Saturday, January 08, 2011

The Transkei

I have a particular loyalty to Xhosa culture and history - which encompasses the Eastern Cape (a central feature of my Phd thesis). But even closer in my affections is the Transkei. Right now its rolling hills are emerald green and the scenery is stunning.

And then there is Mthatha, the "city" of the Transkei and the town where I was born. This is a place of chaotic traffic, humungous speed humps, potholes, and unpredictable traffic-lights. But I love its feeling of being an African town. There are street traders selling clothes, bags, caps, food from black cast-iron cooking-pots, and roasted mealies alongside the road.

I was on my BMW motorcycle and pulled alongside a taxi to ask directions. He cheerfully pointed me in the right direction, and then allowed both me and the family in our bakkie to cut in front of him to make the turn. And no one in the many surrounding cars minded at all that we caused a minor traffic disruption. Probably because this blended into the general mayhem of Mthatha's afternoon traffic anyway.

I am grateful.
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