Monthly Archives: February 2023

A Pencil Test To Determine Your Future

The high court building in Cape Town. A sign on the building says this is where the official Race Classification Board met during the apartheid years.

On one of our walking tours of Cape Town, our guide stopped in front of a government building to show us two seats.

One was marked Whites Only

and the other was labelled non-whites only.

The benches have been left in place to illustrate the segregation based on skin colour practised during apartheid everywhere in Cape Town.

The benches were in front of the High Court Building which was where you went to appear before the Race Classification Board to have a legal ruling made about your racial designation.

I had read the biography of American television star Trevor Noah called Born a Crime so I knew that even though there were strict laws against whites and non-whites marrying or having sexual relations during apartheid it still happened quite a bit.

Trevor Noah was born during apartheid to a South African white man and a South African black woman. Noah does look Black but I asked our guide what would have happened if because of his mixed parentage, Trevor Noah’s racial identity hadn’t been clearly evident?

Our walking tour guide Milo told us in cases where racial identity wasn’t clear people were ordered to come to the High Court Building where the Race Classification Board would administer different tests to determine their true racial identity. Was this some kind of medical or genetic testing? Oh no!

Those whose race was in question would have their facial features measured and…. they would be given the pencil test to officially determine their racial identity.

Authorities slid a pencil into the hair of the person whose racial identity was uncertain. The person was asked to shake their head. If the pencil fell to the floor they were white. If, because their hair was too kinky, the pencil stayed in their hair they were Black.

Ella Ramangwane plays a young Sandra Laing in the movie Skin and Alice Krige plays the role of her mother Sannie Laing

Dave and I watched an excellent Netflix movie our walking tour guide recommended called Skin during our time in Cape Town. It is based on the true story of Sandra Laing who was born to two white parents in South Africa but looked, Black. When it was time for her to attend high school the education authorities forced her parents to go to court to prove she was white and truly their daughter.

A geneticist testified in court that since for hundreds of years whites and Blacks had lived together in South Africa, there had been enough mingling of the races in the past that it was possible for an ancestral gene trait to have caused Sandra’s Black appearance even though her parents were both white.

The real Sandra Laing with her mother

Even though DNA testing later proved Sandra was her white parents’ daughter she had her facial features measured and was given the pencil test by authorities. They declared her to be Black, changing her life and that of her family forever.

The pencil test was used for thirty years. It is hard to believe now that this could be true but it is heartening that people from all over the world are learning about it when they visit South Africa. Hopefully, education will reduce the chance of something like the pencil test and apartheid ever happening again.

Other posts………….

Accidentally Finding Desmond Tutu’s Ashes While Looking For The Black Madonna

Born A Crime Book Review

A Black Jesus That Got Its Artist Arrested

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Foiled by A Car Race We Go Gardening

On Saturday we’d planned to spend the day on a tour bus that runs through Cape Town. Your ticket included lots of special activities. Buses left every twenty minutes from their headquarters. You didn’t need reservations.

We showed up at the tour bus office on Saturday only to find a big sign on the door, ALL TOUR BUSES CANCELLED TODAY DUE TO FORMULA E RACE.

There are lots of high-end car shops in Cape Town. Dave took this photo of me with a Ferrari on one of our first days here. I can see why the city would be a popular place to hold a professional car race.

Turns out Cape Town was hosting the 5th round of the 2023 Formula E Grand Championships. Since electric cars would be racing through the streets of Cape Town that day all bus tours had to be cancelled.

What to do instead? We still hadn’t visited Cape Town’s famous Kirstenbosch Gardens at the base of Table Mountain so we decided to catch an Uber and spend some time there. The place is huge and divided into all these different sections. My favourite section was The Arboretum which featured 450 different kinds of South African trees.

This is a Wild Almond Tree. It looks like it’s running wild, doesn’t it?

In the Arboretum, you could view the forest from this canopy bridge that took you up over the trees.

It reminded me of the canopy walk Dave and I did in the rainforest in Costa Rica.

Dave was desperate to get photos of some birds from the canopy walk. Here he looks longingly at a sign showing the different birds that live in the canopy. But even though we spent a long time looking for birds and calling to birds and saw them flit through the trees and heard them sing to us….. Dave was unable to get even a single bird photo.

