Tag Archives: weekly photo challenge

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.”

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

We already have one, right here in the Cape…

Photo Challenge: Transitional Normality.

We all start life filled with hopeand innocence. Oh, parents mean well, don’t they? But how can anyone prepare a child to live in a world where hope and innocence are so easily lost? Teaching a child to be a ‘normal’ member of society often leads to a life of pretence – you have to act, speak, talk and exercise your choices in an ‘acceptable’ manner; denying the instinct to be an individual with unique characteristics.

t1We grow up, losing much along the way. And then we get to that point in the woods, where the two roads diverge, just like Robert Frost promised it would…

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‘Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth…’

t3Of course we choose one…expecting to find rest, comfort, good fortune…and possibly, Love. That is, after all, the promise of ‘normality’…isn’t it?

t2Sadly, all too often these dreams are shattered by the thorny seat we eventually find ourselves in. Here the dreams of a quiet life, ‘normal’ relationships and peace are shattered by the reality of the outcome of our choices. Pretending to be content, just isn’t good enough any more.

IMG_2528That’s when we begin to realise: ‘normal’ doesn’t mean a thing. It’s time to shun pretence and follow the heart. If it raises a few eyebrows, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter at all.

t5And then, having lost so much and found so little – we start afresh: finding happiness in simplicity; hope in reality and love in the most unexpected place. Love isn’t out there, waiting for us to find it; love has all along been  inside us; the sad  prisoner of pretence. Only once those walls are shattered, can we reclaim the hope and innocence we were born with. That’s when we dance on sunshine…

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Dove behind the Grid. (A short, short story)

Once upon a time (long, long ago) people lived in harmony. Kindness was considered more important than conflict. And the white dove – the sacred sign of peace – flew over the expanse of Earth, bringing a message of quiet humility to all.

d1Then Man started arguing about religion…

The end.

The Mother Angle

Never forget about the mother…even in nature. It’s an angle to be considered whenever the bully tries to show off.

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“Oh, we’re all covered with ticks,” Mother said, rumbling noisily. “Come and join us for a dust bath.” Little Bull, feeling a bit independent, didn’t want to bath with the rest of the family. Grumbling that he was old enough to do his own thing, he wandered off a little while to have some privacy. Puberty is such a difficult time!.

an 2But Bully Bull  thought this was the time to show off. Interrupting Little Bull’s ablutions, he tried to intimidate him.

an 5Poor Little Bull. He was no match!

an 4“Mom! Mom! Bully is at it again!”

an 6“Come on, Mom, I’ll show you who did it. Whaaaaa!” And Mom singled out Bully Bull to give him a piece of her mind.

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Telling her son that not all elephants were created equal, she led her son off into the thicket. “Those young bulls from that herd? They simply have to impress others with their short tempers. It doesn’t work like that, Little Bull. Come, lets finish that bath.”

an 8And that’s what the whole family did.

The angle? Listen to your parents, they know best (even if you are a teenager!). And never, never forget that a mother will always put a bully to shame.

Weekly Photo Challenge: A Creepy African Fairytale.

They knew it would happen one day – the old people had been warning them of the danger for years by then.

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“There’s a bogeyman in the woods. He watches us all, day and night. If you show any signs of life, he’ll come and get us all.”

IMG_5544a But you know how it is. Young love will not be denied…it’ll find a way, somehow. And it did. Wanting to get married, they invited their families to join in celebrating their joy.

IMG_5590bIt was a real dandy occasion. They whooped it up till late in the night, forgetting all about the bogeyman.

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And the bogeyman came, ravishingly hungry and ready to cook them all in his big pot.

IMG_4997aBut the slewed elephant, the king of the forest, would not allow it. He stomped out of the trees in rage, rushing to the rescue of the family.

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Then, using the magic only slewed elephants know, he turned the ugly bogeyman into a colourful guard at his palace door.

And yes, you know the rest…they lived happily ever after.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Underfoot

In this challenge, I want to get away from the act and leave the Stage of Life where where we stomp feet and laugh where the script calls for it. No longer a puppet to the playwrights of the world, I need to escape; I need to  get back on solid ground…

Woordfees 013a For:

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,                                                              W. Shakespeare

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But wait….

