Category Archives: South Africa

Taking a Camera for a Walk

A few months ago my team at work did a photography course. The course was supposed to be two Saturdays. I was away for the first session but my colleagues filled me in so that I could do the homework and join the second session.

I don’t consider myself great with a camera but I quite enjoy it. This time, I was able to take a (borrowed from work) proper camera out. It’s the first time I’ve shot on manual settings. It was so much fun. And I think some of the pics came out pretty well.

Joburg March 2018

This is one of my favourites:

Autumn Sunday Afternoon (slowing down)

The sky is the colour of winter. A little bit hazy; a little bit far away. Like high-school rugby matches from crowded concrete stands. Like long Grahamstown walks past frost-whitened fields. Like quiet days studying for mid-year exams.

The air is still warmer, though. Still a sunny Autumn day. Still warm for now. Later there will be a chill in the air. Later the days and the evenings will be colder.

It took me many years but I think I’ve learned to love Autumn, just a bit. The leaves are beginning to change. I noticed it yesterday. The colours make me think of Daegu, now, and the spectacular Korean Fall. This picture was a trip to visit a friend in Seoul.

autumn seoul

Joburg never quite matches that but Zoo Lake and Emmarentia Dam are pretty and the Joburg flowers add their little bit – purples and reds, from bougainvillea to bottlebrush to the sweet scent of the last few yesterday-today-and-tomorrows.

autumn jozi

The mornings have a chilly edge, too, and there is a glare in the air that wasn’t there during the sunny months. The sun slips and slides through the Jacaranda trees as I walk to the station in the morning. Some days I stop for coffee and just enjoy the depth of the sky and brightness.

Today I sit on my pleasantly warm balcony thinking about Autumns past, as a quiet weekend gently drifts away.

Sunday soundtrack: Johnny Cash & Kris Kristofferson – Sunday Morning Coming Down


The DRC trip keeps returning to my mind. Everything keeps drifting in that direction. Kinshasa and Goma, Bunia and Beni come up in conversations, in news feeds, in humanitarian debate wormholes down which I have fallen.

Last weekend I went to the zoo. I was with three well-traveled, cosmopolitan friends; the kind of friends with whom half an hour’s conversation can move easily through three different continents and several decades of history. A zoo trip is a great opportunity to take a long walk through pleasant surroundings with plenty of conversation-starting animal sightings. This trip was to the Pretoria Zoo. We chose this zoo for a very particular reason: Okapi.