Kobus de Villiers is a retired aeronautical engineer. He grew up in the Free State. After serving in the Bush War, he lived, worked, and studied in several countries around the world. He still does some consulting and builds contraptions in his workshop. He lives with his French wife in Vancouver, Canada. He shares his stories and photos with Howzit on this blog, aptly called “Slypsteen”
The bright flashes painting crackling blue shadows on the wall of my bedroom. First, the rumbling in the distance, then the loud clap. The smell of rain in the air, the comforting feeling of the bedsheet around my shoulders.
The lights started to flicker and then flashed on. People slowly began to stir. The cabin looked as if a minor riot had taken place.
A cousin of mine recently commented on a Facebook post about my latest fishing trip.
The last episode was about the lion at Harties. While I was writing that, I also remembered another event where a lion took centre stage. It took place at a time when we were working at Arusha, in Tanzania. Steve was flying our King Air E-90 and I was in the right-hand seat. After we took off and set course for Hemingways at Watamu, Kenya, I could relax and check my telex messages. (No e-mail in those days).
After moving to Canada, we often get somewhat strange questions about life in ‘Africa.’ Recently, we were at a barbeque in our Port Moody neighborhood. The conversation reminded me of how foreigners see Africa and South Africa. That was when I remembered an incident one evening some years ago.
Heaven knows what airport security is going to be like post-Covid!
With the tantalizing prospect of traveling again, we had to remind ourselves about the long-lost art of exploring new and strange places other than the nearest chemist and our local supermarket.
A genius never rests peacefully, and his eyes constantly search over the pages.
I feel a little shortness of breath.
It was a long trek to get here for a barefoot Free State boy.
When people in Canada ask me where I come from, the answer is easy; Bloemfontein. Born there and raised in the Free State. A very flat part of the world and if you stand on a chair you can see quite far. Now I am among these steep hills, a long way away from the Free State, revisiting a part of the long road I have traveled from Bloemfontein to Bargème.
Kobus recalls his Christmas memories of days spent on the family farm in the Free State…”The smaller cousins took off, playing with their gifts and the adults sat back in their chairs. The heavy meal tugging on their eyelids. I sat on the floor in front of Ouma’s chair and looked at our Christmas tree. There were no lights on it as there was no electricity on the farm, but through the big window behind the tree’s gnarled branches, I could see countless stars blinking in the vast black African sky.”
Slypsteen’s thought process as he decides to preserve his memories of South Africa by writing a book about his beloved country.
It is the time of the year when the heat of summer is tamed, the mild days before winter sets in. The smell of leaves on the wet ground hints at early evenings in front of the fireplace. The time to enjoy our last hikes in the forest and appreciate the sound of the calm waves swishing on the beach before the arrival of the first winter storm.
22nd of September. Officially the first day of Fall, (known as Autumn in the Vrystaat), in the northern hemisphere. Friends and family in the prairies and the eastern part of Canada as well as northern Europe, are talking about snow and are making preparations for winter. Here on the west coast of BC things are a bit different.