patiently. It is there, even now. The turmoil burdening the journey to contentment, frequently only exists in the eye of the beholder. A favourite quote attributed to Paulo Coelho: ‘Everything will be okay in the end. And if it isn’t okay, it’s not the end…yet.IMG_5490.JPGSadly, harmony sometimes only reveals itself in the later stages of life. When the day is done, the sword safely back in the scabbard and tranquility finally is allowed to surface – that’s when, at last, we discover the liberating joy of dancing to the rhythm of Life.


Weekly Photo Challenge: State of Mind.

I believe that moods, though universal, are more pronounced in Africa. Here you won’t find the stiff upper lip or diplomatic smile. Pretence, the way so many individuals ply the art of  make-believe to present themselves to others, has no place on a continent that forces you to be honest. This is evident not only in the turmoil we live with every day, but also in the people living here as well as Nature.

Literature is a treasure of wisdom. It says so much of our continent and…our times.

“When we want mood experiences, we go to concerts or museums. When we want meaningful emotional experience, we go to the storyteller.” ― Robert McKee, Story: Style, Structure, Substance, and the Principles of Screenwritingb5

“Music is energy. A mood, atmosphere. Feeling.” ― Kurt Cobainb6

“I suppose one must be serious sometimes.” ― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian GrayIMG_4986

“A performance must capture or communicate with the mood and feelings of that very moment.” ― Unarine RamaruPetro 9

“The first few moments of the day are some of the most important as they can determine the mood for the rest of the day.” ― Daniel Willeyj6

Modern, ancient, animal, man and nature: state of mind always directs us toward an uncertain future. But, as Voltaire summed it up so nicely: “When life is a shipwreck, we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats….”Trip 2012 306

Weekly Photo Challenge: Seasons

IMG_5759Life starts off with promises and dreams, unlimited horizons and infinite potential.

a2This, however, is an illusion. Life is a vast and lonely place – a series of individual challenges that’ll test even the most courageous to the utmost limits.a5At last, having survived the seasons of drought and plenty, the realisation dawns: Hope, Love and Faith are choices and not guaranteed in any way. Life is, in fact, what actually happened while we were making other plans.a4And then we take note of failures and mishaps and unfortunate events – all of these steering us to abandon wild dreams and false promises.

Somewhere between the illusive mansion of expectation and the ruins of reality, contentment awaits. Satisfied with so much less but with the firm belief that the best is yet to come, we soldier on bravely.188_8855Until, with the comfort of a faithful companion, we look back at the seasons of our lives – remembering the successes and failures. It’s been quite a journey but worth every drop of sweat, every tear, along the way. This is the season too – because we finally understand  – we are able to embrace the unlimited horizons and infinite potential that were promised in the beginning.

Vibrant Bo-Kaap

Colour is an emotional issue in South Africa. It gets in the way of both national politics as well as individual common sense. It’s almost as if people have forgotten to celebrate diversity and the wonder of individuality. To form a Rainbow Nation – so it is thought – people have to coalesce to embrace a concept that requires the amalgamation of the masses into a single culture.

In the Bo-Kaap (Upper Cape Town), this is not the case. Culture, tradition, religion and individuality are joyously exhibited – and lived – for all to see. The community welcomes inquisitive tourists into their homes. They know their neighbours and their families. They spend endless hours in the streets, swapping stories and discussing family matters. It is surely the most colourful place in South Africa.

Take a walk down the cobbled street with me. These stones used to be ballast in the old sailing ships visiting the Cape.


The drab suburb suddenly erupts in a kaleidoscope of colours, overwhelming the senses.

B6Here street art does not follow the trend to deface buildings with amateurish graffiti.

How to camouflage your dustbin? Easy! Add colour and suddenly nobody sees the garbage bin anymore!


The mosque towers over it all. The community (mostly) follows the Muslim faith, but you won’t find them excluding other religions. Live and let live – in kindness – is the philosophy of the people you meet here.B7

The Bo-Kaap is almost like an arched gateway to a new way of thinking about society. Colour? Yeah, man! It shouts optimism, whispers hope and asks so little. Just be…and let be.


And maybe, at the end of your walk through this historical area, you’ll see the smile we all hope to have – the smile that says: “I’m me. And you know what? That’s good enough.”


Ah, yes, colour! We don’t have to build a monument for it.

We already have one, right here in the Cape…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Optimism…

Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. – Nelson Mandela.

This is true, especially in Africa, where the sun is such a prominent presence. But it cuts deeper than merely the physical, doesn’t it?

c2Mothers guard their young with  worried frowns. What about tomorrow? What dangers lurk in the shadows of the night? How shall I manage?IMG_4786The young bachelor is lost and lonely – will he find that special someone, that ultimate mate to share his life with? How does one go about it? How to avoid the many mistakes waiting in the future? And…will he be good enough to match what she has to offer?

IMG_4846Camouflaged in the desert, the chameleon might well ask what has happened to the trees? His family has it so good, so easy – and he has to make do with so little. Does that mean he didn’t make the grade; that he is being punished for something? The pessimist is prone to depression –  will he give up, surrender, and slink away to mope in the vast empty space around him?

IMG_5000a.jpgIndeed, Life regularly seems to turn her back to us, leaving us wondering what it’s all about.

IMG_5116aWith so many predators around, any single individual becomes prone to doubt. Life seems to blur as we tend to consider the problems bigger than the solutions. Is there – when all is said and done – any sense in going on? Should one not just wallow in the profound pessimism that surrounds us, give up…and die?

IMG_4670But then – oh, the bliss! – we look up at the sun and don’t get blinded by its rays. For look, there is the promise; the rainbow; bringing hope. It lures us on and on, for no matter how heavily pessimism weighs us down, it’s darkness can never outshine the brightness of hope.

In the words of Helen Keller – arguably the epitome of optimism and an example to us all: “Be of good cheer. Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.”


Weekly Phot Challenge: Lioness vs Gravity

“I am,” the lioness said, “the queen of all around me. I rule supreme. In fact, I get to choose where I sleep, and nobody – and nothing – will disturb my well-earned rest.”110_1026

Right then, a big, ripe marula fell on to her head. The lioness looked around in surprise.


“What..who..dared do that? I said no disturbance! In plain English! What can be unclear about that?” (Growl!!!)


“It’s called gravity, you stupid. What goes up, must come down. It’s true for everything, even for lionesses with an ego problem.” The long-suffering lion was bemused, to say the least.

110_1028The lioness asked her sister, who said the same thing. “And don’t always argue with our husband. You may be queen, but he is the king. Come on down and stop making a fool out of yourself.”

110_1030 “Oh, all right. I’ll come down, but not because of a stupid law of nature. I’ll come down – regally – because I want to.”


“Oh don’t be such a sourpuss,” the sister scolded the disgruntled lioness. “Come, I’ve got our husband’s Master Card and I’ve just returned from the spa. Why don’t we do some retail therapy? I saw some Impala nearby…”

IMG_5444The lion was much saddened when he heard that. Bank balances, he knew, were just like Marulas. And his dear lioness, much like gravity. His balance was going to go one way…down!