He had better luck with flowers even though this isn’t the best time of year to see them in South Africa.

Coppery Mesemb also known as the Red Ice Plant
The African Blood Lily
This flower was on a tree called The Shrove Tuesday Tree
The Red Hot Poker.
The African Lily
The Pineapple Flower

I’ve already written about how Nelson Mandela’s name and likeness are everywhere here in Cape Town. There is even a bird of paradise flower named after him called Mandela’s Gold.

There was one area of Kirstenbosch called The Scent Garden where you are encouraged to smell all the plants. Here Dave gets a whiff of the spur plant.

Cheetah Chasing Buck by Dylan Lewis

Our Hermanos hosts Paul and Shirley had told us about the work of South African sculptor Dylan Lewis, so I was excited to find that two of his pieces were featured in the Kirstenbosch Garden.

Surveying Cheetah by Dylan Lewis

There was an art gallery in the gardens featuring the work of local artists. I was particularly drawn to the work of Jeremy Day who had this colourful modern view of Cape Town on exhibit.

It provided a different image of the city than the photos from the same perspective I’d taken at the cable car station on Table Mountain.

I also liked his painting of Cape Town’s Green Point Lighthouse.

I had taken photos of it when we walked along the ocean one day.

We spent several hours soaking in the beauty of the Kirstenbosch Gardens. It made me almost glad that the car race had cancelled our other tour.

Other posts……….

First Look At The Leaf

Art in the Garden

The Chi Lin Nunnery

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Down to the Tip of Africa

We decided before we left Cape Town we needed to go to the Cape of Good Hope at the tip of the African continent. We chose a tour bus that would provide us with a leisurely trip there.

On the way, we passed the hospital where Dr Christian Bernard performed the first heart transplant in the world, and drove by the cottage where the author Rudyard Kipling retreated to write. We saw the Norfolk pines Captain James Cook introduced to South Africa.

The official residence of the Archbishop of Cape Town

We passed Bishops Court. It is a residential area that got its name because the Archbishop of Cape Town’s official residence is there.

Bishops Court was a whites-only neighbourhood for most of its history, but after Desmond Tutu was named the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town in 1986 he went to live there.

The local authorities issued edicts and notices saying that because he was Black he could not use the home traditionally occupied by the archbishop. Tutu defied them and moved in any way. The authorities eventually backed down.

The scenery along the way to the Cape of Good Hope was lovely.

We stopped at Simon’s Town to walk the beach,

sit on the rocks

and have lunch looking out over the ocean. We shared our table with a fellow tour bus rider, a mining engineer who was born in the Congo but now lives in Brussels. We had a great conversation.

We drove into the Cape Nature Reserve and saw where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet. The temperature of the Indian Ocean was 20 degrees and the Atlantic 11 degrees.

We learned that 75% of the vegetation we were seeing in the Cape Nature Reserve was unique and we wouldn’t see it anywhere else in the world.

Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope are two different places. You can see them each at the bottom of the map.

We went to Cape Point first.

Later I opted to take the bus to the Cape of Good Hope so I arrived before Dave did and had my photo taken.

Dave had chosen to join an hour-long hike over some rocky terrain to get to the Cape of Good Hope from Cape Point so after I recorded his triumphant arrival we had some photos taken together.

What a way to mark nearly fifty years of marriage!

Other posts……….

Down to the Point

On the Eastern Edge of Canada

We Saw God But That’s About All

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Our Cape Town Alarm Clock

Every morning exactly when the sun comes up here in Cape Town which is usually between 4:30 and 5:00 AM we are awakened by the calls to prayer coming from the ten mosques located in the area around our apartment.

Dave outside a nearly two-hundred-year-old mosque near our Cape Town home

Many of these mosques are in the Bo- Kaap neighbourhood of the city which is just a few blocks away from us.

We have been admiring the colourful houses and cobblestone streets in Bo-Kaap ever since we got here so we decided to sign up for a walking tour of the area and learn more about it.

