The life of my blog seems to roll in chapters, with every new African country that we’ve moved to, being a new chapter. This is the 3rd time I’m rewriting my About page, coinciding with our move back to my home country, South Africa.
Our move back to South Africa has certainly earned it’s new About page, being so completely different to the previous years. This blog started a number of years ago when we lived in beautiful Mozambique. But our story started in Zimbabwe a few years before. I married my best friend and first love over 10 years ago and followed him back to his home country in Zimbabwe which was in the throes of hyperinflation. (It was true love!) There I began to write, documenting this insane and sometimes overwhelming experience of living in a country ruled by a dictator and where every single resident of Zimbabwe was a trillionaire, only a trillion dollars could hardly buy you a box of matches! When there were groceries in the supermarkets, we’d arrive with our briefcases full up of Zimbabwean dollars and wait for hours in queues to buy a loaf of bread, some cooking oil or a bag of sugar. We’d pay our bills with fuel, we cooked on fire most nights and we’d attempt to make a living by farming paprika. Then one season, we weren’t paid for our crop. Our foreign buyers took the produce but never paid, exploiting us and a number of other Zimbabwean Paprika farmers.
In the nick of time, we got a great opportunity to farm sugarcane in central Mozambique. We were there for 8 years. This is when I started the Africa far and wide blog, fed up of what felt like a mundane life as an expat wife, sipping on countless cups of coffee and discussing what was happening in our husband’s workplace. I had to do something more with my time there and it seemed obvious to pick up a camera and my pen and begin documenting our lives and the lives of others in this fascinating war-recovering country, Mozambique. I fell in love with Mozambique and bit by bit, I began to look a little deeper and ask more questions. With my camera in hand, I took notice of the everyday life, the struggles, the celebrations, the disputes…I observed a life nothing like mine.
Almost 8 years later, we received a terrifying phone call that left us no choice but to up and leave Mozambique in a hurry. From Mozambique we moved to Malawi and lived there for a blissful 2 years – exploring a new land and its people.
We were happy in Malawi and moving back to South Africa was never on the cards, let alone back to my hometown in a small farming district in KwaZulu Natal. At first I thought the idea was quite mad and I was having none of it! I loved my life as an expat; of moving around, meeting people from all walks of life and continually discovering new things. Going back to the farm and the life from another lifetime, was inconceivable. I thought to myself, ‘this is the kind of stuff that songwriters write about;’ Bruce Springsteen immediately coming to mind!
“The years teach much the days never know.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
I came back to South Africa kicking and screaming, even though it was our choice to come back and in theory, a great opportunity. I’ve kicked and screamed for a long time now, only the kicking and screaming has died down into something of a silence and of an acceptance. And my faithful old friend, “Time” is finally able to have its say!
2 years on, I can say this. Moving is incredibly difficult; leaving a life or way of life behind that you love. It’s like mending a broken heart. It takes time to accept what is gone and time to see what is in front of you or what can be.
Welcome to Chapter 3 of this blog – of rediscovering South Africa; a land of opportunity, complexity, turmoil and hope. And as with all chapters, always an ADVENTURE!
“The best journeys in life are those that answer questions you never thought to ask.” – Rich Ridgeway