For an Organ Donor

The final stitch placed

Surgical clamps released

A kidney turns pink.

*  *  *

He was right. Nothing compares.

Organ Donor Foundation of South Africa

Love Life, Gift Life


An Audio Treat in Afrikaans

As a little girl, my dad created a special story and character with which to entertain me at bedtime. Her name was Lientjie (pronounced “Linky”) and she was a “cheerful butterfly”. As you may recall, my dad is visually impaired, so bedtime stories were told (often of his own invention, as is this one) and not read.

Lientjie was so well-loved that she was introduced to my little sister and little brother, and also our cousins. She is an institution in our family, so to speak.

Recently we bought my dad an awesome birthday gift: a Crosley Troubadour, which plays vinyls, tapes, and all other media. It has a great function where you can burn your tapes and vinyls to MP3 format. So courtesy of that, i get to share an excerpt of my dad’s story!

You’re in for a treat, too; because I just loved the limelight as a little girl and I couldn’t stop interjecting. Sometimes, I lost the plot completely, almost changing the entire story!

If you don’t understand Afrikaans, I’m sorry that you won’t understand this clip. However, for a long time I have been threatening to turn my dad’s stories into children’s books. If we do this, you may well get to read them. 🙂

If you do understand it… let me know what you think 🙂

For Heritage Day: What Traveling Teaches Me About Being African

When you’re an African abroad, you learn quickly to spot fellow Africans. You learn that it is an instinct rather than recognition of attributes, because you have certainly never been tempted to greet a group of African-Americans in Swahili.

You will notice each other: no matter the hue of your skin or the lilt of your accent. Perhaps it is a longing in our eyes, or the curve of our spines where they take root in our soil. Africans traveling gravitate toward Africans. Our souls call out to one another, despite our warring ancestors. Continue reading “For Heritage Day: What Traveling Teaches Me About Being African”

Learning Through Fiction | Ethiopia in “Black Dove, White Raven” [+Infographic]

I’ve decided to start a new sort-of series (that will obviously be completely irregular) about things I learn from books. Fictional books! I love learning new things, and that’s not only limited to topics in my chosen profession. One of the reasons I love reading is that it opens my eyes to so many things I never knew, or points of view I had not considered. 

learn through fiction

Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein – this was the book I just could not wait to buy. After Code Name Verity smashed my heart to smithereens and ground it underfoot, I had to have more (well, the book was really good). Continue reading “Learning Through Fiction | Ethiopia in “Black Dove, White Raven” [+Infographic]”

What I See In Your Photos With “Poor African Children”

1. I see someone who was lucky enough to travel to a magnificent continent

And we welcome you. We welcome you to feel in your bones the wealth of our loam soil. Listen to the stories whispered by our winds. Immerse yourself in our skies. We welcome you to open your heart – and your eyes – to see that our narrative is more than one of suffering.

not tourist attraction
Base image by Stephen and Melanie Murdoch, click for their Flickr Photostream.

Continue reading “What I See In Your Photos With “Poor African Children””

Throwback: Roadtrip Through History

I wrote this post as a note on Facebook exactly five years ago, 6 July 2010. I’m often ashamed when I read my past writings, but this isn’t one of those times. I’ve left it exactly as is. I’m not sure how much sense it will make to people who are not familiar with South Africa, but I decided to share it here in any case. I’ve hyperlinked some things for comprehension’s sake.

 *  *  *

The extravagant price-increases as brought on by the hosting of the FIFA World Cup recently necessitated a 12-hour road-trip to Cape Town, as opposed to the usual 90-minute flight.

A cold and dark 05:00 morning progressed just as we progressed through the land of memories.

Memories of debating trips – so many debating trips.

Here we debated.

Here we lost.

Here we won.

Here I learnt that the line between conviction and contradiction truly is a fine one. Continue reading “Throwback: Roadtrip Through History”

Hypothesis: South African Sights for South African Vision

While I was in beautiful Cape Town for my leave (wow, that was a long time ago), my sister and I mused about how we have access to this gorgeous country simply by virtue of being born here. “Just think,” she said, “people pay thousands of rands to see Table Mountain, and here we are, just walking around and seeing it as much as we want!” She was quite right, of course – at the same time, the MV Explorer was docked in Cape Town.

But for a long time, I’ve been thinking how not all who are born in our country have access to these attractions on a very basic level.

Virtually everywhere I have traveled, foreigners pay more than locals to see attractions. I saw this for the first time in China in 2011, where foreigners are very clearly divided from locals wishing to visit the Huanglong caves.

china foreigners Continue reading “Hypothesis: South African Sights for South African Vision”

Paired Reading: Refugees and Displaced Persons in Africa

While on holiday in Zambia I read two absolutely breathtaking books. I bought both of these books myself and was not asked to review them, but I feel the need to share them with everyone.

A prelude: The number of displaced persons in Africa is huge. We have many refugees and many internally displaced persons and in South Africa, the supposed land of milk and honey, many foreigners have been victims of xenophobia. This year especially has seen flares in violence against persons perceived to be foreigners There are a lot of politics underlying the whole story, and it’s not something I necessarily understand well enough to explain in simple terms, but it is tangible in this land.

Abandoned Somali shop, Makause, East Rand. By Richard Poplak. Click for link.
Abandoned Somali shop, Makause, East Rand. By Richard Poplak. Click for link.

Continue reading “Paired Reading: Refugees and Displaced Persons in Africa”

A Story of a Statue

It’s a pretty bad time to be a statue in South Africa. If you’re not from here, a quick run-through: at the University of Cape Town, students have successfully petitioned (to put it mildly) the University Council to remove a statue of Cecil John Rhodes on their campus. Not long after that, a statue of Paul Kruger was vandalised, as well as a memorial for the animals that served and died in the Second South African War.

Click image for reference.

I haven’t really said much about the saga because I can understand, to some extent, the people on all sides of the argument. I did not attend UCT and I feel no particular loyalty to Rhodes. I don’t feel particular affinity for Kruger, either. And animals are awesome, but the real reason I feel strongly about statues being vandalised is because I believe in history. Continue reading “A Story of a Statue”