The Russians

By |  Nov 25, 1999  |
Folks, I live in a large, shared house, and recently a group of Russians moved in. They have emigrated from Russia, though I have not asked too closely about their legal status, at least one has a work permit .. Ivan speaks the best English, Igor speaks some, and the rest have little more than the greetings to pass around. Ivan, I find, was a rocket scientist. Maybe a slightly tall order, because he did electrical systems on their rockets, but rocket scientist has a nice ring to it .
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Hello from the millenium minds conference

By |  Oct 5, 1999  | education, schoolnet
Folks, I just went to a conference last week discussing Internet in education in South Africa. I went with George Solomon, someone I met though a foundation in the States that sponsors computers in schools here, through the African American Foreign Relations Council. They installed 30 486-class into Esangweni Secondary school, in Kyalitsha, one of Cape Towns black townships. They all have 16M RAM, and Windows95. There is also a Server computer, currently unused.
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Indaba, My children

By |  Jul 12, 1999  | credo-mutwa, sangoma
Folks, You remember Khekheke. The camera-man for National Geographic, with the rest of the crew, spent that evening in the bar at the George Hotel, where we discussed the day’s events. He said that he had been worried on occasion when snakes had been tossed at his feet - his field of vision was limited by the camera lens, and he hoped someone else was watching the snakes.. He also mentioned another Sangoma they had met in Johannesburg - who had defied his teachers and had published a book on what he had learned.
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Cape Town, the mother city

By |  May 29, 1999  |
Folks, I returned to Cape Town, the mother city, the first city in South Africa. I am staying with friends from work, who have an apartment overlooking the Atlantic. The smell of the sea in the morning, and the sunsets, one every day, computer access, a resort town. I step symbolically onto a plane on June 2nd, as the country takes part in the second election since apartheid. I am visiting the States for a month, until early July.
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Natures Valley, nature reserve

By |  May 15, 1999  |
Folks, I picked up my motorcycle again in Durban - R2200 worth of repairs - including a clutch pressure plate at R900 (eek) and a complete set of gearbox bearings, and R1000 worth of labor. (R6 to the dollar). I pressed on to East London, then the next day through to Natures Valley, just outside Plettenburg bay, crossing in my travels several huge rivers that run down to the sea. I spent a couple of days in Natures Valley - a Feinboss plant kingdom, and the worlds highest Bungee jump (No, I didn’t.
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KheKheKe - Sangoma from Zululand

By |  May 15, 1999  | sangoma, zululand
Folks, I hitched back from Swaziland, and got back in time for a visit to KheKheKe - the Zululand Sangoma near the Tugela river. The National Geographic film crew had showed up, and we set off on Tuesday to his Kraal. the film is called “Snakes of Africa”, and our interest in KheKheKe was his use of snakes during his rituals. He had collected several local Sangomas to be a part of the ceremonies, and after a nice lunch and a beer, and selection of a site for filming, the action began .
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Mbabane, swaziland

By |  May 2, 1999  | swaziland
Folks, I set off to Spashy Fen, a music festival, last Thursday, only to have my BMW R80 break a clutch pressure plate and other things in the gearbox. After chatting with a motorcycle-owning indian bar-owner, he offered to take it in his Bakkie (pickup) to Durban, to the mechanic currently fixing his bike, which we duly did. I then hitch-hiked to Splashy Fen - even with the help of a sign it took too long to get a lift .
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Sangoma with snakes

By |  Apr 28, 1999  | sangoma, zululand
Folks, A British girl came out to Zululand to organise filming of a National Geographic documentary on snakes in Africa. Specifically, she was interested in filming a powerful local Sangoma, KheKheKhe, who incorporates snakes into his ritual. He even puts black and green mambers, and puff adders, heads in his mouth .. We (Graham, myself, and Mitch) took (another) gorgeous trip through rural Zululand in search of this old man, now internationally famous.
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Computer education in Eshowe

By |  Apr 26, 1999  |
Folks, The other day I visited the Convent school attached to the local catholic church. It is a primary school, private, that takes both sexes and all colors .. and it has a computer education. They have a network of about a dozen Windows computers, networked, where the kids learn to type, draw, and program, using Logo. Logo is a kids' programming language, where you ask a turtle to put a pen down and walk around, drawing things.
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Computer education in Eshowe, Zululand

By |  Apr 17, 1999  | zululand, eshowe
Folks, This week I went to see Andre Basel, who is the computer science teacher at Eshowe High school and the local computer ‘fundi’. We installed Linux on one of his classroom computers, and discussed what his goals were in computer education. He also put me in touch with Eshowe college of education, a teacher training college here, which has a room full of computers, largely under-used, without a network. I asked them over to the High School, but only succeeded in scaring them about Linux.
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