Category Archives: Africa

Little Drummer Boy #7

Sorry it took so long to post a new version…but life has a way of getting in the middle and throwing all good intentions out the window.

I love this version…hope you do too.

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Travel Theme: Rivers

“I thought how lovely and how strange a river is. A river is a river, always there, and yet the water flowing through it is never the same water and is never still. It’s always changing and is always on the move. And over time the river itself changes too. It widens and deepens as it rubs and scours, gnaws and kneads, eats and bores its way through the land. Even the greatest rivers – the Nile and the Ganges, the Yangtze and the Mississippi, the Amazon and the great grey-green greasy Limpopo all set about with fever trees – must have been no more than trickles and flickering streams before they grew into mighty rivers.
Are people like that? I wondered. Am I like that? Always me, like the river itself, always flowing but always different, like the water flowing in the river, sometimes walking steadily along andante, sometimes surging over rapids furioso, sometimes meandering with hardly any visible movement tranquilo, lento, ppp pianissimo, sometimes gurgling giacoso with pleasure, sometimes sparkling brillante in the sun, sometimes lacrimoso, sometimes appassionato, sometimes misterioso, sometimes pesante, sometimes legato, sometimes staccato, sometimes sospirando, sometimes vivace, and always, I hope, amoroso.
Do I change like a river, widening and deepening, eddying back on myself sometimes, bursting my banks sometimes when there’s too much water, too much life in me, and sometimes dried up from lack of rain? Will the I that is me grow and widen and deepen? Or will I stagnate and become an arid riverbed? Will I allow people to dam me up and confine me to a wall so that I flow only where they want? Will I allow them to turn me into a canal to use for they own purposes? Or will I make sure I flow freely, coursing my way through the land and ploughing a valley of my own?” ― Aidan Chambers, This is All: The Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn

The Netherlands
The Netherlands

I thought I would share some of my earlier travels with you. After I had a play with the images.

Of course no river post would be complete without Styx…so for a musical step back in time, in keeping with the old style theme, here for your pleasure is: Boat On The River.

If you have never heard of the Pink River Dolphins…you will find this fascinating.

In case you have never seen this wonderful movie with Brad Pitt…you really should take the time one night to sit down and let it run through you.

“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.” ― Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories


Travel Theme: Rivers

RIP Nelson Mandela


When I read Nelson Mandela’s book The Long Walk to Freedom I understood what greatness actually was for the first time in my life. Trust me…if you have never read this book…you NEED to.

When traveling through Africa many years ago I was privileged to see the legacy that Nelson Mandela had set in place for the day he passed from us.

Sadly today is that day.

Many spout about ideals.

Many say we need to make this world a better place.

Very few people in this world actually put this in to practise. Especially when it comes at a cost to themselves.

Nelson Mandela was one of those few individuals.

I am grateful he was born.

I am grateful he lived the life he did.

And my tears at his passing are not for him. They are for the many who never took his words to heart or put them to action. For they are truly the lost ones.

RIP Madiba.

“Death is something inevitable. When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace. I believe I have made that effort and that is, therefore, why I will sleep for the eternity.” ~ Nelson Mandela 1996 Hamba Kahle Tata

Kicking up your heels.

It is hard to not find your feet tapping, your body tingling when you are privileged to watch others dance. Especially when they transfer their emotion with the twirl of a skirt, the bob of a tassel or on the rising curl of a smile. Ailsa’s theme this week is dance. I thought I’d show you a few memorable ones I’ve watched.

Dance Watoto Children's ChoirThe Watoto Children’s Choir visited Katikati. The choir travels the world raising awareness about orphaned children in Africa. Their joy in what they do has never left me. If you ever get the chance to see them dance and sing do NOT miss out. It really is a wonderful experience.

Dance  Auckland's Gay Pride Parade 2013The Pacific Nation’s were out in full force at Auckland’s Gay Pride Parade this year. What gave me the most hope were the families that were present. If we can teach our children to accept all people for who they are, then there is reason to hope.

Dance Waihi beach Hop 2013 [1]Waihi hosts the Beach Hop for one day each year. There are cars, drag races [and we are not talking car races], food, drink, and dancing. These two couples had me in their spell as they did everyone watching.

