Friday, August 5, 2011

Grahamstown, Fled (again...)

I'm cramped into the over-packed back of our 4x4 bakkie while Craig navigates us safely from Grahamstown to PE on the notoriously dangerous N2 - terrorised by giant kudu at night, and giant arseholes by day. Overtaking on blind turns is apparently the most fun to be had on this bleak, rainy day in the bundu - and everyone's playing except us! The low-cloud's massively decreased visibility adds a bonus bullet of fun into this Road Russian Roulette. (*eish*)
A few months ago, we were witness to an all too regular South African statistic: a taxi accident that left limbs, and screams, and blood steaming off the summer-tar -- the minibus a crushed accordian of dead and alive. It had only just happened... I desperately wanted to stop, to console or offer my hands in help...but with my little girl in the car, I had to let it go. (At least there were already about 15 cars parked along the side of the road. We crept past too slowly; wordless prayers poured from my eyes: tears.)

(The length of the journey and unrestricted access for a Blackberry addict to her device resulted in the additional 2 photos: my to-do list for when I get my internet set up on my laptop this afternoon (13 months to the day since our arrival back in SA!!) - and my poison for 'ce soir': a Leopard's Leap Shiraz Cinsaut!)
'Men must live and create. Live to the point of tears.' Albert Camus

Thursday, August 4, 2011


I guess this should really be a post for my 'Samp & Sushi' blog which is an emaciated little waif of a blog --- and some advice that Blackberried to me yesterday suggested I may just a few too many blogs... So: I'll 'hide' that one -- and if I am overcome by a desire to write about South African food -- I'll do it here, ok?

One of my favourite things is the juncture between culture, food and graphic-design/packaging : and exactly why I chose this packet of Ace porridge from the breakfast shelves in Pick 'n Pay! I certainly know more than a handful of South African who would reject it with scorn for the exact same reason I chose it: it's Africanness. How just looking at it amongst the rest of the Kelloggs and Bokomos tells you about a dry, dusty red road, and the long walk home, her groceries gracefully balanced upon her head, and slumbering toddler upon her back. It must be the unfettered absence of visual seduction: no strong cardboard boxing, or glossy, hallucinogenically gaudy graphics emboldened by brand ambassadors we can't say no to: the jean-size dropping, white leotarded brunette brandishing her tape-measure like an accusing snake, or the 'Mommy, I want ________' cartoon-lures.

For me, the Ace packaging makes me taste the maizey soulfulness of my gran's 'pap en wors'. It sings to me about the samp-and-beans of my schoolday afternoons. Perhaps, though, it is a reminder of poverty: your own? those whose less-ness terrifies you, or exhausts your nights with guilt? I know a few older South Africans who even struggled to digest the concept of cous-cous (pun unfortunately intended) : that it wasn't an 'African' food but an African food. (Do I need to explain that? Leave me a note in 'Comments' if I need to!)

(I've got a horrible boomerang cold, and a dramatically different toddler to entertain solo till 9pm - so best I conserve what brain and body energy I DO have!)

Liefde as altyd en vir ewig, my Suid Afrika,

'Men must live and create. Live to the point of tears.' Albert Camus