Cradle of Humankind, and an African Baha'i wedding

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Africa » South Africa » Gauteng » Johannesburg
September 24th 2006
Published: November 3rd 2006
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We went to our first African wedding yesterday, what a treat! The bride, Nthabiseng, works in the office of the Bahá’í National Center. The groom, Mandla, is a young man she has known since childhood. We learned that African weddings don't require an invitation, you simply attend. The food at the reception was a combination of traditional African and Afrikaans. The wedding was a Bahá’í ceremony with many Christians attending, so the prayers came from both faiths. During the reception, it is quite common for a guest to beginning singing to the newlyweds and everybody joins in and begins to dance. There were songs to welcome the bride, honor the couple as they left the ceremony, again as they entered the reception hall, many during the reception and more as the couple left the reception hall. Needless to say, the chorus of African voices was beautiful.

The event reminded Bob of a newspaper article he read the other day about a young South African woman who has become acclaimed for her performances in the role of the opera Carmen. She had been given the lead in a South African production when it was learned that the Swedish diva that had arrived to sing the lead role had a voice that was not strong enough to hold up with the African voices in the chorus. The Swedish performer was sent home, and the young African woman learned the part in three weeks. She has since become an acclaimed performer in Africa, Europe and the U.S.

This past week we also went to a public game park where we saw lions, cheetah, cape buffalo, impala, springbok, mongeese, ostriches, wild dogs, warthogs and many other creatures. The game park was close to The Cradle of Humankind where we took a tour of the cave complex at Sterkfontein. It was here that the skeleton of Mrs. Ples was discovered in 1947. Mrs. Ples, who may in reality have been a male, is an early hominid that is estimated to be 2 to 3 million years old. They have also discovered another skeleton called Little Foot, which is still being excavated, and may be 3-4 million years old. The caves are impressive and our local guide, who is an undergraduate archeology student at the University of Witwatersrand, was excellent.

Tomorrow we leave for a week in the mountain kingdom of Lesotho. It should
Dancing in...Dancing in...Dancing in...

Everyone sang and danced the bride and groom into the tent, all the way to the head table.
be an interesting trip as much of the country is at or above the 10,000-foot level. Johannesburg is already at 6,000 ft., which is nice but has required a bit of an adjustment; our elevation in Illinois was about 900 feet above sea level. I've been sleeping 8 to 10 hours per night if allowed to, and we both need to drink more water.

Additional photos below
Photos: 14, Displayed: 14


...and dancing out...and dancing out
...and dancing out

We sang and danced the couple out of the tent after the reception.
Cave at SterkfonteinCave at Sterkfontein
Cave at Sterkfontein

Sherri and the guide, Patrick, at the entrance to the caves
cape buffalocape buffalo
cape buffalo

It was the middle of the day, and most of the animals were resting. We photographed these from the car.
wart hogswart hogs
wart hogs

This band later showed up at the cafe to look for food dropped in the courtyard.
young cheetah eatingyoung cheetah eating
young cheetah eating

In the creche, or nursery, the young animals are fed hunks of horsemeat. This one ran to the meat when it landed, then threw himself down next to it to eat. So much for the fastest animal on land!
lion cublion cub
lion cub

There were 5 lion cubs in this pen, and they chose to eat right next to the chainlink fence. I could have reached in and touched her, if I wanted to lose an appendage.

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