Wildlife

Last week’s trip through the Eastern Cape may have yielded some excellent experiences and sightings, e.g.:

and:

…but urban Cape Town fought back this morning at breakfast with a mischievous baboon troop passing through the Groot Constantia estate, much to the delight of the tourists and the chagrin of the restaurant staff.

The local baboons aren’t really dangerous – indeed, they would rather have absolutely nothing to do with us humans – but they can be a pain: emptying rubbish bins and damaging the vines.

Watching the estate staff attempting to chase them away with compressed air guns, whoops and shouting was interesting. A real battle of wills, with the staff happy that they were moving the baboons away from the restaurant areas, while the baboons seemed pretty much unphased by the noise and the commotion, and were content to grudgingly head towards the mountain, but very much at their own pace.

More pics of more wildlife (and other autumn/winter photos) here.

Voting Day

Great News!

It’s Election Day in South Africa, and although we all know who the winners are going to be, a quick perusal of the manifestos and promises of each and every party contesting today’s election clearly shows that whichever one gets in, the citizens of this fine land are going to be living in Utopia for the next five years.

Bring it, baby!

Crime, poverty, unemployment, corruption and laughable foreign policy, which have all been the bane of our collective lives for the past 2½ decades will be swept away. The appalling track record of service delivery (or rather “non-delivery”, lol) will be a thing of the past. I’ve checked what we’ve been promised by the new government and I can tell you that the future is looking pretty bright. If we have any electricity.

Woohoo!

Please be aware that this time around, the majority of the population will not be voting for Jacob Zuma’s ANC. Oh no, they’ll be voting for Cyril Ramaphosa’s ANC.
This is the novel, clean, corruption-free version, with only half of JZ’s cronies in the hotseats. And a leader who saw nothing dodgy going on during his four years as Deputy President (despite… well, see the link above). And who has prosecuted and jailed about exactly zero of those implicated in State Capture and corruption since his promotion to President 15 months ago. And who seems regularly amazed at what a crappy state the country is in.

It’s new. Shiny. A fresh start. Mmmm.

I can’t wait. The next five years are going to be absolutely amazing.

A man in the know speaks

There’s no doubting that SA is in a bad place at the moment regarding its power supply. Years of corruption, mismanagement and poor maintenance have left us in a deep hole. What I didn’t know was quite how deep.
Fortunately(?), expert Chris Yelland has now filled us all in.
(The hole, however, remains very much unfilled.)

1. SA is out of diesel
2. Pumped storage dams low
3. No power from Mozambique (2 lines down)
4. 5000 MW (8 generator units) down due to boiler tube leaks
5. Three units running but with boiler tube leaks
6. Other unplanned outages

and on point 3:

Both HVDC lines (1420 km, total capacity 1400 MW) from the Cahora Bassa hydro plant between Tsongo substation in Mozambique & Apollo substation in Gauteng are down due to the tropical cyclone. Damaged lines inaccessible, Extent of damage unknown. Time to restore lines unknown.

Oh dear. About as bad as it could get then.

Chris has also come up with a 6 point plan to try to help us climb out of the hole: click here for curated thread, which no-one with any authority will pay any attention to. This attitude is at least some of the reason we’re in this mess already.

Fifteen

15.
Fifteen.
Vyftien.
Shumi elinantlanu.

It’s fifteen years today since I moved from the UK to South Africa.

A lot has happened in those fifteen years, including (but not limited to): one marriage, a few jobs, two kids, some houses, a beagle, an awful lot of braais, many litres of Castle Milk Stout, and several thousand blog posts.

No, I’ve never really thought about going back.

Sometimes we celebrate this anniversary, sometimes it passes us by and we only realise after the fact. Today, I marked it by smashing out a ridiculously vigorous workout at the gym, which will mean that I won’t be able to walk tomorrow.

Lovely. See you again in 2034.

Twenty Nineteen

I’m a great believer in being positive. Not to the exclusion of all reason: I’m a realist before an optimist, but I’m very much an optimist ahead of a pessimist. So with that said, I’m both hopeful and not ever so hopeful about the year ahead for South Africa.

Hopeful because I feel that the vast majority of people here are decent, honest and willing to work towards making this a better place.

Not ever so hopeful because the loony fringes of left and right are out to make any meaningful progress harder than ever.
And to be honest, despite their small numbers, they’re still in the pound seats right now. They have a miserable public to speak to, there’s an election coming up real soon now and a clear lack of leadership at the top of the two leading political parties, while the guy in third place – currently holding 6% of the vote – is happily directing matters via a seemingly sycophantic media hanging on his every rant.
The economy is in tatters, with the promise of more bad news to come in the months ahead, unemployment continues to increase, and the government seems unable or unwilling (maybe both) to do anything about any of it.
Our newspapers and news sites are filled with biased, puerile, inaccurate and sensationalist crap and yet still people read and believe every word. There are a million bandwagons lined up like free Ubers just waiting to be leapt upon and an increasingly depressed and desperate population needing a ride.

But despite all this, I still believe that there is hope. We just need to avoid being dragged down by the really dreadful stuff to the exclusion of all of the good things and good people that there are out there.

Clearly, that won’t happen. But it would be nice if it could.

And let’s also look elsewhere before we bury ourselves in self pity. Not that it improves our situation at all, but it’s not as though we’re alone in having struggled through the frying pan of 2018 only to be shown the fire of 2019.

So I completely accept that things are some distance from rosy as SA heads into 2019, but I don’t think it’s the cataclysmic end that so many people seem to believe it will be.

Unless I’m wrong of course, in which case, we’re completely buggered.

Have a lovely 2019.