Last November I visited Zimbabwe with Ray‘s family. During that trip, while driving back to Harare after our holiday in Nyanga, we turned off the A14 highway at a small sign for St. Faith’s High School. We were in a Zimbabwean province called Manicaland, a few minutes east of a town called Rusape. We drove for a few kilometers down a bumpy dirt road, sweating in the mid-day heat. Eventually, right in the middle of the bush — in the middle of nowhere, really — we came upon one of the prettiest churches that I’ve ever seen. St. Faith’s Church in Rusape, Zimbabwe. We stopped to visit St. Faith’s — an Anglican church and mission school — for old time’s sake. Ray’s family has a history there. It’s a complicated story but here’s a brief recap: A couple of decades ago Ray’s dad, Tim (who is a historian), visited St. Faith’s as a favor for a colleague. He was looking for a sculptor named Job Kekana. Kekana, who was South African but moved to Zimbabwe in the 1940s to work for a nun named Sister Pauline, had a workshop at St. Faith’s. Kekana specialized in religious woodcarvings and his work appears in churches all over the world. […]
As I said in my previous post, I spent about a week in Zimbabwe with my boyfriend’s family last month. Ray‘s mother grew up in Zimbabwe and Ray visited often when he was a kid. We took many trips down memory lane during our visit, which I found interesting as a newcomer to the family (and the country). Ray’s family at the holiday home they rented in Nyanga. They flew in from all over the world to celebrate Granny’s 90th birthday. Fun bunch. The time we spent in Nyanga, a mountainous area on Zimbabwe’s eastern border with Mozambique, was particularly filled with reminiscing. Ray’s family used to go to Nyanga often on holiday, and we spent much of our visit going back to places that everyone remembered fondly from the past. Before we even arrived in Nyanga, during the five-hour drive from Harare in Granny’s ancient Mazda 323, Ray started talking about milkshakes. Back in the day there was a Nyanga dairy farm where you could watch the cows being milked and buy cream from a little window next to the milking room. There was a tea room on the premises selling ice cream, scones, and milkshakes. “They’re the best milkshakes in the entire world,” said […]
Apologies for the lag in posting lately. My trip to Zimbabwe was a month ago and I’m just writing about it now. Last month I traveled to Zim with Ray‘s family to celebrate his grandmother’s 90th birthday. We spent a couple of days in Harare (the capital) and then four days in Nyanga, in Zimbabwe’s Eastern Highlands. The whole family stayed together in Nyanga, in a rambling mountain holiday house. Nyanga is a magical place. I’ll have more to say about the area as a whole in a future post. Nyanga National Park. But first let me tell you about one of the highlights of the trip — climbing Mount Nyangani, the highest mountain in Zimbabwe. I’m pretty sure I’ve never climbed the highest mountain in any country before so this was a pretty big deal. It wasn’t all that hard, either. And of course the views were amazing. Mount Nyangani is the highest mountain in Zimbabwe at 2592 meters (8504 feet) above sea level. The mountain is inside Nyanga National Park. The sign above states that Mount Nyangani is spiritually important to many Zimbabweans and tourists are asked to respect traditional beliefs. Among other things, you should point at objects with a […]
*Sketch by Fiver Löcker. Greetings, friends. It’s the Melville Cat. It’s been such a long time since I’ve posted; many of you might not even know who I am. Others may have feared I went away. Not to worry though — I’ve been here all along. I’ve just been very busy and haven’t had a chance to write. Here are some images illustrating what I’ve been up to over the last several months: Sleeping on the porch. Sleeping on a bed on the porch. Laying sullenly on the bed as Heather packs for a trip. I do this often, as Heather travels often and it displeases me greatly. Despite my valiant efforts to make her feel guilty, she continues to travel. Hmph. Sitting in the garden with a blasted cone on my head. I also do this often, as I like to fight with other cats and injure myself while Heather is away. As I said, I’ve been busy. Heather has been busy too, which is why she asked me to write this post. She wants me to explain to you why she hasn’t blogged for so long. Last week Heather was in Zimbabwe, a fact that I’m well aware of. Lucky took good […]
Three weeks ago, I was here: I still can’t believe that I jumped off this bridge. Still need to write a full post about it. (Photo by Mark Jackson) Last week and the week before that, I was there: One of countless beautiful baobab trees that I saw in rural Zimbabwe. This tree is in Mount Darwin district close to the Mozambican border. Women singing about prevention of HIV in Chiveso Village, near the town of Bindura in Zimbabwe. See my shadow? This week, I’m here: Back in Joburg, exploring secret tunnels and looking at graffiti. I’ve been doing a lot of this lately. Some above-ground graffiti. There’s my shadow again, and Bias‘ shadow. Bias painted the piece on the right. In two days I’m leaving for another exciting destination, a part of Africa I’ve never been to before. I’ll keep it a secret for now. I’m tired and don’t know whether I’m coming or going at the moment. But this has been and continues to be one of the best months of my life. In other news, I have another SandtonPlaces book launch tonight, at Skoobs Theatre of Books in Montecasino at 7 p.m. Come give us a shout if you […]
