Thursday, April 16, 2020

Update and sad news

COVID-19 update

Despite being locked down more severely than most places, there are moments of humour. In South Africa, we aren’t allowed to leave the property except for going for groceries and to the doctor. No heading out to walk along the sea front for exercise.

So people have been improvising for their exercise regimen. As I sit writing, I hear the padding of feet. I look out the window to watch one of the men in the flat below running around the building – down the little driveway, through the garage, up the exit driveway. Repeat. Repeat, Repeat. In fact, repeat probably 100 times every day.

Then I see the man from the house next door. He can’t run around the house and has to run along one side, turn and run along the second side. Turn around and run back. Time and time again. He often does this for an hour or so. I wonder if he's counting laps. I’d fall asleep from boredom.

As I settle down to write again, I hear a fwap, fwap, fwap, fwap. It goes on and on. I walk out on my balcony. On the balcony opposite mine in the building next door, a man is skipping. Also on and on. I watch for a bit hoping he’ll take a chance and try two rotations of the rope for each jump. Or a hands cross-over. No. Just plain skipping. Boring.

What have I been doing for exercise other than a weekly walk to the supermarket? Listening and watching these neighbours occasionally fills me with guilt. I then go to my stairwell, which is three flights high, and start my own repetitions – up and down, up and down. Until I’ve climbed and descended a thirty-story building. Occasionally I do this twice a day. To make it a little less boring, I time myself and try to improve my time each day.

Other than that, I’ve watched two of the TRAPPED series and enjoyed them, the first marginally more than the second. Any suggestions for another series? And Michael and I are making progress on Kubu #8.

And my excitement is building because tomorrow I’m going to walk to the supermarket. Whoopee!

Sad news

South Africa lost one of its most interest people and writers at the ripe age of ninety eight.

Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa, who died last week, was known as a healer, teacher, doctor, and author. He was a very influential sangoma (shaman).

I remember being fascinated by his Indaba, My Children, when I was young. It's a huge book, both physically and content-wise, that recounts African mythology and folktales, which I love.

He was also known for predicting the future, including South African activist Chris Hani’s assassination, as well as the Soweto uprising of 1976, the ousting of Thabo Mbeki as South Africa’s president, and most notably, the September 11 attacks.

During the Soweto riots, he and one of his sangoma colleagues went to try and helpp the school children. They persuaded a few to leave the protest, then returned home. Some people accused him of encouraging the police to open fire on the kids. His house was then stoned and burnt.

His belief that Black Africans should maintain their heritage and not be polluted by colonialism led him to believe that Blacks and Whites should live apart. This viewpoint was obviously not popular during the apartheid years, and he was reviled by many Blacks for being an apartheid apologist.

Although he lost some of his stature in his later years, I think his work is so good that he will re-emerge as one of the country's great writers.

In 2017, Mutwa was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the South African Literary Awards.

Rest In Peace.


  1. My exercise consists of working up vegetable beds, adding compost, rototilling them, digging up hawthorne stumps and blackberry roots, digging a ditch for a new waterline for the new flower bed, hauling cottage stones (concrete blocks) to raise the new flower bed (its in a very winter-wet location), etc., etc. It's amazing how much work you can find on just 2.5 acres...

  2. I only have two things to say, Stan. One, you've got some Type A neighbors, anxious to break free. Two, "Indaba, my children" sounds fascinating. I'll have to search for a hard copy as I don't think an e-book version--if available-- will do it justice. Stay safe!