Archive by Author - Simon Barber


by on December 12, 2008 at 1:20 pm

At Alexander Bay, we also met Toens Mostert, a wonderful character with features as weathered as the Richtersveld itself. He was working as a guide for John De Waal’s Richtersveld Tours. He was a fount of knowledge about local lore and places names. Here he speaks about his life and and ancestry in and out of the region.

Nkhesani Masilani

by on December 12, 2008 at 12:25 pm

At Anglogold Ashanti’s Tau Tona mine, some 3.4 kilometres underground, we met a newly minted geologist. Over the din of men and machines, she talked to us about her work.

First Film

by on December 9, 2008 at 8:33 pm

Lesego Mlambo comes from the Braam Fischer section of Soweto and has spent the past year with the Joshua Youth Development Programme run by Metro Evangelical Services, working with the poor in the Johannesburg inner city. As part of his preparation for the Joshua programme, he was sent on an Outward Bound course, which is how we came to meet him in Mountain Sanctuary Park in the Magaliesberg. We went for a hike with him and other young Joshua’s who had been on Outward Bound. Inspired by David Sasaki, we put a camera in his hands. Here’s the result:

On the edge of the Richtersveld

by on December 6, 2008 at 3:29 am

[[Show as slideshow]]

High on SA

by on December 6, 2008 at 2:13 am

Nadine Khan of Brand South Africa came with us on the bloggers’ tour. Here’s what it has meant to her:

I woke up today a privileged South African.  I have spent the last six days in the presence of some of the top US and local bloggers.

Together we have been exploring this beautiful country in almost every possible way imaginable.  We have driven there by car, bus and 4 x 4. We have flown there by 707 Boeing, charter and helicopter and we even braved the stormy seas by ship.

All in an attempt to showcase the South African firsts, which are inventions or technology that South Africa is the first to use in the world. Our destinations have been broad and vast and the hours spend on the road has been long and ardours.  We have seen it all.  From launching satellites in space to bushmen rock paintings.  From a helicopter scenic flight over the Cape Peninsula to going down the worlds deepest mine, we have done it.

Of course I came prepared.  We had spend hours debating the programme of our tour to ensure that the best of the best is showcased as is, no gimmicks no false PR just the truth about what South Africa has to offer.

Or so I thought.

You see for the last six days I have had this nagging feeling of white guilt that just refuses to go away. Nothing on earth could have prepared me for this emotional awakening which I am experiencing.

Now for those of you that are familiar with our apartheid history will sigh and lament with me about our atrocious deeds committed by us to the less fortunate. But let me correct you the white guilt that I am currently suffering, is a fate far worse.

You see I have spend the last fifteen years apologising and lamenting the past and up until this trip would have probably had spend the next fifteen years in much the same frame of mind.

I would willingly have been part of a lost generation. Part of the generation of people who did not really cause apartheid nor fought the cause to end it.

So what happened you ask?

I was humbled by the sheer magnitude of passion of ordinary South Africans.  I was touched and inspired by the everyday ordinary heroes of this enigmatic country.

At !Kwa Thu I met a San bushman, who despite the fact that there are only four people left in the world today that can still speak his language chooses to speak Afrikaans because it is the language his mother taught him.

In Alexander Bay I met a man and his wife who gave up the rat race and returned home to travel 400 kms per day in the arid dessert to promote the rock paintings and nomadic lifestyle of the bushman in an attempt to give back and preserve the Koi and San communities.

In Stellenbosch and in the Magaliesberg I met coloured people who are so proud of their French and Dutch colonial heritage that they wear it with pride.

In Melrose Arch I met people who are so immensely proud of our European pop culture, that they are creating a language and a platform all their own which rivals the best in the world.

Today I understand that I really do wake up in a country that is Alive with Possibility.

Today I salute these ordinary South Africans, not because of their ability to preserve their beliefs but for their ability to awaken mine.

I might not be the one to save the whales or the dolphins, to preserve and develop the cape fynbos or the famous one who eradicates crime and discrimination against woman.

But I am certainly the one South African that will tell you that your post apartheid duty is to create positive South African stories, here in your own backyard – and that if you are truly lucky that someday, somewhere you may be saluted as the everyday ordinary hero that inspired a nation’s transformation.

Where Are Her Chips?

by on December 5, 2008 at 11:30 pm

Another great ad from Nando’s. Some may consider it in questionable taste. Hat tip

Eight Nama Dancing

by on December 5, 2008 at 10:30 pm

More from the banks of the Orange River. This is a truly wonderful place. Our host was Johan De Waal of Richtersveld Tours. Pictures of where he took us, and who we met, follow.


by on December 2, 2008 at 1:23 am

Kobus Meiring, CEO of Optimal Energy, briefs the blogger on South Africa’s electric car. Kobus previously headed the project to build SALT, the Southern African Large Telescope, the largest telescope in the southern hemisphere and brought it in on time and under budget.  Click below to listen in.

Same Information, Different Representation

by on December 1, 2008 at 8:40 am

Where to go when you get to ! Khwa ttu, the San Culture and Education Centre near Darling. Beautiful and fascinating place, incidentally, on which more posts coming.

View from the new Mandela Rhodes hotel

by on December 1, 2008 at 3:39 am

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