I’m in Zimbabwe, halfway through a two-week photography and writing assignment for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF). I’m traveling all over the country — from the capital city of Harare to some of the country’s most remote rural villages and back again — documenting success stories in pediatric HIV and AIDS prevention. The photos and stories that I’m compiling will eventually be published in a book. I can’t show you the actual pictures that I’m taking for EGPAF. But I’m sneaking this one in because it’s one of my favorites. I’ve forgotten this three-year-old girl’s name — I’ve met too many people this week. Her mother is Brenda, a community health worker I interviewed in Dete Village in Mashonaland West province. There is nothing I enjoy more than traveling to remote, beautiful places in interesting parts of the world, talking to interesting people and taking their photos. And there is no better place to do this than Zimbabwe. I hate to sound cliché but this week I have been struck again and again by how kind, open, intelligent, and welcoming people are in this country. I can’t believe how lucky I am to be here doing this work. I’m exhausted though, and I still have another […]
Read parts 1 and 2 of this series. Livingstone, Zambia, was home base during my recent visit to Victoria Falls. But one of the great things about visiting the Falls is that they border both Zimbabwe and Zambia and it’s easy (for most people) to cross between the two countries. My two friends — Michelle #1 and Michelle #2 — and I hopped across the Zambia border into Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe (the town on the Zim side is called Victoria Falls), and spent the day there. Here are some do’s and don’ts for Zimbabwe daytrippers.
Read parts 2 and 3 of this series. I just got back from a quick trip to Victoria Falls and the surrounding area. I visited three countries in four days, saw some of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen on this continent, and took more than 2,300 photos, most of which I’ve hardly looked at yet. I’ll be writing several posts about the trip but I’m too tired to get into it now. Here are a few photos to get things started. Victoria Falls from the Zambia side.
Announcements: 1) A story about my Kruger trip has been published on travelgurus.co.za. Please check it out. 2) 2Summers turned one today! I wrote my first 2Summers post exactly a year ago, six weeks before moving to Jozi. If you want to know how it all started, click here. ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ On to Part 2 of my hiking adventure in the Kruger Park: the vegetable installment. I experienced some pretty incredible (and adrenaline-inducing) animal sightings on my four-day hike through the Pafuri Triangle (see Part 1). But as I sat on the flight home and thought about it, I decided my favorite sightings in Pafuri were plants, specifically trees.
Joe’s brother Jim lives in Gaborone, the capital of Botswana. I’ve been looking forward to visiting Jim as I’m a huge fan of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency novels, which are set in Gaborone (“Gabs” for short). I started reading the series after my first trip to Africa and have been hooked ever since. I think Mma Ramotswe, Botswana’s number one lady detective, is a total bad-ass. Jim and his family are moving to Maun, a town several hours northwest of Gabs. It will be much harder to visit them after they move, so Joe and I cleared our schedules last weekend and made the four-hour drive to Gabs to say goodbye. We had a great time visiting with Jim, his wife, and their adorable 18-month-old daughter.
There’s a big immigration story in South Africa this week. It’s not getting much international attention but it’s important for this country, and the story is timeless and universal in many ways. Zimbabwe, South Africa’s neighbor to the north and once one of Africa’s most prosperous countries, has fallen on very hard times in recent years, and millions of Zimbabweans have fled to South Africa. Estimates vary, but there are between two and five million Zimbabweans here. Most of them are what American immigration officials call “undocumented.” A few months ago the South African government announced that by December 31, all Zimbabweans (or “Zimbos”) living in South Africa must submit paperwork to become legal residents. Those who don’t comply will be deported. December 31 is tomorrow, which has created a fair amount of panic.
If you’re a regular 2Summers reader, you know by now that I’m a big fan of South African street art. For the last few weeks, the bead guys have really stepped up their game, cranking out all kinds of holiday-themed creations and other generally cool stuff. I’ve been looking for photo ops but have discovered that photographing wire bead art is extremely difficult. It’s always displayed in the middle of a busy sidewalk, with cars parked in the background and people constantly tramping by. Plus, when I — an American woman with a camera — convey even the slightest hint of interest in a display of bead art, I am immediately engulfed by eager salesmen shoving beaded animals in my face. It’s hard to capture anything photographically under such circumstances. This is an especially serious obstacle on 7th Street in Melville, a bead artist hotbed.