Port Edward Lighthouse

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Port Edward Lighthouse situated at 130 Milford Road, Port Edward on the Lower South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal

We visited the Port Edward Lighthouse on a beautiful summer’s day. It’s not on the beach, as I had imagined, but is built amongst the houses in a residential area.  It is fully operational so my first thought was for the neighbours. I wondered how they slept at night as the lighthouse has two beams, is powered by half a million candlewatts and is visible for 40 kms!

It’s official name is “North Sand Bluff Lighthouse”.  Here are some interesting facts:

  • It is 24 metres tall;
  • Was originally built in 1968;
  • And rebuilt in 1999;
  • It is about 5 storeys high;
  • And has a spiral staircase;
  • The lighthouse is owned and operated by the Transnet National Port Authority.

 

“Sometimes amidst all of the wars,

all you need is to become the lighthouse,

not the sword”

Akshay Vasu

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Port Shepstone Lighthouse

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Although I lived in Port Shepstone for a long time, I never took much notice of the lighthouse. I rectified this on a recent trip down to the South Coast when we stopped off to take some photographs of this attractive building.

The lighthouse is situated near the mouth of the Umzimkulu River and is about 8 metres high. It is made of cast iron and was shipped from the UK to South Africa in the 1890’s.  On its arrival on South African shores, it was erected at Scottburgh where it was used to indicate part of the reef of the Aliwal Shoal.  It was moved from Scottburgh to Port Shepstone in about 1906 where it has stood for over a century.

The lighthouse is a National Monument and is well maintained. It is painted in black and white checkerboard style which looks beautiful and distinctive. The lighthouse’s revolving electrical light flashes once in every 6 seconds and it has a light range of 26 sea miles.

Apart from it being essential to the safety of seagoing vessels, it is also a perfect landmark which says “Welcome to Port Shepstone”.

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The Last Vote

With all the hype around the American elections and Brexit, I’m reminded of a vote which took place in our neighbourhood in the early 1960’s.

My parents used to help out at the polling station at the Scout Hall in Wychwood, Germiston, together with their friends and neighbours, Arthur and Megan Otty, who, like my parents, were supporters of the United Party.

At this particular local election, it fell to Arthur to fetch voters who did not have their own transport. Arthur drove up and down all day ferrying voters to and from the polling station. By just after 4.30 p.m. he thought he was done for the day when he realised he had forgotten to fetch Mrs Beech. But, as it was less than half an hour before the polls were due to close, he also realised that it was not likely that he would be able to get her there in time to vote. Arthur was tempted not to make the effort but, after a bit of coaxing, he decided that he would give it a try, so off he went.

He did his best and in this case, it was good enough! Arthur arrived back a couple of minutes before the polls closed with Mrs Beech in tow, who was a bit grumpy at having been forgotten. She told anyone who would listen that she had waited the whole day to be fetched. Fortunately, she managed to cast her vote just before cut off time. Arthur took her home again wondering if he should have bothered after getting an earful from her.

Then the counting began.

The two parties were neck and neck and this went on until all the votes were counted. It was cheers all round when the United Party beat the Nationalist Party by just one vote!

From then on, Arthur frequently told the story of how he single-handedly won the local election for the United Party.

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2014 voter’s stamp

Red Desert

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We visit the KZN South Coast each year and this year I decided to browse the internet in the hopes of finding something different to do or see.

Well, I got more than I bargained for when I discovered from my research that there is a desert in Port Edward which is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the smallest desert in the world.

it didn’t take much for my husband to agree to visit the desert and so we set off from Margate to Port Edward in search of the Red Desert.

We turned off onto the Old Pont Road at Port Edward and then onto Maurice Road where we arrived at the Red Desert Nature Reserve sign. A short walk through the veld led us to the Red Desert which is only 200 metres wide and about 11 hectares.

The bright red of the desert sand is quite startling against the surrounding lush vegetation.  I have read that the desert’s layout is similar to that of the Arizona Desert, in miniature, of course.

The reasons for the Red Desert’s existence vary from being caused by overgrazing of cattle by the Zulus to being an alien landing site. Apparently archaeological artifacts have also been discovered there.

Finding the Red Desert has reminded me not to take any place for granted –  I lived on the South Coast for many years and had never heard about this little gem.  I’m sure that the people of Port Edward are very proud of their desert which is a National Heritage Site.