Dance  Waihi Beach Hp 2013

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OMG Stop the presses !!!!!!!

If you have been reading my blog for a while you will know that I have a huge love affair with Rodriguez and his music. It goes way back…way, way back.

Surfing the net today I made a discovery. My idol of the 70’s is coming to New Zealand.


I just about dropped the laptop.

There were whoop whoops, oh yeahs, and a whole lot of dancing going on. Recently I was able to finally watch “Searching for Sugarman”. If you haven’t seen this film…you really are missing out.

When you want as desperately as I did to see a movie there is always the fear that it will be a bomb.

From the moment they played “Crucify your Mind” I knew…just knew I was witnessing a magical moment in film history. And as the film progressed I was sucked further in to his world.

I saw Rodriguez play in Sydney.

Are there moments in your life that define you ?

That concert was a defining moment for me. He sat there on stage and played the guitar and sent his voice out across the seats to settle upon me. He sang and my soul soared out of my body to touch his voice as it floated in the air. It caressed the deepest parts of me like the warm water in a bath licking your skin.

I was amazed at how much influence he had in South Africa. My only criticism of the film would be that there was no mention of how popular he was in Australia. But then again this is a story of South Africans searching for a cult idol.

I had no idea how much he influenced the rebellion against apartheid. How his words told a nation it was okay to stand against the establishment. His music inspired a group of Afrikaans musicians to use their music to speak out and start a vocal opposition to apartheid from within the country.

Another important question raised in this movie is where did all the money go from his record sales ? As the people who were looking for Rodriguez went further they got more and more stonewalled. But all roads seem to lead to one man – Clarence Avant. He was the founder of Rodriguez’s record label. He goes on and on about Rodriguez’s talent, but when it comes to talking about where the money went from South African sales he becomes quite evasive and belligerent.

The great Rodriguez hunt saw a website born that had his picture on a milk carton asking if anyone had seen this man. Finally the words of a song lead to Mike Theodore in 1997 who had produced Rodriguez’s album Cold Fact. This led to Rodriguez himself. No he hadn’t committed suicide, he hadn’t died of a drug overdose. He had taken the disappointment and gotten on with the job of living. That milk carton web page led to Rodriguez’s daughter.

It seems life can still hold surprises. Rodriguez was talked in to performing in South Africa. I think his daughter’s account of their arrival in South Africa was the high point of the film for me. They tried to get out of the way of the limousines that were on the tarmac never realising those limousines were for them.

When Rodriguez took to the stage for his first concert it took 10 minutes for the applause to stop…before he had played a note. So this is when I began to cry. And when he began to play “I Wonder” the roof looked like it was shaking…so I cried a little more.

What is the most poignant thing in this documentary of this extraordinary talent? His complete and honest humility. This is one of the world’s most extraordinary men. It makes my heart soar that he knows that his words touched people. Some people get fame undeservedly…not Rodriguez.

Beware…whether you knew Rodriguez before or not, this film will touch a place in your soul. It will make it fly with joy, that sometimes…just sometimes the spirit is rewarded.

It gets better. Rodriguez is selling out tours across America – finally.

And he is coming here…where for the second time in my life I will feel his words bathe me in their sweet softness.

What he’s demonstrated very clearly is that you have a choice. He took all that torment, all that agony, all that confusion and pain and he transformed it in to something beautiful. He’s like the silkworm, you know, you know you take this raw material and you transform it, and you come out with something that wasn’t there before, something beautiful, something perhaps transcendent something perhaps eternal, in so far as he does that I think he is representative of the human spirit of what’s possible that you have a choice, this has been my choice, to give you “Sugarman”, now have you done that…ask yourself ? – Rick Emmerson

My 2 favourite songs


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Weekly Photo Challenge: Free Spirit

To capture this idea of the free spirit, I would suggest breaking some rules. Sometimes it is necessary to overexpose a frame slightly and point the lens to the sun for a bit of glare to capture that sense of a different, free, moving reality – Strauss Louw.

