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Tag Archives South Africa

STERKFONTEIN CAVES

For Sizwe Vilakazi

 

An hour’s drive or so from Johannesburg

and Pretoria are limestone caves,

a depository of fossils,

a chance ossuary of hominids,

the so-called Cradle of Humankind, owned

by Witwatersrand University.

 

Our guide, the first time we visited, was Arnold,

a young man in his twenties, who had lived

all his life near the caves, and whose ambition,

since boyhood, had been to be a guide.

He showed us a pool and its blind reptiles –

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CECIL AND PRECIOUS

 

RHODES MEMORIAL

Rhodes Memorial, Cape Town, © Sylvia Selzer 2009

 

‘Equal rights for all civilized men south of the Zambesi!’

Cecil Rhodes

 

I

 

Apparently, he loved the view from this spot –

the north east slopes of Table Mountain – indeed,

owned much of the foreground. The sycophants

of Cape Town built, with granite quarried

from the mountain itself, this monument –

with Doric columns and arcades (which he

so revered,

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CECIL AND PRECIOUS

RHODES MEMORIAL

Rhodes Memorial, Cape Town. © Sylvia Selzer 2009

 

‘Equal rights for all civilized men south of the Zambesi!’ Cecil Rhodes

 

I

 

Apparently, he loved the view from this spot –

the north east slopes of Table Mountain – indeed,

owned much of the foreground. The sycophants

of Cape Town built, with granite quarried

from the mountain itself, this monument –

with Doric columns and arcades (which he

so revered, apparently),

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CECIL AND PRECIOUS

Rhodes Memorial, Cape Town. SCES © 2009

 

‘Equal rights for all civilized men south of the Zambesi!’ Cecil Rhodes

 

I

 

Apparently, he loved the view from this spot –

the north east slopes of Table Mountain – indeed,

owned much of the foreground. The sycophants

of Cape Town built, with granite quarried

from the mountain itself, this monument –

with Doric columns and arcades (which he

so revered, apparently), bronze lions à la

Trafalgar Square and a pensive,

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ONCE UPON A TIME IN AN AVIARY

Under a steel net – sponsored by a multi-

national – in a disused limestone quarry

were all of South Africa’s birds, except

the predators.

 

The black warden softly extolled the aviary’s

human values: calm, peace, gentleness.

How well he knew each of the inhabitants:

who delved, wove, fluttered, chattered, nested,

hatched, fed – and defended abundantly.

 

At home, damp autumn turned to cold winter,

birds pecked at the ice on the stilled fountain

and the coalition of the willing

prepared for war.

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