GREETINGS FROM SOUTH AFRICA!
(Above: Duiwelskloof Baobab: 2001)
Many of you will know that I grew up on a farm in the Limpopo valley during the 1960's. I've not been to the area for many years, but as they say, 'Home is where the heart is'.
(Above: Sapekoe tea estates - when they were still functional: 2001)
There have often been times where I have hankered after my childhood playground: - the beautiful area of the Modjaji - the Lovedu tribe's 'Rain queen' - an environment of sub-tropical splendour contrasted with African bushveld.
Easter time, in particular, always leaves me with a pang of nostalgia. For many years, we would travel north over the Easter weekend to spend time with family and old friends. There was nothing more uplifting than the welcoming hospitality of the people in the Limpopo Province; an open log-fire with the aroma of meat on the braai, accompanied by a cool beverage and the remnants of a magnificent African sunset. Paradise!
This weekend, however, we are home-bound. So, perhaps you will understand my joy when I found an unusual envelope in my postbox this morning. The postmark was from 'Pietersburg' and had some really pretty postage stamps affixed - displaying some of our country's beautiful beaded artifacts.
The sender of the mysterious envelope was none other than a very old school friend of mine -
(Above: Extract from editorial: Soutpansberg Life launch issue)
Thanks to modern technology and Facebook, Wally and I made contact again a few months ago. It was somewhat ironical because, in the months that ensued, he watched me go through the process of launching my own book, MAXDOG, and I, in turn, watched him prepare for the culmination of his life-time dream of publishing a very different 'local' lifestyle newspaper:
The area of the 'Soutpansberg' (roughly translated as 'the mountains of the salt pan), is...
"a part of the world steeped in history, myth and legend and is peopled by so many interesting and fascinating personalities..." (editorial Soutpansberg Life; Wally Schultz).
It is also home to the World Heritage site of the ancient kingdom of Mapungubwe
All-in-all, the Soutpansberg and surrounds is a treasure-trove of adventure opportunities and Wally's newspaper is an apt reflection of this.
Although the Soutpansberg is some 100km from my original childhood farm, I still regard it as part of my own personal heritage. I was delighted to have the opportunity to grab a cup of tea, sit down in a comfortable chair in my own home to absorb and relish all the news from my 'home province'.
What a fantastic Easter gift!
Wally and his team have done us all proud with their effort to get this 'Lifestyle' publication off the ground. It is packed with relevant, current and pertinent articles, wonderful photography and it oozes the vitality of the community I remember. It also doesn't hesitate to tackle some serious issues either - issues which require particular personal courage.
Not only that, but Wally has given my book a wonderful 'shout-out' in the book review section.
I feel honoured and privileged to have, in some small way, been part of this special 'launch' issue.
Thank you so much Wally for flying the flag of the Lowveld so proudly!
This Easter I am going to thoroughly enjoy devouring every word in this newspaper.
And NO, it WON'T be going on the newspaper pile, but rather in a special box - to be relished over and over again. My hankering for 'news' of my home province has been finally been fulfilled.
Wally Schultz runs the Facebook Group
They are always welcoming new visitors, so please go and visit and introduce yourself.
I am sure you will receive a warm 'Lowveld' welcome.
Wishing all my friends, followers, readers, supporters and lurkers...
a wonderful, happy, safe and peaceful Easter!