Thursday, November 4, 2010

South Africa our Land

Bikers love twisty corners and this was a really good one
Manmade but-by-now-almost-natural landmark of Johannesburg: the ubiquitous mine dump

While riding through Johannesburg on Sunday, I was fascinated to see how the city centre had been upgraded since we'd last been there in December 2008.  The World Cup Soccer, 2010 which was held with great success in our country, certainly had a positive impact.

Johannesburg, also known as Jozi, Jo'burg or Egoli, city of gold is the largest city in South Africa. Johannesburg is the provincial capital of Gauteng, the wealthiest province in South Africa, having the largest economy of any metropolitan region in Sub-Saharan Africa  The city is one of the 40 largest metropolitan areas in the world, and is also the world's largest city not situated on a river, lake, or coastline.  While Johannesburg is not officially one of South Africa's three capital cities, it does house the Constitutional Court – South Africa's highest court. The city is the source of a large-scale gold and and diamond trade due to its location on the mineral-rich Witwatersrand range of hills. Johannesburg is served by OR Tambo International airport, the largest and busiest airportt in Africa and a gateway for international air travel to and from the rest of Africa .

Arrogance or confidence? Telkom is South Africa's largest integrated communications company, providing [integrated] communications solutions to an entire range of customers. Telkom's passion is to become world-class. Although thousands of South Africans use cell/mobile phones, thousands more still have landlines (I do;  I've been associated with this telephone company since the sixties when my parents had their first telephone installed in our home) and use Telkom ADSL or dial-up Internet connections
The Sunday Times is a popular South African Sunday newspaper. It has an audited circulation of 504 000 and a weekly readership of 3,2 million, making it the largest weekly newspaper in South Africa. The newspaper was founded in 1906. South Africa has 13 daily and 20 weekly newspapers. ( As with the other photos in this post (except the egret below), I took this photo from the back of the motorbike as we were riding through the city. I'm not sure what the paintings in the foreground are as the description is cut off; it seems like part of an art exibition. Perhaps there are other South African readers out there who can tell us?

South Africa has had its share of ups and downs. I grew up in the apartheid era and was forty-something when the New South Africa emerged under the presidency of our first black leader, beloved and internationally known Nelson Mandela. There are still many issues which need resolving. There is still grandscale fraud and white-collar crime in the highest offices. This has a detrimental effect on the national health, transport and, municipal systems, to name a few.  Unemployment is a major problem and spills over into crime and violence in our streets.  However, South Africa is still the best country in the world as the giant wall poster declares above

Sounds the call to come together,
And united we shall stand,
Let us live and strive for freedom
In South Africa our land - From the National Anthem of South Africa

On Sunday I posted a pastoral scene of horses. I realised that I'd also captured a photo of a "white bird" which some of my readers queried. It's an egret.  I've downloaded a photo from the Internet showing a clearer and closer photo of this bird which is native to Africa and Western Europe. They were imported to the US in 1940 so readers from that part of the world, will also know these birds. They are also called "tick birds" in South Africa, for what reason, I'm not sure. They definitely don't eat ticks off the animals; rather they're always found with livestock and cattle or behind farming implements as they eat the insects (their primary diet) which are disturbed by these activities.

Cattle egrets are associated with cattle or other livestock, following the animals (or tractors or other farm equipment) and feeding on any insects that are disturbed.  Cattle Egrets are often found in mixed breeding colonies with other egrets and herons


  1. Love the egret!

    That is one big city.

  2. I can just picture you taking photos from the back of a motorbike. You have given us a good idea of what Jo-burg is like today.

  3. Love the little cattle egret, we have the in our wetlands as well.

    Jo'burg seems to have come of age, looks just like any other large metropolis.

    Jo, we chose the shearer's quarters because they were spacious and had a great choice of rooms, and the dining room was very large with one huge table and two smaller ones which suited our purpose for indulging in our art/craft practices.

    You will see what I mean in later posts.

  4. Great city post - looks a lot like here! We have egrets in our wetlands too - such lovely birds.

  5. I believe all of ZA saw a face lift for the Cup. Jozi blew me away, so big and cosmopolitan. Felt like I hadn't left the states. Your ride by shootings are very good. You must have great balance on the back of the bike. And to think Mike gets upset when I drive a car and take photos at the same time.
    I've seen a lot of egrets here but didn't realize they came from there.
    Thanks for the ride. ;)

  6. Aha, cattle egrets, I knew it, as soon as I saw one with the horses.
    The photos of the city are fascinating, Jo. I had no idea Johannesburg was that big.
    The huge signs on the buildings make me think "how can they see out the windows?" and "how does light get in?" even though I know there's some kind of technology which allows both light and visibility. But my mind doesn't immediately go there. My first thought is "ooh, how dark and gloomy inside"!!
    Very interesting post. Great to learn more about your city (Jo'burg, named after you)!!
    Luv, K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  7. For unfortunately a lot of so called "white" people, other colors are just not "normal" how stupid. For me you can look like a zebra it's the character which counts.
    I was 18 when I saw my first black person it was a girl from the Congo in my Buisiness school ! Imagine, I remember that I was fascinated by her hands, pink inside black outside. I think it will still take years until all feel equal !

  8. South Africa and its people can be proud of the progress they've made over the years. It's really a gorgeous country and I'd love to visit.

  9. Beautiful photos of your area, Jo... The World Cup really put life into Johannesburg, didn't it????? That's interesting that it the largest city not on a river, lake or coastline.

    Looks like you live in a fabulous place...

  10. I've seen cattle egrets here, but I didn't realize they had been brought in from South Africa.
    Great photos taken from a motor bike. That's quite an achievement. It's interesting to learn about your country through your observant eyes.

  11. This was a very interesting cyber-tour of Johannesburg, Jo. I was fascinated to read that it is the world's largest city not situated on a river, lake, or coastline. Thanks for the mini-tour via motorcycle!

    We have egrets here in northern California, too, due to the many rivers, streams and lakes in these parts.

  12. Great pictures Jo. I love your blog and will be back for more when I'm feeling homesick...I am currently in Ghana and am very curious about your experiences in West Africa.


Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate your feedback. Jo