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Sunday, 29 May 2011


Visited with my brother Boyce and his wife Gloria in Pietermaritzburg. My brother works in a hardware store and Gloria is a church minister. They live in a suburb called Glenwood. The name is much grander than the suburb deserves. This is a "coloured" suburb. Coloured in South Africa means mixed race. During the Apartheid years each race group had designated areas where they were allowed to live. This was one of the areas designated coloured.

This is an extremely poor area with many unemployed people. Most of those who are employed have low paying jobs due to a lack of education. Gloria is the minister of the Congregational church here. This church serves three denominations, Anglican, Methodist and Congregational, they all worship together in three languages, Afrikaans, isiZulu and English.Gloria is an ordained Methodist preacher.

This is a photo taken from the front steps of my brother and my sister-in-law's house, the church manse. Note how small the houses are but every one is neatly kept. The manse, with it's three bedrooms, kitchen, lounge, dining room and study, looks like a palace compared to the other houses.

Way back in the bad old days it would have been unheard of for whites to live in an area like this.

The hillside in the background is covered with shacks of still poorer people. What always strikes me when I visit here is how happy and content the people are. They are also very friendly, they like to stop and chat with you over the gate.

Last night tragedy struck and a house about four doors up the road burnt down. They had very little and now they have nothing. Neighbours took them in and cared for them. I was fast asleep when it happened and did not even hear the clamour of fire engines and police cars. My brother came and woke me up. There was not much we could do as there already was a huge crowd of people at the scene getting in the way of the police and fire fighters. Fortunately no one was injured.

It's good to visit with your family every now and again. Catch up with the latest news, remember things that happened during you childhood together and other good things.


Gorges Smythe said...

Folks can feel free to call me prejudiced, but black neighborhoods over here are anything BUT neat. That's why blacks with the means try to escape them.

Kay L. Davies said...

I love the fact that neighbours took the family in and cared for them. In some places, they'd expect "the authorities" to help, as no one wants to get involved themselves.
The size of the houses is no indication of the hearts of the inhabitants. I'm sure your brother and his wife enjoy the neighbourhood in which they live because the people are genuine and caring, no matter what their skin colour.
My late father was very strict about one thing. He would not tolerate us referring to anyone by their skin colour or racial origin. He always said, "People are people. Canadians are Canadians." In a country populated largely by immigrants, this was wise—although not always popular—advice.
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Desiree said...

I have fallen behind hopelessly with so many of your (and everyone else's) posts, Phillip. I will need to play catch up slowly, but in order to start somewhere, I am reading the most recent first and I'll work backwards as and when time permits.

I really enjoyed sharing in this visit with you. It's great that your brother and his wife (especially) are right there, at grass roots level (an annoying but useful phrase)to lend valuable help. It's so very true what you say, about how many times those who have so little, are open to offering so much. I've also observed that those who should be complaining the least, often complain the loudest. I guess it's a case of some people not being happy unless they're unhappy ;)

I hope you're happy and well, otherwise...I will be back, soon!