OnSafari: Flowering Life

OnSafari: Flowering Life

The numbers are astounding. How many large wild flowers did we see in five days? How many billions? How many different colors? I can’t begin to answer that, but they covered every shade imaginable.

Our “South African Flower Safari” ended with some really scary drives. South Africa is peppered with mountain passes and the majority of them are in the western and northern Cape, where we were traveling.
Read more

Wildest Flowers

Wildest Flowers

[For many more wild flower pictures of our trip in the Western Cape, go to Facebook AfricaAnswerMan.] Think about Africa. Then think about flowers. Must be spring and must be super-grand!

We have three days left on our wild flower tour of the western Cape and I’m not sure we won’t soon all explode into sparkling pixels. It’s really unbelievable this year!
Read more

Beautiful Beast

Beautiful Beast

South Africa is exquisitely beautiful and culturally devastatingly complex. It’s the bitter-sweet but intense experience I try to convey at the start of a South African trip.

My job was made really easy this time. The whole massive conundrum is so perfectly conveyed by Cape Town’s new super modern art museum, anchored at the moment by Rose Tracey’s “Shooting Down Babylon” exhibition.

On the one hand we walked across the top of the Cape of Good Hope able to see for miles and miles out to see and watch all the anger boiled by the seven seas crash against giant mountains. And on the other hand the vast majority of South Africans remain captured in an asphyxiating ugly past that Tracey characterizes as “Mandela’s Dream Deferred.”
Read more

What We Worry?

What We Worry?

Shortly before my first group was to kayak up to Hubbard Glacier in Alaska’s Russsel Fjord there was concern that the glacier was growing so fast that it would seal the fjord.

Not only might the seal break unleashing an ocean over us kayakers, but a Hubbard calving would be catastrophic. We’d no longer be able to point our tips towards the 40-foot wave and ride it like a single hill as it diminished into the ocean. It’d bounce back and forth churning our kayaks like pine nuts thrown into mix master making pea soup. This is exactly what’s happening to global politics, evident today in Africa.
Read more

Gutting Democracy

Gutting Democracy

Some of the best legal scholarship of our times created Kenya’s new constitution 15 years ago and South Africa’s a decade earlier.

In the end both Kenya and South Africa adopted a three-branch federal government like the United States. But both societies established a creed practical for the modern age. And it’s the reason both countries protect the right for abortion and the U.S. no longer does.
Read more

GoodvBad

GoodvBad

Africa, make no mistake: abstaining from morality is immoral. Serious moves afoot to boycott those African countries that abstained from demanding that Russia withdraw from Ukraine. This includes South Africa which by abstaining from this historic vote condemns its own courageous struggle for democracy.

The majority of African countries, as with the majority of countries worldwide, voted to demand that Russia cease hostilities and withdraw. It was a historic and brave moment for the world. The results demonstrate which African countries are weak and withering, and which are strong and prospering.
Read more

African Cowardice

African Cowardice

“We must complete our recovery from the embers of dead empires in a way that does not plunge us back into new forms of domination and oppression.”

When Kenya’s Martin Kimani, ambassador to the UN, concluded his lambasting of Russia in the UN Security Council last Tuesday we waited for the rest of Africa to follow suit. They didn’t.

My surprise has turned to anger. A life of empathy with Africa’s condition riles my intellect. What the hell is wrong with Africa, the part of the world that has suffered more from foreign occupation than any other?
Read more

Unholy Alliance

Unholy Alliance

South Africa’s repugnant refusal to condemn Russia is a dangerous over estimation of the importance of its BRICS trade alliance. As a leader of much of the African world, it’s cultish suicide.

Attempts to frame the Ukrainian invasion as just another dispute among us rich and powerful is shameful. The South African Rand plunged today. Apparently the Rand understands.
Read more

In The Darkness

In The Darkness

Britain’s House of Lords isn’t normally a cauldron for news. Scheduled tea breaks would likely prevail over debate of the imminent apocalypse of an asteroid racing towards Westminster. But Wednesday Lord Peter Hain managed to step onto the world stage to – with not quite these words – warn America of what has just happened in South Africa.

I’ve often connected South Africa and former President Zuma, with America and former President Trump. Well, move Mitt Romney into the mix, now. Something’s very depressing about all of this.
Read more

Klassy Kruger

Klassy Kruger

Kruger National Park in South Africa remains the best managed large wilderness on earth. (Yellowstone is close but suffers from too little regulation because consumer demand is so high and ranchers so powerful.) But “best managed” does not mean most “spectacular” or “awe-inspiring” and definitely not “wildest.” Those attributes belong absolutely to the Serengeti.

And it’s the reason the Serengeti is so much more threatened than Kruger. The wildness of the Serengeti just doesn’t fit in with modern life.

Poorly managed and under-resourced kids are still being trampled by elephants, farmers are victimized by diseases like hoof-and-mouth and yellow fever that run rampant in a truly wild environment, and necessary dams and structured catchments essential for agriculture can’t be implemented without random destruction to the wild.
Read more

Divy Up

Divy Up

Minutes after Biden’s speech ended the media of sub-Sahara Africa fired up. No matter they were all ending their day: “Biden tears into Trump,” Nigeria’s Independent online newspaper proclaimed. South Africa’s Business Insider focused on Barak Obama’s praise of the speech.

“Democracy is at a greater risk,” Business Insider concluded.

You have to go outside America to see what the speech means. No matter how historical or consequential the speech may be for Democrats and progressives, it doesn’t exist for Trumpians.
Read more

Wars Woke

Wars Woke

I love Biden but boy do I wish Bernie were President. So do progressives throughout Africa and much of the rest of the world, including … Canada.

“The American polity is cracked, and might collapse. … some experts believe it could descend into civil war. What should Canada do then?” This is not social media garbage; it’s the editorial board of Canada’s biggest newspaper.
Read more

Desmond Delivered

Desmond Delivered

There’s an intersection in the middle of Nairobi city which we used to call the Square of Churches years ago. There’s only one church there, the city’s main Catholic Cathedral, Holy Family Minor Basilica, and it’s a roundabout so I have no idea how the moniker developed.

Kitty-corner from the Basilica is Jomo Kenyatta’s Mausoleum. Between the two on the north end is the Intercontinental Hotel, and kitty-corner from that, City Park. If the new highway didn’t obscure my nostalgic memories I’d suggest that the name of the place be changed to the Desmond Tutu Plaza.
Read more