by Sophie on 26 July 2013
Try sticking your tongue out past your lips, take a deep breath in, and as you exhale, create your highest octave and loudest sound, moving your tongue to the right and left corners of your lips as fast as possible. At a traditional Batswana wedding, that is the most common sound you’ll hear, along with the frequent bursts of traditional singing and dancing.
Malebogo is one of World Spine Care’s translators and she was proud to invite us to her cousin’s wedding in the village of Shoshong. The wedding had started on the Thursday at a kgotla gathering with the village chief, where the bride price was paid, at least 4 cows worth. This ceremony is followed by a visit to the council office to acquire the legal marriage certificate.
Saturday, we joined the white dress and striped tie part of the wedding in the orange dust of Botswana and under one of the 342 days of blue sky. We sat in a tent, sticking to our chairs in the hot air, for long Setswana speeches and prayers.
We then followed the bride and groom and their families for the photos in a sacred part of Old Shoshong, amidst the rusty colored boulders. My camera attracted a group of ladies, later joined by a few baritone voices, offering a grand spectacle of traditional dancing and singing, song, after song, megabytes of colorful melodies.
We drove back to a feast of traditional pap, beet salad and ginger drink to accompany all parts of the sacrificed cow from the bride’s family.
by Sophie on 8 July 2013
While you were in the deep of winter, thighs deep in snow, ankles deep in slush and pores deeply frozen, we were in the heart of watermelon season. Everywhere in Mahalapye, possibly the whole country, watermelons. For sale in the back of pick-up trucks, the trunks of old cars, at every major intersection and often just there, in the middle of what seems to be nowhere, watermelons. It is in our fruit salads, our smoothies, watermelon salsa, watermelon sorbet, watermelon Mojito, bites, sliced, cubed, juiced, minced. Now that your winter has melted, the rains have poured and the gardens are green, now that the watermelons are in your part of the world, may I recommend grilled watermelon with blue cheese and prosciutto!
One morning, on our way to Shoshong, following the watermelon highway, we stopped to find photos of workers in the fields. Then a family, 2 brothers and 2 sisters, 2 donkeys and one dog, invited us to follow them to the reservoir and share part of their daily rituals. We shared one hour with them, filling water containers to bring back to their family farm, for their goats, their gardens, stews and soft porridge. They generously explained their ways of life with smiles larger than the Botswana sky. All they asked in return was for me to buy them one watermelon. How much for a field?
On the drive home Kgomotso explained that no watermelon is wasted in this overabundance. The extra watermelons are kept in the African sun for weeks, maybe months to create a local watermelon beer, cheers.
by Sophie on 8 July 2013
Madikwe is one of South Africa’s largest game reserve, situated against the Botswana border. It is home to 66 mammals species and over 300 resident and migrant bird species. They say to enter Madikwe is to stand at the very threshold of wilderness Africa. This is a near-perfect ecological environment where every plant, animal, insect forms an essential part of an intricate web of survival. In Madikwe, life and death are complimentary for the continued existence of the natural system where man is reminded that his very existence through the ages has been rooted in such an intricate design.