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Henry the Crocodile

 

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Photo taken in December 2013

Henry lives at Crocworld near Scottburgh on the South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal and, at the grand old age of 116, is believed to be the oldest Nile crocodile in captivity.

Fun Facts about Henry:

  • He was born around 1900;
  • Henry weighs about 500 kg;
  • He has 6 wives;
  • Henry has fathered about 10 000 children.

Henry is a man-eater. When he was in the wild, a Botswanan tribe asked Sir Henry, an elephant hunter, to kill Henry. But, when Sir Henry captured him, the tribe reduced his death sentence to a lifetime in captivity believing that would be harder on Henry than a quick death. So, as penance for his crimes, Henry has had to endure captivity.

When my granddaughter visited Henry and was told that prior to his capture, he had eaten several children, she said, “Wow, he’s pretty cool – but those poor children!”

Those poor children indeed!!

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Extract from my Anthology

When I was at school we kept anthologies in which we wrote and appropriately illustrated the poems we had to learn by heart. As an adult I still keep an anthology but now it contains only poems and quotations which mean something to me. I discovered the words below in the early 1980’s but, unfortunately, do not know the name of the the writer. They are perfect to remember when life gets tough and problems seem insurmountable.

“When you think how you’ve been guided,

and helped upon the way,

How fears that really terrified,

died out and passed away;

How, when you felt all hope had gone,

there came a ray of light –

And through the darkening shadow,

You could find your way alright;

When you recall that all through life,

You have been safely led –

It’s treason and weak cowardice,

to fear what lies ahead.”

Unknown

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Sunrise : RL Pieterse

The Feast of Corpus Christi, Lisbon 2016

We had planned to ride on the Yellow Tram during our visit to Lisbon last month but, when we arrived at the tram stop, we were told that the tram would not be running – it was the Feast of Corpus Christi on that day. I must admit that I knew nothing about the celebration.

As we turned to walk up the hill we saw what seemed to be a parade and we stepped back onto the pavement to watch. My husband took lots of photographs and the disappointment of not riding on the tram faded as we were treated to a colourful and moving display. Loud speakers were installed all along the route and the air was filled with religious music.  First came the horses and their riders, then the clergy, nuns, monks, boy scouts, girl guides, police, traffic officers and so followed by hundreds of people who also formed part of the procession.

When I got back to our hotel, I looked on the Internet for more information and I found that Corpus Christi commemorates the Last Supper and it’s direct translation is Body of Christ. In Portugal the celebration is known as Dia de Corpo de Deus. Corpus Christi is mainly celebrated by Roman Catholics although Anglicans are also know to mark the day.

I found this information on Wikipedia in my search under “Corpus Christi”:

At the end of Holy Mass, there is often a procession of the Blessed Sacrament, generally displayed in a monstrance.

The procession is followed by Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. A notable Eucharistic procession is that presided over by the Pope each year in Rome, where it begins at the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran and makes its way to the Basilica of Saint Mary Major, where it concludes with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.”

The Feast of Corpus Christi is celebrated on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday – the date of the celebration is different each year as the day depends on the date of Easter Sunday. In 2016, Corpus Christi was celebrated on the  26th May and in 2017, it will be held on the 15th June. It is always held on a Thursday. It is also known as Corpus Domini, which means “Body and Blood of Jesus”.  Although the celebration can differ in various places, it is usual for bread and wine to be consumed. The bread signifies the body of Christ and the wine signifies the blood of Christ.

Christians commemorate the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus by taking communion as Jesus did the when he shared the Last Supper with His Disciples.

1 Corinthians 11:24-25 (New International Version of the Holy Bible)

24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

25 In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying,

“This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

Not all Christians participate in the Celebration of Corpus Christi, but many Christians take Holy Communion in their Churches throughout the year which fulfils the purpose of Corpus Christi.

In retrospect, I’m delighted that the Yellow Tram wasn’t running on the 26th May 2016 and we were able to watch the celebration of Corpus Christi instead.

“Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come

when we stumble upon one thing

while in pursuit of something else.”

Lawrence Block, American crime writer.

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The horses led the procession.

 

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The Crucifix

 

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Clergy

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Banners

 

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Priests

 

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Celebration of Corpus Christi

 

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26 May 2016

 

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Lisbon

 

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Girl Guides

 

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Procession