ubuntuboetie

You may have heard these words – fog patches along the escarpment – if you have ever followed the radio weather forecast in South Africa. As a child, our farming family would pause and hush in mid-conversation at least three times a day while the forecast was comfortingly intoned. And for me, the Escarpment was a mysterious, foggy, and far-away place, talked of only in this daily ritual. This chant is uniquely our South African chant, just as other countries have their own weather-mantras: British poet laureate Carol-Ann Duffy echoes the UK shipping forecast in her poem, Prayer.

We left Johannesburg at 4am this morning. Early-morning journeys that start in the dark have their own sacredness: the somnolent hum of the motor, but otherwise the stillness of sleepers in the back seat. For the driver it is time to reflect. My reflections turned to the past week of hurt: the tweeted blow-by-blow rawness of the Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp story. A hero fallen…

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