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep.                                                                                             R. Frost

IMG_2453aAnd so…

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.                                                                                      R Frost

IMG_4817No more crowds for me, No more pretence. Because:

From childhood’s hour I have not been

As others were; I have not seen

As others saw; I could not bring

My passions from a common spring.                                                                        Edgar Allen Poe

x15The answer is in the dream of quiet solitude …

For this is where the mind is content

This is where the Soul leaves its print…                                                                 Scott Mcintire

Close Up Natural Facials…and naked fear

So there I was, camping in the wilderness and fascinated by the animals on the plains. What would happen – I wondered – if I asked them nicely for a few close up portraits? I had to find out.

c3Zebra didn’t mind at all, although she insisted on combing her mane first. She wanted to look her best.

c5Elephant couldn’t care less and ambled past. “You have once chance, Buddy. Then leave me alone…” The threat was unmistakable.

c2Mrs Aardwolf wasn’t interested either. Her new baby needed all her attention and left no time for cosmetics or a visit to the hair salon. “Come back in three month’s time,” she pleaded, “I’ll try to look a bit more presentable then.”

c4The young lovers were…er…busy. “Please…this is a private moment. Leave now or face the consequences. Stick around and you’ll see….”

c1That’s when I heard the roar behind me. The camera bumped against my hip as I ran back to the vehicle, snapping the shot.

Up close? Maybe not a macro, but close enough…

Weekly Photo Challenge: The colours of the rainbow..

Colour defines Africa. Across the world, people assume it’s a  Black/White thing, with colonialism and politics dominating the conversation at the mention of Africa’s hues. But over here, we revel in the true colours of the continent and it’s cultures.
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There are the red Himba people, proud traditionalists and fiercely independent. Red ochre, herbs and fat help to enhance the natural beauty of the women.

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And yes, there are green forests – plenty of them. The most beautiful green in the whole wide world, however, is found next to unexpected little streams in the desert.
breekyster 2010 140aBlue is for the sky. No Telephone poles, no power lines, no sign of man’s invasion. Africa’s blue heaven is a statement of her unblemished purity – a haven of peace when you leave the cities and the townships behind.

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It’s not that man doesn’t add colour to the environment. In the remote bush pubs tourists and lorry drivers leave mementos to spice up the scene.

IMG_3001Yet. nothing beats the colours of a real rainbow, like this permanent one at Victoria Falls. The symbolism is there for all to see: despite the raging torrent, the cascade and the noise, the rainbow hovers quietly to assure us that beauty can be found if you view anything from the right angle.

Weekly Photo Challenge: En Route…

Escape! Get out of the city and the rush! The engine’s steady growl is the confirmation that you’re leaving the mad world of pretence behind and that you no longer have to put up with all those artificial smiles in the office.

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Now it’s only the open road, peace, tranquility.

aa1The tar stops and the gravel road beckons. Mountains ahead promise isolation.

aaThis is more like it! A splash of green suggests water nearby as the sun beats down.

aaAt last: freedom….

e4Now: change the default setting to: Recharge

Weekly Photo Challenge: Broken – a sad and common tale

There once lived a two friends in a poor suburb of a large city. The one was happy to continue his father’s business as a carpenter, but the other always wanted more; he swore he’d rise  rise above mediocrity.

b3He bought a flashy car with money he borrowed, and set out to establish himself as an important businessman in the city.

b2His business thrived, allowing him to approach the bank for another loan to buy a villa near the sea.

b1He’d often invite his carpenter-friend over, bragging continuously about the modern conveniences in his mansion. The carpenter was impressed with his friend’s wealth and often expressed his admiration for the success his old friend achieved.

b4“How can you afford such luxury?” The carpenter marvelled at the splendour of it all. His friend laughed and said anybody could live like a king: “Dream big, my friend. Impress people. You’ll see how easy it is if you talked to some moneylenders.”

IMG_3510But the carpenter didn’t do that. He loved working in his father’s old shop where he fashioned chairs and tables for the rich people’s houses.

b5One day, a strange thing happened: the bank demanded repayment of their loans. They used words like ‘inflation’, ‘credit squeeze’, ‘world-wide recession’ and ‘regrettable circumstances’.

b6The wheels of industry ground to a halt and the businessman went bankrupt. The bank sold everything he had, forcing him to live on the streets.

IMG_3122On a cold and rainy night, he breathed his last and was buried in a pauper’s grave.

Trip 2012 415The carpenter lived to a ripe old age, often remarking on the luxurious life of the rich and the famous. “But,” he’d then quickly add, “it just isn’t worth the sacrifice.”