Bo-Kaap means ‘above the Cape’ in Afrikaans. In 1760 a man named Jan de Waal who had immigrated to South Africa from Amsterdam in 1715 bought the land where Bo-Kaap now stands.

This is one of the original single-story rental houses built by Jan de Waal in 1760. It is now a museum.

He built small row rental houses with one storey and a single roof which he leased to his employees. Later workers from Malaysia, Indonesia and other parts of Africa moved into Bo-Kaap as did an increasing number of tradespeople, crafters and artisans.

In 1820 political exiles from Java and Ceylon joined the neighbourhood as did free slaves after slavery was outlawed in the Cape Colony in 1834.

Bo-Kaap quickly became a colourful and diverse neighbourhood indeed. Many of the people living there were Muslims.

So in 1794, the first mosque opened. Called the Auwal Mosque it was built on land donated by a woman named Saartjie van de Kaap.

The first imam was Tuan Guru, a former political prisoner who wrote out the entire Quran from memory while he was in detention on Robben Island, the same place Nelson Mandela would be imprisoned two hundred years later. Guru’s handwritten version of the Quran is still on display in the mosque.

Tuan Guru also added a madrassah or school where children could be instructed in Islam. One of the paintings in an archway in Bo-Kaap shows the imam with his young students.

The five palm trees in front of the Auwal mosque represent the five pillars of Islam- confession of faith, prayer, fasting, charity and a pilgrimage to Mecca.

Of course, the biggest question everyone has is why are the houses in Bo- Kaap so colourful? Our guide said there are all kinds of theories.

Some people say painting their houses was a way for freed slaves to express their joy at being free. Others said it started with a doctor wanting to distinguish his home from all the other houses painted white so he painted his orange. The butcher got the same idea and painted his house blue and it took off from there.

Our guide Jennifer told us the truth is no one really knows why the houses in Bo- Kaap are so colourful. She said there are colourful houses in many places in the world. I was reminded of the colourful houses we saw in St. John’s Newfoundland and Reykjavik Iceland.

Jennifer said the current problem with Bo-Kaap is its popularity. Investors are buying up homes to rent out to short-term Cape Town visitors who want to stay in such a unique area. This is pushing up prices and raising taxes and utility costs for people whose families have lived in the Bo-Kaap for generations. Many are being forced or pressured to sell.

Jennifer showed us one house for sale which in the past would have sold for around 100,000 South African Rand and is now selling for several million.

Jennifer pointed out the seats incorporated into most Bo-Kaap porches so people could sit outside and visit with each other.

Now tourists and traffic are wreaking havoc on the community feeling in Bo-Kaap. In 2019 many of the homes here were declared National Heritage sites so that may help to protect them.

I was happy to learn more about the Bo-Kaap neighbourhood.

I have become quite accustomed to the early morning calls to prayer that ring out from Bo-Kapp and wake me up each morning. I will probably miss them when we are back in Winnipeg.

Other posts………..

It’s So Beautiful – My Old House

Naked in a Communal Shower and Other Adventures in Reykjavik

Sadia A Muslim Girl From Winnipeg

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Mexican Food With A South African Twist

Pear and parmesan salad with prosciutto and mushroom pizza at an Italian restaurant in Cape Town called Nonna Lina Ristorante

One of the things Dave and I have really enjoyed about Cape Town is all the fantastic restaurants, which offer fabulous service and EXCELLENT food at prices we figure are usually about half of what they would be in Winnipeg. We wondered if this was due to low wages but found out through a little investigation that restaurant staff in Cape Town are actually quite well paid in comparison to other workers and in comparison to other places in South Africa.

Enjoying potstickers and tiger chill prawns in a Cape Town Restaurant

Cape Town is an international city so you can get every kind of food here- Japanese, Thai, Chinese, Italian, Greek, Irish, British, German, Portuguese, Ethiopian and many more. The Cape Town chefs are quite adventuresome and so the different kinds of food often come with a unique twist.

An example would be a Mexican restaurant we went to recently called Hacienda. The menu didn’t have photographs so when our various dishes arrived we were quite surprised at how they looked. They were not the standard version of similar dishes in Canada or even in Mexico where we once spent the winter in a rented home in the city of Merida.

