Wednesday 26 September 2007

Between sets

posted by Paul
These guys have been playing music at the V&A Waterfront for years. While wandering around between shops I spotted them having a smoke break. I've never been able to understand the phenomenon of a smoke break. Colleagues at work always seem excited to share their smoke breaks... it seems to be a really social event.

To get back to the musicians - in and out of their smoke breaks they add a lot of atmosphere to the Waterfront. Their music has a very holiday-like feel to it and I doubt the walkways would feel quite as festive without them.

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Monday 24 September 2007

The prettiest girls in the world

posted by Paul
I'm sure that there's much debate around which country has the prettiest girls. I guess the perception of beauty is to a large degree cultural - still, with this in mind, I believe South Africa has somewhat a monopoly in this department. I only have to cast my eyes across our dining room table to have this again confirmed.

Disclaimer: This photo was taken at the V&A Waterfront and since we have many tourists visiting all the time, I guess I can't assume that the girls in the photo are South African.


Friday 21 September 2007

Leafless trees

posted by Kerry-Anne
Looking at these trees you wouldn't say it's spring, would you? Well, it officially is, and the weather over the last few days seems to be confirming that - warm, with mostly blue skies, and most telling of all, wind. Spring is our windiest season here in Cape Town, although on most days the wind only comes up in the afternoon and subsides by about 5pm.

I'm not too keen on wind myself, but I can live with it because it means... yes... you guessed it... summer is around the corner!

This shot was taken at the V&A Waterfront, above the amphitheatre. Free concerts are often held here, drawing plenty of tourists and locals alike.

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Sunday 02 September 2007

Music with soul

posted by Paul
Though I'm not a jazz fan, I'd have to admit that a trumpet in the hands of the right person has a great deal of soul.

This photo of Abie Thomas catches him at his place of work at the V&A Waterfront. He's been a street performer at the Waterfront for many years - since it first opened, in fact. If you visit the Waterfront you're sure to bump into him and his band - perhaps the smooth jazz sounds will even entice you into purchasing one or two of his CDs.

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Thursday 30 August 2007

Nobel Square #4

posted by Kerry-Anne
Today, the last of the four bronze sculptures at Nobel Square - and I'm sure you'll recognise this man straight away.

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 (together with FW de Klerk) in recognition of his relentless attitude of forgiveness and reconciliation despite all that had been done to him and his people.

A new 9-foot bronze sculpture of Nelson Mandela has just been unveiled at Parliament Square in London. Interestingly, both the sculpture in our picture and the new one in London depict Mandela in his famous "Madiba shirt", which has become firmly entrenched as a South African icon.

You can see our post about Nelson Mandela's cell on Robben Island here.

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Wednesday 29 August 2007

Nobel Square #3

posted by Kerry-Anne
Back to Nobel Square at the V&A Waterfront for the third of the four bronze sculptures (see the first and second). This is Frederik Willem de Klerk, better known to South Africans as FW de Klerk... or even just "FW".

FW de Klerk was the President of South Africa from 1989 to 1994, during the final years of apartheid. I remember the 1989 elections well, though I was just 13 at the time; one of the opposition parties put up posters saying something along the lines of "He's just a new rider on a dead horse", implying that FW de Klerk taking over the reins of the National Party would not make a difference, since the National Party was still doing and saying the same old things.

Well, it seems that FW did in fact make a difference, unbanning the ANC, entering into negotiations with black leaders, releasing Nelson Mandela from prison and helping to end apartheid. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, and was made deputy-president under Nelson Mandela in 1994, a position he held until 1996.

I often wonder whether things would have been different if another leader had emerged in the National Party, or on the other hand, if the more liberal Democratic Party had been voted into power in the 1989 elections.

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Monday 27 August 2007

Nobel Square #2

posted by Kerry-Anne
The second of four bronze sculptures at Nobel Square at the V&A Waterfront, this is Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of the Anglican Church in Cape Town.

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, and was chosen to head up the Truth and Reconciliation Commission after the dismantling of apartheid in the 1990s. He has always remained outspoken against injustice, criticising the shortcomings of the old and new governments even-handedly.

It was Desmond Tutu who coined the now-popular term "Rainbow Nation", which I think aptly describes our diverse and oh-so-colourful country.

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Sunday 26 August 2007

Nobel Square

posted by Kerry-Anne
Unlike yesterday's "statue", today's really is made of bronze. This sculpture forms part of Nobel Square at the V&A Waterfront, a tribute to South Africa's four recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize.

This is the late Albert Luthuli, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1960. He was the president of the ANC in the 1950s, and was banned at various times during those years. Banning was similar to house arrest - banned individuals were restricted to a certain geographical area (not always their home town), and were usually not allowed to be in a room with more than one person at a time (other than family members).

The irony here is that Albert Luthuli's banning order was temporarily lifted in December 1961 so that he and his wife could attend the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo. How could the government of the day have failed to recognise what the rest of the world saw so clearly? It's beyond me.

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