SIMONSTOWN, FALSE BAY, SOUTH AFRICA

By Posted on 0 Comments1min read75 views

Where the dual carriageway to Simonstown

is nearest the bay some cars were parked

on the hard shoulder and some folk were standing

on the stony beach. A Southern Right Whale

had calved near the shallows. We stood with strangers,

in the silence, watching the suckling baby

and the mother in their huge gentleness.

 

False Bay is wide as a sea, as deep,

so-called because sailors without charts

thought it was Table Bay twenty miles west.

Simonstown was one of the last to accede

to Apartheid. A colonial port,

way station to the East, British dockyard,

it became a diverse place of Dutchmen

and Lascars, Jews and Muslims, entrepreneurs

and runaways, Xhosa guides, and Khoisan

strayed the few miles from the heather of the Cape.

 

Opposite our guesthouse was a cove where whales,

at the end of the breeding season, came,

like ships of the line, to scrape off barnacles,

before their journey to the sounding oceans.

 

As we left town we passed the main car park,

and, at its edge, eight young men in white

and navy blue from Khayelitsha township

singing a capella: ‘Nkosi

sikelel’ iAfrika’.

 

 

DEAD ELEPHANTS

By Posted on 2 Comments

Whenever and wherever I encounter the idiom about the elephant in the ...

THE WEIRD SISTERS

By Posted on 3 Comments

Since only the victors – usually men – get to write history, ...

THAT MEMORABLE SCENE

By Posted on 2 Comments

At the eastern end of the Banqueting House – which the deposed ...