Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Wednesday 27th April 2016...Freedom Day!!!

Today is a National holiday...





Freedom Day: What is it, what does it mean for South Africa, and how are people celebrating?





Nelson Mandela at a rally, 1994, South Africa
Nelson Mandela at a rally, 1994, South Africa. CREDIT:  GREG MARINOVICH





What is Freedom Day?

South Africa celebrates Freedom Day each year on 27th April, marking the anniversary of the day in 1994 when the country held its first ever all-race, democratic election, ending decades of sanctioned racial oppression under the apartheid system.

What does Freedom Day mean for South Africa?

The South African government's official website says Freedom Day is significant because it "marks the end of over three hundred years of colonialism, segregation and white minority rule and the establishment of a new democratic government led by Nelson Mandela and a new state subject to a new constitution."




The South African flag projected onto South Africa House in London's Trafalgar Square, April 2004, as the country prepared to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Freedom Day 
The South African flag projected onto South Africa House in London's Trafalgar Square, April 2004, as the country prepared to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Freedom Day CREDIT: MARTYN HAYHOW/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
For many South Africans Freedom Day brings back memories of the euphoria of 1994, when black, Indian and mixed race voters stood in long meandering lines - alongside whites - to cast their first ballots.
Nobel peace laureate Desmond Tutu said the day felt like "falling in love".
FW de Klerk, apartheid South Africa's last president, described the day as "our proudest moment as South Africans".




Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela in Cape Town in 1994
Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela in Cape Town, 1994 CREDIT:  DDP USA/REX SHUTTERSTOCK
However, 22 years on, South Africa is counting both the gains and failures of the democratic era.
While the country boasts a strong constitution, an independent judiciary, and is probably Africa's most developed country, a 2014 AFP report noted that its successes are "tainted by mismanagement and high level corruption blamed largely on the ANC-led administration."

How are people celebrating?

The government says: "This year’s Freedom Day celebrations is a highly significant occasion as South Africans have just celebrated 20 years of the Constitution and are celebrating 22 years of Constitutional Democracy. President Jacob Zuma will deliver (a) keynote address (at Giyani stadium, Limpopo Province).




South African president and African National Congress president Jacob Zuma delivers a speech during the Party official launch of the Municipal Elections manifesto earlier this month
South African president and African National Congress president Jacob Zuma delivers a speech during the Party official launch of the Municipal Elections manifesto earlier this month CREDIT: MICHAEL SHEEHAN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
"This is a time to reflect on the strides we have made in achieving the vision of a better life for all. Undoubtedly much has changed since 1994 and there has been progress in every sphere of society, but we are aware that more must still be done.
"Government calls on all South Africans to join in celebrating national Freedom Day and to extend celebrations of our democracy across the country in reflecting on the achievements we have made as a nation.




Welcome to De Rust


The quaint Little Karoo village of De Rust lies at the southern portal of the famous Meiringspoort (canyon), at the foot of the Swartberg mountains, about 35 km from Oudtshoorn. Considered to be the gateway between the Klein Karoo and the Great Karoo, De Rust has a typical Karoo atmosphere steeped in history, hospitality and time—time for well-being and time for community. This slow pace of life and clean fresh air has an appeal to those who seldom have time to quiet their minds. Like most towns in the region, it is ostrich country, while the tranquil tree-lined village boasts excellent examples of late 19th century architecture.
Ridiculously scenic, with mountains so close and so clear you feel you can almost reach out and touch them, De Rust is as yet relatively 'undiscovered', a quiet and safe town where villagers walk their dogs and everyone greets as you pass by. It is one of the few towns that is so quiet at night that the sound of an approaching car will startle you, and you may hear nothing else but the booming call of an ostrich, the lost hoot of a Cape Eagle Owl or perhaps the forlorn braying of a donkey. The Karoo has a treasure trove of nothing - where the silence echoes and the stars reach down from above.
De Rust was established in 1900 on a portion of Meirings farm. Petrus Johannes Meiring extensively explored the Swartberg Mountain range and discovered the route through it, following the Karoo’s Great River (Groot Rivier) which flows through the gorge, and crosses the 25km tarred road 25 times. This gorge and meandering pass is now known as the Meiringspoort. Long before the village of De Rust was established, it had already been used as a rest stop before trekking through the poort (canyon).



It does appear that lots of places are still open but the schools are closed...I was on the road by 9.30 am heading for the town mentioned above!!!











the road was on a good highway and after a while I had my last sighting of the coast for a few days...





.

love that beach

and that bridge also!!!


I then turned into the mountains and ostrich country...


boy I am sorry but they are one ugly bird!!!


Around 2pm I was here


 and I have to dis agree with the above account of this small town...it seems nothing special to me at all. I do not see any special charm and character...but I know the mountain passes close by are wonderful.....my air bnb cottage is on the main road but it seems quiet..the cottage is over 100 years old and very nicely furnished with everything I need....



you can imagine where I will be tonight....



There is a waterfall 12 km out of town and I took the very scenic pass to get there




just a short walk and a lovely fall a bit hard with the angle of the sun to get a good shot but I enjoying sitting and having a bite to eat here before going back home and having tea on the back stoop facing the mountains!!


Cooked a nice pork dinner and now the first problem arises!!!!

Where is the TV??? No TV???? What am I to do??? How do I watch the game tonight???

No worries I will get by!!!

In the US and Canada the going phrase is “No problem”...in New Zealand and Australia it was “no worries” and I now realize here the phrase is “MY pleasure” I hear it all the time.

So a quiet evening reading, writing and some planning...tomorrow a full driving day to see a waterfall and the largest caves in SA and then back here again for another night.

Yashi Kochi!!

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