7/26/09

Afican Imagery


Jonathan Swift wrote in "On Poetry" in 1733 on l. 177 : " So geographers, in Afric-maps, with savage pictures fill their gaps; and o'er unhabitable downs place elephants for want of towns." I love this quote. To me it conjures those wonderful images we associate with Africa.
I took this picture a few weeks ago when we were in the National Kruger Park. She was with another female and they had three cubs with them. What is a lovely picture and should have made me happy each time I look at it is to me a sad, sad picture. Yes - there is fire in her eyes - look at the battle scar she has on her upper lip but also look - can you see how thin she is? She has tuberculosis. She is ill - in all probability dead already. And I cry for her - because I know her and I miss her - she is one of us - an African and I wonder - will the cubs (who already also has tuberculosis) be alright?
We saw an elephant trying to drink from a man made dam - he lifted his heavy body on its hind legs, put his front legs on the dam wall and tried to drink (with his trunk) from the water within - which he could not reach. He walked around the dam several times - each time trying to drink - but no luck. And I cried. And then came the baboons - who easily lept into the dam, over the high side and drank - and then came the giraffes. And they drank and still the elephant circled the dam in hopelessness. And I still cry.
We have a saying here in Africa - "Africa is a tough country" and another "Africa is no place for sissys." All true.
I have a deep love for this ancient and wonderful country and all its inhabitants - who can be extremely harsh to each other, or extremely good to each other - either way. This is were we live and this is were we must learn to tolerate each other, love each other with all our faults and make this continent a wonderful place - for humans and animals alike.
Have a nice day dear Reader.

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