Tuesday, April 13, 2010

My Room in Africa

This is my room in Africa. Inside it feels much like a lovely guest room in the home of a friend with really nice taste, and who has the kind of organization and sensibility to provide visitors with a selection of pillows, a cozy down comforter and the kind of sheets that are worn to just soft ripeness but perfectly clean without being all bleachy. Whistling Trees lodge has been my home in Africa, and I can't recommend it highly enough.

SAFE is the word you hear most here in South Africa, as in 'be safe', 'travel safe', 'are you safe'? Safety it seems has become a new thing to yearn for - the next nirvana after the fall of apartheid. John, our trusty gentle and funny grandfather of six who drives us everywhere tells of how things were so much safer during the apartheid years. No violence in schools. No killings on the streets. Why I asked? Having immersed myself in books and videos before traveling I thought on this I was clear. That apartheid was the time of violence and killings. John tells me that with separation of the people came a sort of safety within the areas that were for your people. That teachers could discipline in schools. That now he doesn't care to venture out to the beloved soccer games of this country because there is fighting in the game, and out.

I don't say these things to have you avoid South Africa. Exactly the opposite. It is a place now of great opening. Of turmoil awaiting a new form of what is possible when people demand equality where so much history has denied it. Where such diverse people are piled atop one another so closely around the cities that you bump up against difference each minute. And it is wonderful and alive. And in my room in Africa, and exploring South Africa, with the friendship and care of Daniel and his staff I am also SAFE.


  1. loving your blogs, and your perceptions of Africa, Lisa.
    Here is my bedroom in Namibia.I felt quite safe there also , until an elephant started chewing on it.....

  2. HiLisa, What a pleasure to enjoy Africa via your visit and blog. Looking forward to the next entry. Toni

  3. Lovely darling. Wonderful description of your state of mind as well as the state of your bedroom! Interesting that when I speak of safety here, I mean the psychological kind. How much more striking is the yearning for physical safety. Both/and. Be safe in all ways. Hugs, V