365 days ago we were in South Africa.

Is it just me or have you also noticed that the days are flying by? How can it be March already? If it’s March, it means a whole year has passed since Mr F and I went to South Africa. Good gracious.

Photo of a Robbin Island poster

Robbin Island photo

It’s easy to be transported back to South Africa. I just have to eat a rusk with my  breakfast coffee (I’ve written about rusks here).

Did you notice the tablecloth I bought in Johannesburg? It’s been on the dining table almost every day since our trip.

Table cloth seller

I’m ashamed to say I paid way too much too much for it.  It’s so easy to be ripped off as another silly tourist 🙂

I bought the cloth from this woman who had her wares displayed on the sidewalk in Parkview, a suburb of Johannesburg.

You can’t just photograph people you meet. Only after I bought her tablecloth did she give me permission to take her photo.


I discovered it’s a lot easier to photograph signs…


Of course you wonder what they eat in South Africa besides rusks?


Near Cape Town:



Every house in the country has a high wall that’s at least six feet with barbed wire on the top, plus a large visible “sign” of armed response security.

Armed response in Cape Town

Armed Response in Johannesburg

Eight foot high wall and electric gate in Johannesburg.

We drove a relative’s low clearance six-year-old car when we went to Forest Creek Lodge a few hours north-east of Johannesburg.  We were greeted with this sign at the gate.


What would you have done?

We took it as a challenge and carried on. Luckily for us it wasn’t raining, because the road was more like a donkey track.  Keeping the car in first gear, it took over half-an hour to cover the four-and-a-half  kilometers.

The Lodge didn’t disappoint.  I wrote about it a previous post. Click here.

Most signs are in three languages:

"White Artisans"?

A bus shelter

"My Mom's the best"

A corner store

A few signs in the Fort (which was the main jail in Johannesburg) and Robbin Island (where Nelson Mandela was held).  The signs were covered in “plastic” which makes it hard to photograph.

Jail die

Whites in jail ate...

Some quotes from Black political prisoners

I’ve never seen a sign like this in the United States

Thatch repairs

and finally if you’re in the mood,  sit back and listen to South African music, Scatterlings of Africa by Johnny Clegg & Juluka.

while you watch the slideshow with more photos

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

About dearrosie

We think we need so much, when all we really need is time to breathe. Come walk with me, put one foot in front of the other, and get to know yourself. Please click the link to my blog - below - and leave me a comment. I love visitors.
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37 Responses to 365 days ago we were in South Africa.

  1. magsx2 says:

    What a fantastic holiday, I love your photos, all of them are great. I had a laugh at some of the signs, how unusual to see signs about baboons and penguins. 🙂
    Some of the scenery is magnificent, I was amazed at the photos of the menu boards that you took, there seemed to be a fairly good variety of food. You obviously have some wonderful memories of your trip. 😀

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Mags,
      Good to know you like my photos. South Africa is a beautiful country. I’ve shared photos of the scenery in several earlier posts.

      It is funny to drive along a road and see the sign for “!Baboons” or “Penguins” but after a while – if you go past several times – you begin to take it for granted and not even notice them.

      I would imagine that South Africa and Australia would have similar food both being British colonies and both in the southern hemisphere.

  2. shoreacres says:

    Africa’s much like Texas in one way – sheer size, and consequent variety. Despite my years in West Africa, I had no experience of “safari culture”, and the tribes’ lives and experiences were quite different.

    My favorite of your photos is the sign warning to “look under your vehicle for penguins”. That’s just funny – though I’m sure the penguins appreciate it. And I liked your table cloth, too. I brought back some block print from Guinea that I haven’t done anything with. Maybe a tablecloth is in order!

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Linda,
      I’ve never been to West Africa. I wonder whether the similarities between the south and the west outweigh their differences? They are both in Africa! I believe the “Nguni” people who live in South Africa never migrated north of the equator.

      I loved that sign “look under your vehicle for penguins”. If I had more time I wanted to sit in the car park and photograph who actually looked!

      For sure you should use the beautiful Guinea prints as table cloths. It gives me much pleasure to look at it and remember ….

  3. I wonder what “tortila” minus another “l” tastes like. I didn’t know there were penguins there without ice and snow??? “My mother is the best…” warms the heart. So much to remember and you captured so much. What a wonderful, wonderful trip that must have been.
    My friend in South Africa sent me some “rustic” stationery made of elephant dung. And, she also, sent me some miniature pottery called “N-debili” or some such word.

