Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Transkei no longer exists. It is now called the Wild Coast.

Blogging with a view

South African Journal: Day Ten - The drive from Kragga to Port St. Johns took a bit over seven hours. We passed over the Skei river pretty early in the trip into an area that used to be called the Transkei (Trans: to pass, Skei: the name of the river you pass over). The Transkei was the black area. Whites rarely came here and if they did, they needed to show ID. This was a homeland the colonialists forced the indigenous blacks to move to. I had read about this area in the 80's when I was protesting outside of the South African embassy in London against Apartheid (meaning separateness in Afrikaans; 1948-1991, the white minority of South Africa used force to oppress the black majority by forcing them into segregated homelands and denying them equality).

Had to slam on the breaks to avoid hitting these bulls who were fighting on the highway. All sorts of obstacles are on the road from children to drunks to sheep.

As soon as we crossed the bridge into the-area-previously-known-as-the-Transkei (now named the East Cape or the Wild Coast), we saw an adolescent young man in traditional dress, his dark black body painted white, walking into the bush with a walking stick. This is a right of passage. He was the age of my students, sixteen or seventeen, and it made me thinking of them; except he was just circumcised and was being sent into the bush for a week to become a man. We have definitely crossed into a different part of South African.

Watched some of the five day cricket test match, South Africa vs. Australia (image stolen from the interwebs)

Been watching cricket with my brother-in-law Miles, a five day test match between Australia and South Africa. I think I understand the sport by now. Very slow and very strategic. The South African team, The Proteas (after the national flower) is very diverse. They actually have a quota to have non-white races represented on the team. Kinda strange to see a blond haired, pasty white skinned British looking guy playing side-by-side with a dark skinned Muslim with a long, bushy beard. Very cool actually. And to see my brother-in-law get excited about a play that I can barely tell that something happened was amusing. Our sports are so full of flair, home runs where the batter freezes at the end of his swing or a basketball player spinning in the air and slam dunking the ball. Where they do have us is with the length of the game and the score. Though there are one day cricket events, a test match lasts five days with a score of 475 to 490 not too uncommon. Miles has been to a test match. He told me that some of the big games will have over 60,000 fans attending from 10:00am 'till 5:00 or 6:00pm, all five days. Whole lotta beer drinking going on.

Hashim Amla of the South African Cricket team (image stolen from the interwebs)

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