On top of Mt Kilimanjaro I sat and watched the world around me as the sun rose out of the darkness and the cold. And this is what I saw.

To really see Mt Kilimanjaro as I did click on her.

I didn’t do this on purpose…or perhaps I did. I just didn’t know it at the time. For of all the photos I took sitting on that frozen mountain top…none depict it better than this.

As proof that I really did make it to Gillman’s Point…one more shot…this time of another sort of free spirit.

Click on the ‘free spirit’ for a better look.

So how do others interpret Free Spirit – Check out the Weekly Photo Challenge and find out.


There is rhythm all around us. Each day comes with its own sets. Last Friday a friend of my daughter lost one leg in a motorbike accident. As a parent it drew my thoughts to my children and the rhythms and patterns that their lives follow and how one moment can alter those rhythms forever.

Then on Sunday night my mind went back to the same place – for a very different reason.

The Watoto Children’s Choir was in town and giving one performance.

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I went along to the Christian Centre (it is still standing even with my atheist bones having passed through its portals) and stayed on with friends (Church members who were helping to clean up) to have dessert with the choir after the performance.

The performance lightened my spirit in many ways.

The music started to work immediately. Muscles began to jerk, small movements at first…then larger and more prolonged to fit to the rhythms that reverberated in the hall.

The show was interspersed with the children’s stories.

One really made me think about life. About what we so often take for granted. The right to live as we please.

His father had been taken by soldiers and never seen again. His mother died of AIDS. He lived with his disabled grandmother. He was always hungry.

Then he went to live at one of the Watoto villages. He goes to school and lives with a family in a home. He is never hungry. The rhythm of this child’s life has changed.

Once during their lives while living at a Watoto village, these children travel for six months with the choir raising not only money but awareness.

At the same time we were watching these children perform, I remembered that Her Majesty had also done the same with another of their choirs for her Jubilee.

They travel a continent, and then they go home to continue with their journey through their own lives.

On Sunday night I felt the rhythm shift in my own life as the choir filled the hall with their music, their smiles, and their ability to look forward.

This is a video I made of their performance.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Wonder

Yesterday one of the news headlines I read said this: The western black rhino in Africa has been declared extinct by the latest assessment of threatened species.

Another animal gone forever from the Earth. This one affected me deeply as I have seen the south-central black rhinoceros up close. In Ngorogoro Crater and in The Serengeti. Very close – too close for one mama rhino – she charged towards us in a territorial and protective parental display.

The south-central black rhinoceros I saw is in danger of extinction because of hunting/poaching for their horns. They are valued at about the same rate as gold, so that makes them valuable and deadly for the animal itself.

The reason I chose these photos for this weeks challenge is twofold.

1. The feeling of wonder I experienced when I was just a few metres away from this incredible animal. She was gentle with her calf, ferocious towards us, and stunning in her perfection.

2. In each day there is a moment where I wonder – what we humans think we are doing. And why so many of us think we have the right of dominion over other species. I wonder if it is possible for enough of us to learn from past mistakes before the damage we do to the Earth is irreversible.

Today – in sadness and to honour the passing of the western black African rhinoceros from our world I offer these.


To view other Weekly Photo Challenge posts visit The Daily Post.


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In my travels around the blogosphere I found on daybyday’s blog a wonderful post with a link to:

A Just So Story by Rudyard Kipling


Both worth a look see.

Photo Challenge: Black

This photo was taken while with Group 13 at the Virunga National Park in Rwanda.

The young gorilla kissing the guide’s head later played with my hair.

His mother is laying beside him keeping watch.

If you wish to know of my time with them


The Gorillas of Virunga National Park.


Submitted to I Heart Faces Photo Challenge: Black


If you want to see some great shots of our animal friends then check out Camera Critters: 187 is my first time.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Windows

The weekly photo challenge is WINDOWS.

This was taken in the mirror of a truck as Rob looked out the window.

A hotel in Moscow.

A graveyard.

Well hello world…


For more of my weekly Photo Challenges












For other entries…


IsobelandCat’s Blog

Rambling with a cantankerous old mule


Cardinal Guzman

Time After Time

Mike Hardisty Photography