South Africa: Beyond the Stainless Blue - Out of Africa, Into the Rabbit Hole

analysis

Even being the child of British parents is not enough to understand what it is like to live among the English, eat their food and observe their puzzling ways, like rhyming yoghurt with doggett and not eating gem squash.

You come out of the rabbit hole and you're on the plane. It's May 2006 and you've taken off from Heathrow Terminal Five, headed to Cape Town International. The lights of southern England twinkle below you. Kent passes away into black oblivion as the sea engulfs any light that was. Even the occasional faint lights of ships far below soon disappear into wisps of cloud. You're going home.

When you awake at dawn, overtired and foggy of mind, the new day reveals not a cloud within a thousand miles. There's endless warmth and you imagine that the brown earth down there is somewhere in the Karoo. And there, over there, is that one stray little tuft of white cloud that is always somewhere in the Karoo, wherever you are and no matter how hot the day. It's the cloud of which Olive Schreiner wrote to Havelock Ellis on 20 April 1890, when she was living in the little cottage at Matjiesfontein...

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