Here was our complimentary tortilla chip and sauce dish before the meal. It had three different kinds of tortillas which were made right in the restaurant fresh daily.

One called Tierra Verde was made with coriander and spinach, another called Al Carbon was made with coal-smoked corn flour and a third called Achiote was made with achiote spice which comes from an evergreen bush.

The chips were offered with three different sauces-Pasta De Frijol- a spiced black bean sauce, Salsa Verde-a green tomatillo sauce and Adobo Oaxaca- a red adobo rub sauce.

We also ordered margaritas because they are half price for an hour and a half each day and we just happened to be there at the right time. They were unique as well, but delicious.

The first dish we shared was a chicken quesadilla. Not what we were expecting but made with corn mustard seed and avocado cream and amazing.

The second dish we shared was brisket adobo. Again not what we expected but wonderful. The brisket was so tender it melted in your mouth and was served with pineapple sesame seed salsa, radish and pickled watermelon.

We ended with a shared dessert of churros which we remembered eating lots of when we were in Spain. These were very different however in shape and size- served with banana dulce, and chocolate chilli ice cream.

We probably would not have ordered dessert if we had realized that every meal came with a complimentary swirl of cotton candy. The waiter assured us it didn’t contain as much sugar as we thought. It was actually really good!

German bratwurst, cheese sticks and pretzels at the Kapstadt Brauhaus

We only eat two meals a day here in Cape Town and we always have one in our apartment and one in a restaurant. We are also trying to walk between 10,000 and 12,000 steps a day to work off those fabulous meals.

Breakfast in a restaurant means supper is in our apartment

We’ve booked ourselves in at a restaurant highly recommended by all our tour guides for our last night in Cape Town where we will be treated to 18 different kinds of South African food plus music and entertainment. We are really looking forward to that. But in the meantime, it’s been great to explore world cuisine with a twist during our time here in Cape Town.

Other posts……..

Dinner on a Board- The Ultimate Food Experience

Lessons Waiting Tables

A Meal in a Box

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Visiting a Centre For Children Impacted by AIDS in South Africa

This political cartoon by South African artist Jonathan Shapiro was on display at the South African Art Gallery when we visited. You see former South African President Nelson Mandela opening a door called AIDS SECRECY. He is holding a photo of his son Makgatho in his hand. Makgatho died of AIDS when he was 55 years old.

Mr Mandela did not take AIDS as seriously as he should have during his Presidency. He has often been criticized for his relative silence on the matter and the fact that he did not really address the growing crisis in his country.

When I visited Cape Town’s Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa I photographed this work by artist Boris Nzebo showing nurses helping AIDS patients

However, after Mr Mandela left the Presidency and his own son died of AIDS he did become an outspoken advocate for AIDS education and treatment and often said he regretted he had not done so sooner.

Shapiro’s cartoon illustrates this turnaround in Mandela’s thinking and actions because of what happened in his family.

Dave and I with Elonwabeni Centre Director Denise Landes

I thought about the President and his changed ideas about AIDS when I visited a children’s home in Cape Town that was started as a response to the AIDS crisis.

Denise Landes who grew up in South Africa spent several hours showing us the children’s centre she and her husband Rolf opened in 2006 with the help of partners who were members of churches in Germany.

Called Elonwabeni which means ‘happiness’, their centre was established to offer a haven to children whose parents had AIDS and were no longer able to care for them. Since then it has evolved into a place of security, not only for families where AIDS has created a crisis but also for children who come from families where domestic violence, substance abuse or sexual abuse have made their homes unsafe.

The centre has a main office and four residential homes nearby where 24 children live six apiece in a family setting with a house mother.

One of the Elonwabeni homes

Elonwabeni also offers a program for 28 young mothers providing them with social and psychological support, preparation for the birth experience and training on how to bond with their babies and care for them.

Dave and I with some of the older children and staff at Elonwabeni

2021 statistics reported that some 960,000 children had been orphaned by AIDS in South Africa since the first cases were reported in the 1980s. Meeting all the needs of successive generations of children impacted by AIDS will be an ongoing effort for many years yet to come in South Africa. It was a privilege to get an inside look at some of the work that is being done to support them.

Other posts………..

