Under African Skies

I spent this past weekend on faculty induction with Columba 1400. It’s roots lie in Scotland and the academy is coming to South Africa with a focus on realizing the potential of youth who primarily come from troubled backgrounds.

Through miscommunication, I hopped into my car heading for Esemvelo Nature Reserve on Friday morning thinking that it is about an hour (max) out of Joburg. It was just over 3 hours and I found myself roughing it on a weekend away without luggage!

With most of us operating from a similar ethos, we bonded as a group quite quickly – this also helped the extention of my personal wardrobe :-). I always feel more fully human when in nature, so appreciated walks, playing cricket, looking across the open landscape and stars that shine brighter than in the city.

After completing a really tough exercise on perserverence, our group went on a game drive (better known as a Safari to non-locals). My wisdom of hindsight does not seem to recall anyone questioning our guide Jackson as to why we drove around the “do not enter” read and white ribbon. We merrily spotted all sorts of animals and birds with jubilation until Jackson stopped just before a deep pool of water in our path. He climbed out, inspected its depth and locked the wheels of our game drive vehicle before proceeding into the pool. And that’s where we stayed!

We were all hyped up from an exciting day and the guys; confident in their strength hopped out of our open-top vehicle to attempt to push it out of the big puddle of mud with the girls cheering from the sidelines. At some point there was an erruption in song as we all gathered in and around the sinking vehicle. It was getting dark as we debated whether we should hike back to our conference site, well aware that we were surrounded by leopards, wildbeest, snakes and other forms of creatures.

We spent a further two hours laughing, singing and dancing under African skies appreciating the constellation of stars of the South – Orion’s belt and the Milky Way. In a total of 2.5 hours of waiting in the cold, the African Spirit emerged keeping us going with nobody voicing fear or complaining. Our tractor arrived and saved us within 10 minutes πŸ™‚

One thought on “Under African Skies

  1. Fantastic story . Takes me back to the Art of Hosting Heia Safari in January spending the evening watching football with the Midval team, cheering on the Bafana Bafana and booing Algeria in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations.

    Nothing as dangerous as getting stuck on te land, but the skies, and the camraderie, and the shared experience of it all…

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