Scatterlings of Africa

We are on the road to Phelamanga*Beneath a copper sky It was an inauspicious start to the day, my last in South Africa. The 8:00 am pickup was delayed until 8:30; not a problem, more relaxing for breakfast. Out in front of the hotel promptly, I began pacing in the sun as each minute tickedContinue reading “Scatterlings of Africa”

Downtown

Things will be great when you’reDowntownNo finer place for sure The Playground, a market only open on Saturdays, is listed among a number of sights to visit in Johannesburg. My South African colleagues were not aware of the place, asking me to be more precise about the location. When I showed the map, they classifiedContinue reading “Downtown”

Wild Thing

You make my heart sing There was an understated anticipation on the mini bus. We exchanged the obligatory polite hellos, names and where are you from questions. Gerald travelled 30 hours from his home in Seattle to arrive in Cape Town before making a last second decision to join this tour. Sean is originally fromContinue reading “Wild Thing”

5 Days in May

My accent gives me away. People then leap to the assumption I am American, which I quickly correct before they ask if this trip is my first time in the country. My response immediately induces a smile and the understandable question: “So how do you like South Africa so far”? With a sheepish grin IContinue reading “5 Days in May”

Canadian Fiction in East Africa and India

The idea I am putting forward is that new Canadians bring their storieswith them, and these stories then become Canadian stories. Canada‚Äôs pastlies not only in the native stories of the land itself, but also in Europe, andnow in Africa and Asia; Canadians have fought not only in the World Wars,but also in the warsContinue reading “Canadian Fiction in East Africa and India”

Tanzania redux

I just finished M.G. Vassanji’s novel, The Book of Secrets. The story takes place in Tanganyika (German East Africa) and Kenya largely during the first World War years and into the aftermath of their independence. The protagonists gravitate between the cities of Moshi, Dar-Es-Salaam and the fictional Kikono; Voi, Mombasa and Nairobi respectively. The bookContinue reading “Tanzania redux”

Stop all the clocks, let the mourners come

I have been writing about my visit to Kamuli, Uganda for a submission to a memoir writing competition and in that process a re-examination of my time has led me into a deeper understanding of the events. In previous posts about my uncle, Father Kees de Cock, I had described my quest to affirm someContinue reading “Stop all the clocks, let the mourners come”

The streets have no names

Verifying the third “fact” about Fr. Kees de Cock proved to be the most difficult challenge as I embarked on a hunt to discover the street bearing his name. My first step was to conduct a Google map search of Kampala, the city where my Dad believes the street is located. I have employed GoogleContinue reading “The streets have no names”

Please don’t call me Sir

I had more faith in my father’s second “fact” about Uncle Kees being recognized by the Queen. I had doubts, however, having never seen any evidence. I am unclear about the basis of my father’s faith, whether or not my parents had seen any pictures or were simply repeating the information as relayed to themContinue reading “Please don’t call me Sir”

Building pillars

The information about Uncle Kees arrives in dribs and drabs, in no particular pattern and from a variety of sources. The stories from my Dad were the beginning, leading to different forms of inquiry with little basis except that Uncle Kees was part of the Mill Hill Missionaries, stationed in Uganda in the town ofContinue reading “Building pillars”