!kun drawings from the Lloyd Collection

!kun drawings from the Lloyd Collection

I wanted to share a find which made a profound impression on me. At the National Library of South Africa, tucked away on the balcony above the domed reading room, was an extraordinary exhibition, not fully installed yet, drawn from the Bleek and Lloyd Collection. In the mid-nineteen century the San people (Bushmen) were being [...]

Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens

Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens

The last stop on my day trip down the Cape Peninsula took me to Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens, the world's first indigenous botanic garden. We arrived at 5pm, an hour before closing time, after the sun had dropped behind the mountain. The gardens were lush and peaceful.          In the cycad garden, life-sized fibreglass [...]

Good Hope

Good Hope

On my final day in South Africa I travelled down the peninsula to the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point, the south-western edge of the African continent where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet. First up: a quick stop at Camps Bay, a beachside suburb.   The mountain peaks behind are called The Twelves [...]

Khayelitsha township

Khayelitsha township

Yesterday I left the city centre to visit public libraries in outer Cape Town. We drove into the Khayelitsha township on the south-eastern outskirts of the city, one of the newest and largest townships in Cape Town. The area has both formal housing (concrete-block 2-bedroom homes) and informal settlements (shanty towns). Townships were created during [...]

Cape Town fragments

Cape Town fragments

I'm in Cape Town, the Mother City of South Africa, for the International Federation of Library Associations conference. I experience fragments of this layered city... Jetlagged at dawn, the call to prayer in Bo-Kaap, former home to freed Indonesian slaves. The charming, tough-as-nails guesthouse owner who tells me "Don't go round smiling at everyone like [...]