    • dearrosie says:

      Sorry Georgette I didn’t order the “tortila” minus the 2nd “l”so I can’t tell you what it tastes like. Perhaps a South African reader could tell us?

      Stationery made of elephant poo-poo? I can’t imagine writing on something like that. Pooh!
      The word is Ndebele. They are the people who paint their houses with beautiful geometric patterns. We didn’t see any so I can’t post a photo for you.

  4. It was fun watching your slideshow while listening to the music – it helped me to imagine the atmosphere in South Africa… You must have had a wonderful time there. I liked the advice to check under your car for penguins!

    One sign in particular caught my eye, with the Ted Grant quote, which I’ve never seen before: “When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in black and white, you photograph their souls!” Perhaps that’s why Vivian Maier, who you blogged about recently, took her photos in black and white…

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Barbara,
      I’m happy to know that at least one person watched the slide show while listening to the music. 🙂 The Ted Grant quote really spoke to me. I found it inbedded in the path in a mall in Rosebank (which is a suburb of Johannesburg).

      I think when Vivian Maier started taking photos color wasn’t easily available – everyone photographed in black-and-white – and when color was introduced, many people must’ve been suspicious of it.

  5. Mahalia says:

    Aw, time to go back again! Great tidbits and moments, and i know there were so many more. Thanks for sharing your memories with us.

    • dearrosie says:

      oh boy Mahalia, I’d so love to go back there 🙂
      Funny that after all this time there’s still so much I haven’t shared about our wonderful holiday. I’m so glad to know you enjoyed my memories.

  6. Linda Shapiro says:

    I live here in South Africa. Many many years ago while holidaying with Rosanne and her family, her late mom, Gladys would always say,
    “Feast your eyes,” how right she was. I loved looking at all the beautiful pictures and reading your blog.

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Linda,
      Always a pleasure to welcome you here. I’m glad to know a South African enjoyed my photos and memories.

      My mother had an amazing repertoire of expressions and “feast your eyes” was one of her most famous. Unfortunately I never thought to ask her about it, but I think it originated at the boarding school in Darjeeling, India where my mother went to school.

  7. Very cool post — I’m sure it brought the whole trip back to you! (And btw, if you’ve loved looking at your tablecloth every day, there is no way you paid too much for it!) AND… i’m loving your SA music, too!!)

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Betty,
      After all the traveling you’re doing this year and the wonderful photos you’re taking, I’m glad you enjoyed my little “snapshots” and memories.

      You are right. It doesn’t matter what I paid for the table cloth because it’s given me so much pleasure to look at it every day (and I would never have been able to buy it here…).

      I’m glad to introduce you to “Juluka”. When we arrived at Johannesburg airport they played their music in the terminal. It’s lovely. It’s the kind of music where you want to jump up and jive with.

  8. souldipper says:

    It’s now 3 1/2 years ago for me, but photos, a painting and pieces of jewellery take me back to S. Africa in a second. And certain blogs! A friend just returned from Cape Town (her home) and brought me some shells from the beach at the Cape! Oops, maybe they are contraband!

    You were brave indeed to drive the road in that car! The roads are not only full of holes, they eat tires!

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Amy,
      Thankfully we can remember our marvelous vacation in South Africa with photos, paintings, jewelry and table cloths.

      I brought back a few shells from the beach in Simonstown. I didn’t know it’s not allowed?

      I’m glad you reminded me of the potholes in the roads, and the severe tire damage if you drive into one. Mr F did the driving 🙂 As you recall it’s not easy driving on those roads, and because there are so many potholes, the drivers weave all over the road trying to avoid them.

  9. munchow says:

    In many ways South Africa is a contradiction. So much is different in this country compare to any other. Like the “White artisans rest room”, which must be a leftover from former times. Or the fenced in private homes. Or a traffic sign warning about baboons! Quite amazing. Thanks for the recollection.

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Otto
      I assume you’ve been to South Africa because you’ve traveled all over the world. It’s a beautiful country. I wish I’d had more time just to walk around and take photos.

      You’re correct that the “white artisans restroom” is from the apartheid era. I photographed it in the “District 6” Museum in Cape Town.

  10. I have friends who have lived in South Africa and they have so much love for the country! And the beauty of the country! Your pictures are very delightful and I’m sure you think back often and remember such a varied and contrasting country. Delightful to see your photos! Debra

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Debra,
      I’m happy you liked my photos. Thank you.

