Without doubt the Karoo is cold in the winter months. We are just back from field work based at Ganora Guest Farm, New Bethesda and it was gray and cloudy and cold. I managed to capture the grainy chill in these pictures: particularly in the skies towering over the gravel roads twisting through the big landscapes. We’ve usually finished field work before sunset and so I get the chance for a quiet walk and the opportunity to compose some photos – hopefully beside some sheltered sun-warmed rocks.
Then there’s also the small things that you see when walking through the countryside. The donkeys, pumpkins at a road side farm stall, freshly shorn sheep smelling of lanolin and there were some orange-red blossoms like flame flickering amongst the rocks.
At night the sky sweeps above you and the stars are incredible. This picture of the milky way was taken when it was hazy and cloudy so I was lucky to get the picture when there was a break in the clouds. The farm buildings in the next picture are very bright because a guest’s car drove down to the farm whilst I was exposing the shot. So the farm was light painted for me. There’s a straight diagonal line running across the curved star trails in the last picture. It’s the lights of the SAA flight from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town.
Makana’s Kop dominates the skyline over the township when you are down in the bowl where Grahamstown lies. There’s a prominent straggle of fir trees on its crown and the oldest townships of Fingo and Tantyi run down towards you as you look up to it from the city centre. This sunset picture’s taken from above city though, on the hillside next to PJ Olivier High School, so you look across the Belmont Valley to the Kop. It’s nestling in the crook of the burnt tree stump with the Old Municipal location, Ndancame and Vukani sweeping down the valley to the right of the picture. The last of the light is just catching the houses on the west facing slopes. It’s there that the full moon rises.
A big fire swept through this area in the mid winter of 2014 and there are quite a few blackened stumps like this. I’ve a picture of the same tree stump in this gallery which was taken at sunrise. The trees on Makana’s Kop are clearly visible in the second picture.
Luveshni Odayar is one of my Masters students. Her work is provocatively entitled Post-Apartheid Apartheid and she presented some of her preliminary findings at the Canon Collins Scholars Conference held in Cape Town recently.
Here she is, front row left, pictured with some of the scholars attending the event.
Her work asks whether the patterns of extreme segregation in Port Elizabeth have changed over the 20 years of the democratic era. She’s found that there has been a slow and continuous decrease but the city is still highly segregated. The African and White populations are the most segregated from each other as they lie at opposite ends of income, employment and education levels. Here’s her presentation.
The Drakensberg above Maclear was burning when we arrived for field work last week. It was a typical winter veld fire that had swept through the farm land and got into the forested kloofs. We could see it snaking over the horizon and it was till going strong next day when we went into the upper Tsitsana valley.
Over the next couple of days we attended Kate’s Green Village workshop in Sinxahu Village and travelled around the Tsitsa Valley ground truthing our maps. It got windy and stormy, as you can see, making for some very dramatic landscape pictures . By the time we had finished our field work a cold front had moved in and on the last morning we got up to an icy wind and snow showers. So in the four days we went from fire to ice.