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Published: April 28th 2015
Yesterday's politicians or immortal agents of change?
From left to right: Albert Luthuli (I think!), Desmond tutu, FW de Klerk, Nelson Mandela
So the curtain comes down on my extended vacation in Cape Town. Initially there for my brother’s wedding I stayed on for a further two weeks to enjoy some more of the city itself. What a surprise and a priviledge it has been to be able to see the city as if for the first time despite it being perhaps my fourth visit to the ‘mother city’.
What a surprise and a priviledge it has been to be able to see the city as if for the first time despite it being perhaps my fourth visit to the ‘mother city’.
My brother’s wedding was a chance to meet his new family and for my extended one to come together. Sadly none of my mother’s side was represented for one reason or another but I sensed that he and his fiancee, Justine, had not intended it to be a comprehensive list of family members. All in all it was a meaningful ceremony and a happy occasion. I can’t remember when I last ‘danced the night away’ so to speak. It has been a decade or more since I had last seen some of my cousins anyhow.
I can’t remember when I last ‘danced the night away’ so to speak.
From the wine and fruit-growing region where we celebrated the marriage the immediate family congregated at a rather exclusive venue about an hour’s drive away in another region, better known for
V and A portrait
Gumboot dancers pose for me in a giant photo frame at the V and A Waterfront, apparently Cape Town's most popular tourist destination.
its vineyards. A lazy few days followed punctuated by a few more energetic episodes – a slightly over-ambitious cycle ride which saw me return into a steady headwind which steadily sapped the energy from my legs. You see, despite enjoying the company of my brothers and their respective families I do like a bit of independence. It is best to interact with those around us in the first and to indulge in solitary activity only as an alternative pursuit. Not wanting to indulge in a communal wine-tasting excursion allowed me to justify the alternative.
...despite enjoying the company of my brothers and their respective families I do like a bit of independence.
I’ve always enjoyed photography. Whilst I was schooled on 35mm print film and a semi-manual SLR, the machine was later stolen and I settled for point-and-shoot digitals, mostly. I was a late-comer to the smart phone revolution but after discovering the pragmatic aspect of using one’s phone as a camera I invested in one with a decent lens and capability about 4 or 5 months back. It has, without question, become my de facto camera of choice. I still use my Fujifilm fixed lens compact from time to time but it seems antiquated in comparison to my Moto G with its handy
The view from Robben Island
Here I am on Robben Island, a rather flat and featureless island a few miles from the city, framed as it is by the iconic mountain behind me. It was a brief but meaningful tour which brought home to me the spartan and mundane existence of the political inmates here. I was interested to learn that it had been used as a penal colony well before Mandela's time as well as a place to quarantine lepers from the mainland. It has seen much suffering over the centuries. To the Dutch, Robben means 'seal' but on an old map at the Castle of Good Hope I also saw it labeled as Penguin Island!
touch-screen functionality, standard and wide-screen formats, superior panorama and a truly impressive HDR filter which makes the Fuji seem positively analogue.
I was a late-comer to the smart phone revolution but after discovering the pragmatic aspect of using one’s phone as a camera I invested in one with a decent lens and capability
As good as the phone is it still falls short of the capabilities of the many DSLR cameras out there. There are times I would honestly sell my soul for one of them but at least I don’t have to look like every second European, American or Japanese tourist doing the circuit! And whatever our capabilities the very best we can ever hope to catch on these ingenious CCD chips embedded in an equally ingenious device is an approximation of reality. I have to remind myself of this often. I have this compulsion to photograph just about every aspect of my conscious reality with a few exceptions of course.
...whatever our capabilities the very best we can ever hope to catch on these ingenious CCD chips embedded in an equally ingenious device is an approximation of reality.
When I take a shot I guess I imagine I’ll be sharing it at some point. Quite often I do, online: Facebook, Google+, my blog. It feels good to get positive comments. More often though a picture equates to ‘likes’ which is not quite as fulfilling, but in a cyberworld of constant competing memes, video clips, altar egos and so forth I’ll
The colourful neighbourhood of Bo Kaap
Bo Kaap is an old Cape Malay settlement close to the heart of the city. It still maintains its Islamic identity although it adopted some interesting traits over the years, such as the colourful houses, as people tried to forge their own identity in the European-ruled colony.
take it. I think to augment the photographs with a written account is something which appeals to me. Being personable without being an extrovert I feel a need to express myself in dialogue rather than one-liners. I wasn’t always this way. I think I’m evolving. It’s taken awhile but I do believe I am becoming less attention-seeking. If you’re reading this and you think you know me and you’re simulatenously scoffing at this assertion please do inform me. Self-delusion is, after all, mankind’s oldest foible...
Herewith my time in Cape Town aka Kaapstad and de Kaap in pictorial representation with comments:
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