      South Africa is a beautiful country. I shared photos of the magnificent scenery in earlier posts. If you’re interested click on the link at the Forest Creek Lodge story, or put “South Africa” in the search box in the top right.

  11. I so enjoy your “collections” posts, Rosie! And I’m impressed you’ve had that tablecloth for a whole year. I get too antsy if I don’t change what I see around the house. So it must mean you really love it. Great signs — I laughed when I saw the “check under your vehicle for penguins.” Can’t say as if I’ve ever done that!

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Melissa,
      I also usually change the cloths, but for some reason I’ve enjoyed seeing it on the table, and dear Mr F doesn’t complain.

      I also love the “check under your vehicle for penguins” sign. I wonder what happens if you don’t check and they’re sleeping there…

  12. Sybil says:

    The stories about prison life and the high-walled, well-guarded homes make me sad.

    • dearrosie says:

      Thankfully black prisoners don’t have to endure the indignities of eating off unwashed plates and you only hear about the prison life stories in museums now. The ex-prisoner who gave us the tour of Robbin Island told us the one food black prisoners really missed was bread. Every time I have a slice of bread now I think of him. And them.

  13. Val says:

    Your post led me on to check out your other post and the videos related to Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment, apartheid, etc. I’ve never forgotten about it, but it brings back sad memories to see it all again. I’ve never been to South Africa but I despair of the history – such cruelty and intolerance from the whites. Thank heavens the country recovered from it. Many countries on our planet have beings (in this case the ruling whites of the time) that haven’t evolved enough. 😦

    I think I discovered your blog around the time you first blogged about South Africa but didn’t quite register that it was a holiday and I thought you were South African as you seem to have more than just a tourist’s attachment to the place.

    I love the ‘please look under your vehicle for penguins’. Is this parked vehicles or ones on the move? If the latter, I could imagine a penguin holding on, upside down, as it goes along a road!

    And the Ted Grant quote.

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Val,
      I didn’t remember that we became blogging buddies soon after my South African trip.

      I’m so glad to hear that this post inspired you to check out my earlier posts on South Africa, and that you watched some of the videos. It’s an amazingly beautiful country with a very painful history.

      I don’t think penguins hang on when a car drives off because they don’t have hands. I think they just get run over. I wonder why they favor lying under cars? Perhaps it’s a shady spot?

      The Ted Grant quote is really wonderful.

  14. Val says:

    PS. I enjoyed the music and also listened to it while the slideshow played.

  15. Priya says:

    If it was possible to see me, you’d see me dancing to the music and typing this. Such fun! African music has a special life in it, doesn’t it?

    Ooh the rusk with morning coffee! I shall never forget you as long as I eat rusk.

    Time does fly, doesn’t it?

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Priya,
      It’s not easy to sit still while listening to South African music. I wish I could see you dancing 🙂

      Lovely to know that you think of me every time you eat a rusk. It makes me want to dance.

  16. bronxboy55 says:

    It isn’t just you, Rosie. The years are flying by. Thank you for taking us back to South Africa again. I’m going to look under my car for penguins.

  17. dearrosie says:

    Hi Charles,
    I hope you found penguins under your car because that means you’re in Cape Town and I know you’re going to have a wonderful time. Enjoy.

  18. Shama Sheikh says:

    I am always reminded of my father when I hear…time/days are flying by…he used to say it is in good times that we feel that time is flyng by…because the hard times never seem to end…so here’s to time always flying by Rosie…

    South Africa is a place I look forward to visiting one day…have really enjoyed you giving us a glimpse into not only so many aspects of the country but also their sense of humor…look under your vehicle for penguins…

  19. Ken says:

    Dunno how I washed up here – maybe Shoreacres blog? Anyhow it took me back to ’97/8. We had good times there. Our kids came to visit and saw the “Big Five” plus a Honey Badger. Mom and her buddy came to see some of Afrique and we celebrated Charolette’s birthday in some town on the east coast north of Durban. Mom and Charolette were both caught on video smoking their first cigarette in about 30+ years and the cafe staff sang “Happy Birthday” to Charolette.

    • dearrosie says:

      Hello Ken,
      Though I’ve seen the “Big Five” I’ve never seen a Honey Badger…
      I love the way my post triggered your memory of the Charolette’s birthday celebrations. Thank you for commenting.

  20. Pingback: the next step of my journey… | Wondering Rose

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