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Notes on the Geography of South Africa: Circle Trip, 1989

These pictures come from a time that already seems very far away in South Africa. 

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South Africa: Circle Trip, 1989 picture 1

The country was irresistable to Europeans, once they had the power to take it. This is the Klip River, a branch of the Vaal that forms the border between the Orange Free State and the Transvaal.

South Africa: Circle Trip, 1989 picture 2

The pioneer white farmers of the Transvaal hired Africans. Now, with round bales and other kinds of mechanized production, workers are hardly needed at all.

South Africa: Circle Trip, 1989 picture 3

Montana? No: near Chrissiesmeer, east of Ermelo.

South Africa: Circle Trip, 1989 picture 4

Africans were thrown back into reserves where the land was despoiled, notwithstanding soil-erosion measures that came too little, too late.

South Africa: Circle Trip, 1989 picture 5

Meanwhile, the British needed a way-station to India. Here: the highway south to Cape Agulhas, the true "southpoint of Africa," around which ships sailed in the days before Suez.

South Africa: Circle Trip, 1989 picture 6

Here's that "south point," Cape Agulhas or "needles."

South Africa: Circle Trip, 1989 picture 7

Port Elizabeth is just east of Agulhas. The choice of a woman's name is explained by this somber plaque. It's history now: late in 2000, the city council voted to change the town's name to Nelson Mandela.

South Africa: Circle Trip, 1989 picture 8

As in the American South, white society was very religious. In this case the religion was that of the Dutch Reformed Church, housed in churches like this one at Wellington, northeast of Cape Town.

South Africa: Circle Trip, 1989 picture 9

A cloudfall at Table Mountain, in Cape Town.


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