Nelson Mandela- He is Everywhere in Cape Town

God Rest the Children

Golden Boy- A Novel That Reflects Reality in Tanzania

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What a Strange Name For A Movie Theatre!

As many of my blog readers know Dave and I are movie aficionados and since we were staying in Cape Town for a whole month we wanted to find a theatre to watch films.

Luckily we discovered an incredibly cool little place to do that in a theatre called Labia not far from our apartment.

Labia was such an odd and unusual name for a theatre I needed to know more about it so I went online and discovered that it was named for a member of Italian royalty Princess Ida Labia. She opened the building in 1949. It was to be used as a performance theatre.

Prince and Princess Labia and their two sons

Ida’s husband Count Natale Labia came to South Africa from Italy as a diplomat at the request of the Italian leader Mussolini in the early 1920s.

The count who was later given the title of Prince married a local Cape Town woman named Ida Robinson whose grandparents had immigrated to South Africa from England.

Natale and Ida built a twenty-room mansion called Casa Labia in Muizenberg, South Africa to serve both as their home and also as the official residence of the Italian ambassador to South Africa. The home is now a national monument and is an event venue and a restaurant.

Portrait of Princess Ida Labia

Prince Natale Labia died in 1936 and in 1949 Princess Ida who had remained in South Africa after her husband’s death, made a generous donation to Cape Town to build a performance centre, the current Labia Theatre.

It was her way to thank the South African government for not detaining her two sons during World War II. Her sons were Italian citizens and Italy was a German ally during the war while South Africa was a British ally.

The Labia Theatre has this lovely trellised arch you walk through to enter the theatre grounds

The Labia is the oldest independent theatre in South Africa. It continued to stage the shows of respected South African playwrights until the 1970s when audiences began to dwindle. After a film festival was held there in 1974 it was decided to turn the Labia into a full-time movie house.

Dave heads up to one of the smaller theatres on the second floor

Surprisingly it has remained a viable movie theatre and was bought by Ludi Kraus in 1989. He added three more screens so that there are now four theatres at the Labia. We’ve had a chance to see movies in them all.

An old projector that was used before the theatre went digital was saved and is on display.

The theatre is so beloved by locals that they crowd-funded to raise money for a digital refit of the theatre in 2014.

Check out the retro ticket booth and the cool light fixture above it.

Dave buys our tickets. See the letters LT for Labia Theatre in the mosaic on the floor?
Dave at the concession stand. See the cool clock and the words Nothing -Nicer on the stand?

The Labia Theatre is a charming place as you can see from the photos. We have watched four films there so far.

The Fabelmans – This is the childhood story of movie director Stephen Spielberg. I loved this film although it was sad. There were lots of great and heartwarming parts and the movie really demonstrated that even in dysfunctional families, (and aren’t all families kind of dysfunctional), there can be lots of love.

The Banshees of Innisherran– I didn’t love this movie’s violent parts although I did love the Irish scenery. The film certainly kept me riveted to the screen and certainly brought its message home about how small disputes can turn into epic conflicts if we aren’t careful.

The Menu- I had to keep my eyes covered during parts of this movie but it was a marvellous critique of the high-brow epicurean world and its vanity. It made me want to go out for cheeseburgers after it was over. At least it had one sane character I could cheer for. Anya Taylor Joy who gave such a masterful performance in The Queen’s Gambit plays a savvy outspoken professional escort named Margot Mills.

A Man Called OttoI had read the book A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman and had seen the Swedish movie based on it. I thought both were excellent but so was A Man Called Otto the American version of the story starring Tom Hanks. I would have to say there was not a dry eye in the theatre when the film was over, although Dave said the dampness on his cheeks was the result of getting some sunscreen in his eye.

Other posts……..

Winnipeg’s Palace Theatre

Strolling Through Stratford

Who Loved You Into Being?

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Cecil Rhodes is No Longer a Hero in Winnipeg or Cape Town

In May of last year, the 114-year-old Cecil Rhodes School in Winnipeg was renamed Keewatin Prairie Community School because division authorities were petitioned by parents and students to make the change.

