26 November 2020

Some thoughts about the early history of southern Africa

I read, with interest, a review of the book The Lie of 1652 by Patric Mellet. It is a rather complex review! I grew up with English as first language and was wondering how many people will follow all of the very complicated writing!

I have appealed in March 2020, and again in November 2020, to StatsSA that they add to the next census distinct categories for the San, Khoe, Kalanga and Cape Malay since I cannot see where they would classify themselves - African, Coloured or Indian since I don't think that the Khoisan are likely to classify themselves as White, or the Cape Malays as Coloured or African, or would they simply select the category called Other? We show very little acknowledgement to the Khoisan, the original people of our wonderful country!

I have wondered what South Africa would be like now if the 'Whites' had not come here? What would the numbers of San, Khoe and Kalanga be like now? What would the numbers of Nguni, Sotho-Tswana, Venda and Tsonga people be like? What ages would people typically reach? What would their homes be like? What would their towns, cities, hospitals, universities, roads, technology, infrastructure, transport and so forth be like? Would a farm be feeding tens of people or thousands of people? 

It strikes me that the 'Whites' did not bring the soil, the gold, the diamonds, the wonderful agricultural or natural potential. Without their developing these potentials, what would have been developed by people who had been here for thousands of years and had not done particularly much with the potential?

I appeal to everyone to ask such questions and be honest with themselves before simply accepting the history as it is taught in school now, or fifty years ago, or in books like this one about the inaccuracies of accounts of what occurred in and around 1652. It is good to expand one's vision and not simply keep a narrow view, but please do not let other people tell you what is true - or what is false. Think about it yourself. Do your own research and then accept that, since you and I were not here in 1652, or 180 years before that when D'Almeida was here, 400 years before that when the Nguni peoples first came, or 1500 or perhaps many thousands of years before 1652 when the San people were inhabiting the region that we now describe as the country of South Africa, we will each have our own biases and not one of us can truly say who is right. Let us focus on what is right in the way that we treat each other rather than agonising about who is right about history. Let us rejoice in the strengths of each group and person in our wonderful country and live according to the motto on our Coat of Arms '!ke e:/xarra//ke' which is from the Khoisan language of the /Xam people - let us rejoice in the meaning - "diverse people unite", or "people who are different joining together". Let us build a wonderful united society made up of widely diverse people rather than looking for things that will divide us.

24 November 2020

Family memories

We've been decluttering and so have some questions that have arisen. 

We have been looking at several of the things that I remember from when I was growing up in my parents' home. 

We still use the glass plate and ceramic roast platter that we used to use when we made pancakes. Good memories.

 Jugs and sieves that are still used.

Some things I'm not sure if we bought, or if mom bought. I believe she gave each of my siblings soup ladles.

Big spoons

Bowls on the left that we use. The red and green glass bowls, cake tins and an old enamel pot we shall pass on to someone - just don't know who... The fork at the bottom of the picture is not very visible, but is there to give an indication of the sizes of the items.

We use the sugar ladle, but the bowl has been in the cupboard for decades. We use a margarine tub with lid since ants don't get in 😉
Another glass bowl and the chip cutter. We haven't cut chips for years.

Peugeot commemorative items. It took a lot of time to clean them 😉
Silver dish: Peugeot 505 Ti launch, 23 Mar 1973
Pewter beer mug: To commemorate the 100 000th Peugeot motor vehicle manufactured in the Republic of South Africa, 7 February 1973

I believe that this set of sterling silver cutlery is the Dymond cutlery set. I am not sure if this is all that there was or if some items might be elsewhere. Do we sell them, or donate or lend them to a museum? We haven't used them for decades. It was quite interesting polishing them, thinking of those who would have kept them polished in a proper English home. I think we just washed them and put them into the drawer - I don't remember ever polishing them... Sal and I did not use them, particularly after we started to use a dishwasher, if we ever used them before...

Judy has the cabinet from the cutlery set. Lovely craftsmanship. She uses it for her sewing reels and bobbins.
Here is a set of silver plated spoons, I think for eating grapefruit. I don't know if they were given to us as a gift, or if they came from Mom and Dad.

The biggest challenge in my mind is how to let the value of each of these items be retained. If they go out in the garbage they will end up as buried treasure in a landfill. I'd rather that they go to a museum, dramatic society or someone - anyone - who will get some value from them.

We also saw that we have a number of Long Playing records (Beethoven, Vivaldi, and so forth) and the record player. There are so many things that we have not used for ages and we need to pass them on to someone else that I hope will derive value from them. 

10 November 2020

Moving treasures from 'buried' to 'valuable' status

My mind is buzzing. Sal's mind is buzzing. We need to make changes as we move forward - to where?

Two of us in a five-bedroomed house. Not the ideal, but what to do?

I think of the many things that need to be done to move forward. I lie wakeful at 04:40 with a cat disturbing my sleep, doves cooing and helping to keep me out of sleep, it is cozy in bed, so I do not really want to get up. I know that I need sleep as my coping capacity will be compromised if I am deprived of sleep, but there is so much to do and my mind is occupied, and I am not drifting back to sleep...

I think of the buried treasures in our home, my garage, the loft, many things of value that are not realising any value because I want them to achieve their maximum value and so they are achieving nothing of value... 

These bed ends for a bunk bed have been buried treasure 
that need to be brought out of obscurity

In 2008 we did some reorganizing in our home and a bunk bed was taken out that had been installed, without their bed ends, in a temporary bedroom - and then the bed frames disappeared. I am not sure if they had been given away, or put outside and taken without permission. But, some time later I found the bed ends in the loft. So - someone has two bed frames and possibly mattresses, without bed ends, and we have bed ends with no frames. 

It would be wonderful for the bed-ends to be reunited with the original, or even some alternative frames and realise their full potential for which they were originally designed. But, they have been in my way for years without my getting around to finding a way to let them become the supports for a bunk bed again. Cindy proposed using them to make bookshelves for her new home, but I wanted them to become a bunk bed again, so they did not become bookshelves and they are still in my way...

I realise that I have caused this treasure to remain buried rather than letting it become useful in some way. It reminds me of what my mother said - 'The road to hell is paved with good intentions'. I am not intentionally being obstructive, and I believe that my desire is not evil, but maybe there would be better value in bookshelves than these items just being in limbo waiting for me to make something very unlikely happen. If we fail to let them function as bunk beds, or as bookshelves, they may deteriorate and become of little value as either, and then end up in a fire. But even then, branches that do not produce good fruit, or tares, cast into a fire still provide heat for warming, cooking, cleansing, smelting, or some other useful purposes, and the ashes can add nutrients and texture to the ecosystem when they are swept out of the fireplace.

So - I acknowledge that the best intention might not be the best option of it is not put into action to realise that intention as we downsize in preparation for moving on. And - this is only an example of many forgotten treasures...