More bucolic splendor and the invisibility of the poor

After a long winter and wet spring, those of us in the photographic trade know we live in photographers heaven. In some ways it is too easy.

At the start of what was already turning out to be a week I would rather forget, Sheila and I managed to get away on Sunday in glorious sunshine to drive along the N1 and Agter Paarl to Tulbach, where we stopped for a roadside lunch.

Lunch at the municipal dump
Lunch at the municipal dump

We were already suffering from the euphoria of wide open spaces and majestic mountains capped with snow against the blue of a Western Cape sky.

On the road to Tulbach
On the road to Tulbach

It was the absolute model of European agricultural prosperity and comfort but with just the hint of emptiness and vast space to add to African touch to a tamed Europe.

We passed Cape Villages with the inevitable church spire prominently displayed at the end of a road in the centre of the town. Cows grazed contentedly in the shadow of the mountains. IMG_2027IMG_2001

and small cottages nestled below towering peaks.


Man was dwarfed in this environment.IMG_2015

The danger is that we forget that behind the overpowering beauty lies poverty with its attendant ills of crime and drink and thwarted, sometimes violent lives.


Somehow we must preserve and extend the one while eliminating the other, because if we don’t both can be lost. We came home past Ceres and Worcester and using a new route to Tweewatersdam and Grabouw and finally along the N2 home.

But the truth be told we don’t even need to leave our front deck to come face to face with nature’s majesty.

From 35 Dorries Drive one dawn
From 35 Dorries Drive one dawn

Note: by right clicking on images  “full size” can be opened in new window.

Mike Berger

6 thoughts on “More bucolic splendor and the invisibility of the poor”

  1. Wonderful pictures and accompanying comment Mike.
    You are absolutely correct about the unfortunate disconnect between the feeling this remarkable natural beauty evokes and which you have captured so well, and the surfeit of human tragedy around and about – on the other side of those snow-capped mountains.


    1. Hi Ray

      Yes there are two faces to the Cape but there is greater chance here of betterment than in the other provinces. The really difficult places are where jobs are short and in the overcrowded urban ghettoes. Education, improved housing, crime control and cultural transformation are key.


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