The local community objected to their school bearing the name of financier and empire builder Cecil Rhodes who they said was a racist. Rhodes had come to be known as someone who had laid the foundations for the introduction of apartheid in South Africa.

In an art gallery in Cape Town South Africa, I saw a photo by Sethembile Msezane titled Chapungu – The Day Rhodes Fell. It commemorates the day in 2015 when a statue of Cecil Rhodes was removed from the campus of the University of Cape Town.

The chapungu is a powerful African eagle and huge statues of it were found when an ancient African city built in the 12th century was unearthed by archaeologists in the late 1800s. One of those stone statues became the property of the British diamond mine magnate and politician Cecil Rhodes.

In this piece of performance art above, the woman is dressed like a chapungu bird freely rising up above the crowd at the same time as a statue of Cecil Rhodes is being taken down in the background.

According to one of our walking tour guides in Cape Town, all the statues of Cecil Rhodes in the city have now been removed except this one in the Company Gardens.

A cutting line on the back of Cecil Rhodes’ pants shows where someone attacked that statue as well, but it is very strongly made and our guide said would be almost impossible to knock it down without big machinery which it might be hard to maneuver into the garden.

Cecil Rhodes

Our guide explained that when Rhodes established the De Boor diamond mine enterprise in Kimberly South Africa in 1888, slavery had been outlawed in South Africa for more than fifty years. But Rhodes needed cheap labour. So he got illiterate black people in South Africa to initial contracts basically signing their life away to work for a pittance in his mines under horrible working conditions.

Milo was our guide on an excellent walking tour called From Apartheid to Freedom

Our guide Milo suggested that rather than tearing down the statue of Cecil Rhodes in the Company Garden another plaque be added to the back of the statue listing all the negative things Cecil Rhodes did.

For example during his time as prime minister of what was then called the Cape Colony, he used his political power to pass the Glen Gray Act which made it possible to expropriate land from black Africans. He also tripled the wealth requirement for voting in elections effectively barring all black people from voting.

Milo has an alternative idea for the back of the one Cecil Rhodes statue left in Cape Town

I asked our guide if it wasn’t true that Mr Rhodes had done some good things like establish a scholarship fund which has allowed thousands of worthy students to study at Oxford.

Our guide agreed he had – but pointed out that Mr Rhodes had established the scholarship only for white men. However, those who now administer the scholarship have chosen winners that include men and women and even transgender candidates of every race from nearly a hundred different countries.

Our stay in Cape Town made it clear that the effort to balance the historical narrative of colonialism is something that is an ongoing process around the world.

Other posts…………

A Possible Alternative to Tearing Down Statues

Cancel Culture

Is the Term Black Sheep Racist?

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Wine Tasting-But Even Better- Making New Friends

Dave and I went on an all-day wine-tasting adventure to three different regions near Cape Town. The wine was lovely but the most interesting thing about the day was the fascinating people we got to know at each of our tasting sites.

Our first visit was to the beautiful Simonsig Wine Estate run by the Malan family in Stellenbosch.

We drank four wines here and enjoyed lovely trays of olives, cheeses, bread and spreads.

Let me introduce Charlotte, a 30-something insurance agent from Johannesburg who was in Cape Town on a holiday with her partner a food technologist. She told us she met him at a funeral. There wasn’t enough room at our table for him so he had to sit elsewhere.

The woman to the right of Charlotte is Alice an 80-something retired teacher and grandmother from Rochester New York who left her husband at home while she went off to explore South Africa.

They were dynamos both of them and we had a fabulous conversation while we sipped our wine and nibbled on our tray of appetizers.

I found out Alice had fundraised and taken her New York high school students on trips to Ghana and Senegal for several decades and had done mission work in Haiti for twelve years with her husband. She had travelled all over the world and was in South Africa with her two daughters. One was going shopping and the other was going kayaking but Alice decided she’d rather drink wine instead.

I found out Charlotte worked for a company from Australia that had an office in Johannesburg. They went online during the pandemic. Charlotte grew up in one of South Africa’s townships and it was a difficult road to get through high school and university so she could land her current job. She told us about the sad state of public health care and education in South Africa. Like many young South Africans we met, she would be interested in immigrating to another country.

