With a 180⁰ sweep across the open veld we could see wildebeest, zebra, impala and red hartebeest and as if that wasn’t enough, a black-backed jackal trotted across our path. Where was this – Kruger? Waterberg? Madikwe? .. no … out in the Cradle of Humankind a mere 40 minutes from Joburg . I played truant last week and snuck out (mid-week!) for a morning hike with the Johannesburg Hiking Club. I left Liz at Lancaster at 7.20 and, after passing a troop of vervet monkeys as I got into the Cradle area, under an hour later I drew into the gladed parking area to join the some 50 other hikers. Setting off from the property we walked out across the hills and open savannah terrain (where we saw most of the game including waterbuck), before looping back to cross crystal clear streams (this area used to be a trout farm) and amble alongside dams bedecked with water-lilies and along cool wooded paths on the edge of the Nirox sculpture park. So many of the hikers had said what a magnificent hike this was, but nothing could have prepared me for just how beautiful it was. What a privilege and treat to be able to do this. And all at R30 for members and R50 for non-members. The Joburg Hiking Club has hikes close to Joburg every Wednesday morning (around 3 hours) . There are 3 levels – slow, medium and brisk and most mid-week hikers are retired. The Sunday hikes are longer and often further away. There are also monthly away week-end hikes. See www.jhbhiking.co.za for more details.
I had a rushed visit to Umhlaba, the photographic exhibition marking the centenary of the 1913 Natives Land Act, which is currently showing at Wits Art Museum. Because of the topic – the contested nature of land and landscape in South African society, this exhibition cannot be anything but tough and hard-hitting. Superbly curated by David Goldblatt, Bongi Dhlomo, Pam Warne and Paul Weinberg, this is my pick of the week and I will definitely be going back before it closes on the 10th November.
It first opened at Iziko Cape Town where it was reviewed in the Mail and Guardian http://mg.co.za/article/2013-05-24-00-umhlaba-1913-2013-primeval-snapshots-of-our-lost-and-stolen-worlds. Not only does the exhibition offer a narrative of dispossession from the early 20th century to the present day, but it also includes works by 30 of South Africa’s iconic documentary and socially conscious photographers. These include, amongst others, Jurgen Schadeberg, Eli Weinberg, Ernest Cole, Peter Magubane, Omar Badsha, Santu Mofokeng, Paul Weinberg and Jo Ractliffe. David Goldblatt’s photographic essay on Kas Maine a black sharecropper is accompanied by a quote from Maine which serves as an overarching text for the exhibition. “The seed is mine. The ploughshares are mine. The span of oxen is mine. Everything is mine. Only the land is theirs.” This quote recorded in conversation with Charles Von Onselen, gives its name to the fascinating biography by Von Onselen on Kas Maine entitled “The Seed is Mine”.
During October and November every year Joburg is turned into a riot of deep purple with the Jacarandas in full bloom. From a high vantage point like Munro Drive or the Westcliff steps, the whole of northern Johannesburg from the Parktown Ridge to Sandton, is tinged with a dramatic blanket of blue. Join the Johannesburg Heritage Trust for a walk on Saturday afternoon 26th October. Meet at 2pm at the Hope School, Pallinghurst Road and walk the streets of Westcliff, see the historic homes of Johannesburg’s Randlords and entrepreneurs, the famous stairs (210 of them built in 1922 by unemployed miners) and of course the carpets of Jacarandas.
The duration is approximately 2½ hours and the cost is R80.00 for members and R110.00 for non-members. Bookings can be made either through Computicket – remember to give them the exact name of the tour – or through this office on 011 482-3349 weekday mornings only