Wednesday, January 31, 2007

African Images #6 1st world/3rd world

Hi there.
Is it just me, or are you also totally FREAKED OUT that it is already the end of January? Wasn't it just yeaterday we were all blogging about our Christmas trees?!!! I bet we will blink, and it will be 2008. If life goes by this fast in my early 50's, I can see myself being flung off the planet by centipetal forces before I hit 60!!!
One of the unexpected pleasures of blogging, for me, has been that I have unexpectedly made friends all over the world. I anticipated one or 2 friends and family members to be the only audience, but it has been so great to see v isitorsfrom the most unexpected places popping up on my city by city visitors counter.
This has resulted in me starting to see my life differently, because now there are things I would not normally think twice about, but I am aware of how they must seem to the outsider, and it has made my experiences richer.
I think I must have a big dose of "closet teacher/ tourguide" hidden away inside me, because I constantly find myself looking forward to showing you things as I experience them, and wanting to explain them. I think that was the motivation for the whole "African Images" series.
As I took today's photo........
...........I was struck by the fact that there are many paradoxes and discrepancies which we take for granted if we have lived in Africa all our lives, but which must seem quite bizarre to those of you who have only lived in 1st world situations.
So I started sifting through old photos to show some of the interesting contrasts which we live with, and often take for granted.
For example, we have some wonderful, well built transport systems, great roads, railways and bridges etc.
Outeniqua Choe Choe in Knysna
(and its bridge over the Knysna Lagoon)
Birchenough Bridge in South Eastern Zimbabwe
Yet for many, a car is an impossible dream,
and the best they can hope for is an ox wagon,
a bicycle, or a donkey cart.or even a man, to pull you around in a 'Ricksha', a traditional Zulu vehicle.
We have modern harbours, but many use canoes dugout from logs.
While some enjoy bathing in the best of modern plumbing and luxury,
others have to resort to rivers. This is a hot spring in Swaziland,
next door to a luxury hotel and hot spring for wealthy visitors.
some live in huge modern cities, like Johannesburg,
while others live in tin shacks in sprawling Squatter settlements, like Duncan Village, which is in East london,
a stones throw from this magnificent building, which now houses an Art Gallery
and while huge homes house 1 or 2 people,
small mud and thatch huts can house huge families.
One thing many have in common is a desire to embelish their personal spaces, whether they are wonderful large mansions...
or humble mud huts.
It is truly a land of contrasts, and I love the vibrancy that this brings to life on this Continent. (But then I am, after all, a filthy Capitalist pig who exists in the 1st world sector, so I might be biased !!!)
And to end, a bonus picture, I love windmills (you may have noticed how often they have been cropping up in my latest paintings.) I enjoyed the extra one provided by the shadow in this picture!


lilymarlene said...

I feel the same about blogging! Over the internet as a whole I have made some good friends that I would never have met in oparticular is very important to me now.
And I do enjoy your photos! A window on a world I'll never visit!

Sheila said...

Thank you for a look into your world. There are a lot of contrasts, and my observation is that the most affluent isn't always the most picturesque.With out the internet, and people like you I would rarely see these images.

Janet said...

That was a most interesting peek at your world. It's as if blogging brings the world to our door. I love all your photos and thoroughly enjoy your posts about your country. If not for you I would never have known anything about Africa other than what I get through the media which is extremely biased and sensationalized.

RUTH said...

When I started blogging I thought it was just a way of keeping a diary....I couldn't believe that other people would be interested! I feel like I have a whole new circle of friends now from all over the world.
More great photos here.