South Africa is full of wonderful gifts, for all the people, visitingt this beautiful land.
1.Gift: The Whales
In October, the Southern Right Whales are coming to South Africa in large numbers. The Whale coast, about 150 km from Cape Town, is the ideal area for whales to mate or give birth. This was for me the opportunity to visit loved ones, from my last journey and to see for myself how many whales are passing through here in a short time. Just walk along the cliffs and your eyes can quickly recognize the difference between waves and whales.
15 meters long and weighing about 50 tons, these are really colossi. I felt in love with her pliability, playfulness and courage. The whale songs go through and through. Whether day or night, they touched something in me for which I have no words. I had goosebumps all day. It is beautiful to watch the whales so quietly and in silence. Just sit on a cliff and watch them, then continue to walk leisurely, just as you like and see the whales continue to swim, dive, stretch their fluck out of the water, jump up or play with each other. You will immediately have a deep connection.
I had a special experience in the De Hoop Nature Reserve. I sat on the white sand dunes and watched by chance a whale mom gave birth to her cub. In the midst of the waves, she seemed to pick up the rhythm of the sea, and being accompanied by two female whales I could feel this original birth energy field, which was wonderful. How awkward we are often when it comes to new births and changes in our lives. This giving birth seemed so easy and natural to me, following the natural course of life.
2. Gift: Meeting a Sanguma, a traditional healer
Who believes these healers work with Woodoo, is wrong. Like everywhere else in the world, there are healers, who prefer the white and black way of doing healing work, meaning people who promote peace and people who want to harm others. You do not even have to be a healer. Lulama lives in the township surrounded by 1.5 Millions flatmates. There are all types of accommodation here: cabins made of cardboard and corrugated iron to brick houses. The township is a separate city. The residents have everything on site, the greengrocer, as well as the hairdresser, schools, playgrounds and sangumas. Lulama practices in her corrugated ironworks always on weekends. During the week, she runs an organization that supports single mothers in the township. On the roof of this house they run urban farming. Beetroot, carrots, leeks, salads and fennel grows. Each day they serve a healthy vegetable soup for the women and their children.
Lulama told me about her healing treatments, often women who are exposed to male violence. Singing and playing the huge drum are her main healing techniques. She also administers herbal medicine and gives healing prayers. The exact mixture and the associated prayers arise in her dreams. Every day she gets up in the morning between 3 and 4 o’clock and prays for her patients. I got also an adventurous-looking blend of herbal medicine.
Quite impressively, she talks about her initiation as a healer, among other things she spent several days and nights in a dark cave with only a sheet wrapped around her body. The healing ability is the inheritance of her grandmother, and she got her strength from her father. He belongs to the tribe of Sotho, who are known for their perseverance.
3. Gift: Visiting Linda and Stephen and their Alpaca-dream
Alpacas and South Africa – they do not necessarily connect. But meeting Linda and Stephen is a gift. Linda decided in her mid-50s, that after 30 years of hard work, it’s time to retire. Together with her husband, they sold their company and acquired a run-down, half-ruined farm to grow alpacas. This was Linda’s girl dream. She flew to Chile bought 5 alpacas and today, 5 years later, 200 animals live on the farm.
Springtime is birth time. Relaxed, we sat in the meadow and watch the birth of an alpaca. No screaming, no excitement, the other pregnant mothers continued to eat. Bella, the expectant mother still has time to haunt the helper. After the birth, she moves with her baby to another meadow, the playgroup of the babies. Linda experiences every birth with muse and deep joy. Meanwhile, she has bought spinning machines and taught herself every step. They are currently organizing a big festival on their farm. A fulfilling retirement! It is never too late!
4. Gift: The Table Montain
Table Mountain is part of every visitors program. I was really impressed by this mountain. Once at the top, visitors gather around the central point and take pictures. But it is much nicer to walk around the whole plateau. Suddenly, you are alone on the path, have beautiful views and can watch the cute Dassies (Klip badger). It’s special up there, you feel the mountain with its power and can make friends.
We were also able to inspect a large cloud of smoke. Bush fires are unusual in spring. No wonder South Africa has water shortages. The winter was dry, water supplies could not be replenished, so the government decided that each household had only 40% of last year’s water use available. Every liter more is, really expensive. That made me thoughtful. I thought twice, wether washing one’s hands, pressing the toilet flush and washing vegetables, is necessary right now. Water is precious and appreciated. I researched and found out, in Germany we use 120 l daily and 1/3 of this precious liquid is used for toilet flushing. What a luxury. My prayers and those of many others were answered 1 day later, we got rain and the bushfire came to an end.
5. Gift: Cedar Montains
The landscape around the cedar mountains should be especially beautiful in spring, a flower carpet as far as the eye can see. Unfortunately this year, the drought is demanding its price. So I followed instead the footsteps of the Bushmen, that nomadic people that pulls completely self-sufficiently through the steppe, without permanent dwelling and with a 7th sense for plants and animals. The paintings of their ancestors, more than 6,000 years old, are found in niches, rocky outcroppings and caves. The Bushmen are the most discriminated group in southern Africa. In a small camp, I got to know some and learned more about their way of life.
Here grows the famous Rooibustee. This tea plant must have a strong will to survive, because of heat and drought. The name Bushman tea also tells us that it was a traditional drink of the San.
6. Gift: Tea Bag Designs
Jill Heyes came to South Africa 20 years ago and it was very difficult for her to endure the poverty, hopelessness and daily struggle for survival in the townships. For a long time she was thinking about how she could make good use of her talent as an art teacher. After all, over a cup of tea, the idea of doing something with teabags popped in her mind. At that moment, Tea Bag Designs was born. In the shed of her house, she started to dry, depilate and paint teabags. Works of art such as pictures, bags, angels, coasters and much more were created.
Today, this organisation feeds 16 women from the township. Every woman discovered her creative talent, became more self-confident and can feed her family with work. True to the motto of Eleonar Roosevelt: „A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.”
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he, who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
My first journey to South Afrika in 2016 came to an end after 5 days, because of a car accident. Doing a second one, was the best choice I could have made.