Alice and Charlotte and I laughed and talked non-stop so I am not sure exactly which four wines we tasted at this first stop although I think one was a Sheraz and another a Gewurztraminer.

And what was Dave doing while I chatted with Charlotte and Alice? He was talking rugby and Brexit and all kinds of other topics with Mel and Paul a couple from a small community near Birmingham England where Paul was a truck driver and Mel a teacher.

Before we left Stellenbosch our wine tour guide Charles took us on a walk through the town.

I was most fascinated by an artwork created by Strijdom van der Merwe. It was a laser-cut silhouette of Nelson Mandela’s face which upon closer examination morphed into a map which plotted locations in South Africa that played important roles in Nelson Mandela’s life. I thought it was both meaningful and sad that a homeless person was asleep beside the art piece.

Then we were off to the Franschhoek area. The scenery along the way was amazing. You wanted to take photos every couple of minutes.

Our second wine-tasting stop was the Franschhoek Cellar

I had learned my lesson at the first winery where I was so busy talking I forgot to take note of the wines we were drinking so here I took photos of the wines right away so I would remember them. Good thing I did that before Dave and I got deep in conversation about military service, chocolate, beer, geography, sports cars and families with, ……..

Michael and Nikolai two graduate students from Switzerland and before I dug into …..

the delightful chicken, nectarine and feta salad I choose from the lunch menu.

As we left the Franschhoek Cellar tasting room Dave took up an ongoing conversation he had all day with a young paramedic from London, Ontario.

After some free time to explore the lovely little community of Franschhoek, we were off to our last stop in the Paarl wine region where we visited the Rhebokskloof winery.

Here each of our five wines was paired with a different delicious chocolate.

Our hostess used Dave as an example of how to lay out each chocolate from our individual boxes with the correct wine.

She rewarded him with a hug when he completed the task correctly.

After our tasting, I went to the wine shop to buy some chocolates and when I came back Dave was leading the conversation at our table with a government employee from Johannesburg, a family from Germany and a car dealership owner from Switzerland.

I don’t know if you are counting but by the time our wine tour was over we had tasted 13 different kinds of wine but…….. we’d had fascinating conversations with even more people than that from all over the world……… and that’s what made the wine tour a BIG success both in my books and Dave’s.

Other posts…………

A New Muscedere Memory

Friend For a Moment

Coming All the Way to Portugal To Get To Know Some People From Our Church


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A Black Jesus That Got Its Artist Arrested

Many years ago when I was working for the Winnipeg Free Press I wrote a column called What Did Jesus Look Like? I included a story in my column about a black Jesus that had been painted by a 22-year-old South African artist Ronald Harrison in 1962. At that time many people said depicting Jesus as a black man was blasphemous.

Just as Renaissance painters often used the faces of their patrons and their families in their Biblical scenes Harrison painted African National Congress leader, anti-apartheid activist and Nobel Prize winner Albert Luthuli as Christ.

He made one of the Roman soldiers in the painting Hendrick Verwoed, the South African prime minister who is known as the architect of apartheid and the other soldier South African Minister of Justice John Vorster, another apartheid politician.

Harrison’s painting called Black Christ was first exhibited in a church in Salt River, South Africa. The country’s Censorship Board said it was offensive and forbid it from being displayed in public.

Ronald Harrison

After the American television station, CBS did a documentary about the painting the South African government ordered it destroyed and the artist Ronald Harrison was tortured and arrested. He served an eight-year sentence.

Anti-apartheid sympathizers smuggled the painting to Britain before it could be destroyed. In England, it was hung in St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.

In 1994 when apartheid came to an end Ronald Harrison travelled to London to bring his painting back to South Africa.

Ronald Harrison died of cancer in June of 2011 and his Black Christ now hangs in the South African Museum of Art where I was able to see it.

I knew all about Ronald Harrison’s painting Black Christ but didn’t realize it was on display in a public gallery now, and certainly had no idea that I would visit that gallery in Cape Town.

I was so glad to have the opportunity to see Black Christ in person!

Other posts……….

What Did Jesus Look Like?

Did Jesus Have A Wife?

The Family of Jesus Portrayed in a Controversial Way

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