The Cane Cutter

It was late afternoon. The sun was nearing the end of her day time shift and almost resting her belly on the horizon of the Mafambisse sugar estate. All was still and calm.

Seemingly calm.

In an instant, the flick of a single match became a raging fire, gorging itself on anything in its path.

Furious fireI wanted to show my children the ‘might’ of a cane fire. I raced off to the far side of the estate and arrived in mid action.

In minutes the dusty sky had been consumed by thunderous black clouds that would pump out hot ash. The frenzied fire beneath would leap in all directions; exploding, crackling and spitting with fury. It was all very exciting.

My daughter, however, was not impressed.

She said to me,’ Mommy, look at that fire. It’s burning the sun!’

The sun is on fire   Cane Fire 

 I looked up and she was right. The flames had risen tens of metres high and seemed to curl around the sun, devouring her. After 10 minutes of trying to explain that the sun was also in fact made of fire – a ball of fire – I was met with a ‘clearly mom has gone mad’ kind of look. Her solution to the problem was that we’ll just have to use Daddy’s torch tomorrow.’ Needless to say, when she woke up this morning, she was pleasantly surprised to see the sun still shining!

The Cane Cutter

Every morning they arrive at work at 5 when the sun is still gentle and the dew has settled the dust. They work tirelessly until the field is flattened and all that remains are piles of burnt sugar cane.

Men at Work

Men at Work ii


Having pride in your work

Cane Cutter in action

Side ways


Cane Cutter iii   bikes   People Carriers


” A plea for the spinning wheel is a plea for recognising the dignity of labour.” – M.K.Gandhi