Yesterday Joe and I went to Pretoria to run some errands. We had to visit vendors and pick up a few things for a photo exhibition we’re planning. One such errand brought us to a suburban highway lined with strip malls and big-box stores. It reminded me of home. I saw a sign that said “Wonderboom” and asked Joe what it was. “It’s a tree,” he said. He decided to show me – we turned off the road into the Wonderboom Nature Reserve. We parked in the reserve’s near-empty lot and headed up the path toward the Wonderboom. “There it is,” Joe said, and pointed ahead. I was confused; what I saw ahead looked like an entire forest. That forest was the Wonderboom.
I’m in Pretoria, South Africa’s administrative capital, about an hour’s drive from Joburg. I’m sitting on the terrace of the Sheraton Hotel, sipping a double espresso and watching the action across the road. View of Pretoria from the Union Buildings. Across the road are the century-old Union Buildings, the seat of the South African government. It’s a complex of bronze-colored brick buildings at the top of a steep hill. Below it are acres of terraced gardens with spring flowers blooming. Below the gardens is a vast green field, where 30,000 South African civil servants are gathered. They’re on strike today.