se7en

The life and times of a home schooling mom of se7en + 1.

se7en header image 2

Under an African Sky, we went to Meet the Bontebok…

December 6th, 2013 · 12 Comments

Our children were born under an African sky and it is appropriate to post today of all days about the excitement they feel when running barefoot across the land. It is appropriate to say that while we are citizens of the world, our roots are firmly planted on South African soil and when our children grow up they may well travel far and wide… but their hearts will remain firmly shackled to the land of their birth. We may well learn about famous leaders and and we may well meet great men and women in our time – but Madiba will always be the the father of our nation, a leader that led our nation with integrity, out of a difficult past.

DSC_0188

Our children will never know first hand of the previous regime, the dark shadow of an oppressive past, but thanks to so many who struggled for our freedom, and an incredible man that stole our hearts, they will only know the rainbow nation… their hearts sing with friendships from all the tribes of our land. From the richest to the poorest, from the sophisticated cities to the rural outback… our children have grown up believing in freedom. They have township friends, they have city friends and they have friends living off the land in the great outdoors… they do not feel the awkwardness of not belonging, they do take pride in knowing that to belong to this country you don’t have to speak a certain language, be a certain colour or live in a certain area. They were simply born here and claim Madiba as their national father like the rest of us.

DSC_0047

I want our children to grow up with the feel of their heritage firmly tucked into their hearts… the flavour of the open air settled on their skin, the taste of the salty Cape rain and smell the flavour of the vynbos dust on hot summer days. I want them to be able to summon up the sounds of singing cicadas from within their hearts as they drift off to sleep. I want them grow up and wherever they are, to be able to sense the feeling crispy dry bushes scratching their legs as the strong wind blows off the ocean as they run free under our clear blue skies.

DSC_0530

I so want their heritage to be ingrained in their hearts that of all their lessons these are the ones that I formalise… and one day every couple of weeks our kids do school in a real classroom and our classroom looks like this…

DSC_0020

And our teacher… has a kind gentle heart and a love of the land to share…

DSC_0022

Just last week we went on a voyage through the Cape Snow…

DSC_0331

Not the cold and crispy snow that most of our readers are familiar with, but the dry and papery snow of the Cape Vynbos… and summer…

DSC_0336

This month our lesson was all about this beautiful animal, the Bontebok…

IMG_9020

Some of us even take notes in this class…

DSC_0034

And others of us, well we learnt how to behave like a bontebok… they are an amiable beast, and in order to have a fight they walk around each other a couple of times, they size each other up and the bigger male wins and the other male walks away. They greet each other by smelling each other, and from one sniff they know which family they are from, if they have children, what they ate for breakfast, where they have been walking… the list goes on.

DSC_0047

DSC_0046

DSC_0045

And if they can’t decide who is bigger then they rely on who is smellier… the head male likes to sit in the dung midden, just to ensure that everyone knows just who is in charge.

DSC_0157

When we smelt their ummm “poo”… we couldn’t tell too much about them – untrained noses I am guessing!!!

DSC_0049

Did you know: Smell is very important to bontebok and they have a waxy gland, the preorbital gland, that squeezes out a smelly wax, like toothpaste and as they walk through the veld they rub their horns against the bushes and branches and leave their personal smell behind – just letting everyone in the neighbourhood know who they are and where they have been.

DSC_0010

There were a couple of classroom distractions…

DSC_0095

Big distractions… Can you believe this… incredible!!!

DSC_0094

And smaller distractions…

DSC_0082

And before anyone could wander off too far, we were given some “snake-safety” tips…

DSC_0131

If you see a snake stand dead still…

DSC_0142

I love how carefully these chaps are looking for interesting things in the grass and behind them… the ostriches are playing on the beach!!!

DSC_0087

Class went on and we learnt all about “personal space” and the comfort zone of the bontebok and if you are quiet and don’t disturb then you can just sit and observe them…

DSC_0073

Hood #1 taught us the differences between the very similar bucks: the bontebok and the blesbok. It is a whole lot more that the one snorts and snuffles and the other snuffles and snorts. They are very similar in shape and size, but the bontebok looks a lot cleaner as if their mums use laundry powder and their whites are whiter and their brights are brighter… Bontebok are endemic to our area, so you won’t see blesbok in our photographs.

DSC_0311

All the while during our lesson we were being watched…

DSC_0099

So we went for a quiet walk…

DSC_0155

Watched all the way…

DSC_0159

I am not sure who was curiouser…

DSC_0152

Well actually, it became pretty clear..

DSC_0160

As they followed us… at a distance mind you, up the hill…

DSC_0168

Just beautiful…

DSC_0169

And here is the group…

DSC_0170

And they have a very good idea about what to do in the heat of the mid-day sun…

DSC_0309

Lie down and face the sun… and have a little snooze… everyone, except for one, who was having none of that with a couple of curious onlookers watching him!!!

DSC_0007

After a sunny day in the blazing sun, we were able to return home, with new knowledge and really awe and wonder at creation around us. There are not many places in the world where you can spend a day sitting and watching bontebok in their own environment. And so another thread of our local heritage has been embroidered onto our hearts and another memory has been made to attach us to this land we were born in.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Tags: Cape Town · Outings · Saturday Spot

12 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Corli // Dec 6, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    I love love love this beautiful post.
    It really spoke to my heart and makes me wish to go home to that amazing country where our children belong …
    Corli´s last blog post ..for our crazy grandfolkies

  • 2 Cheryl // Dec 7, 2013 at 12:00 am

    This is a beautiful post. So important to really know where you come from. And what a beautiful place to come from.
    Cheryl´s last blog post ..Apple Sauce and Cinnamon Christmas decorations

  • 3 se7en // Dec 7, 2013 at 12:48 am

    Oh Corli, What a hard day to be on the far side of the world… you are away from a very subdued country. We are indeed a country in morning and nothing feels quite right. Sending you all lots of love to the far side of the world.

  • 4 se7en // Dec 7, 2013 at 1:07 am

    Hi Cheryl, So glad you enjoyed this post. We cannot love the great outdoors around here enough, and after an endless winter it is so good to have some sunshine again!!! Hope you have a beautiful weekend…

  • 5 Debbie // Dec 7, 2013 at 7:27 am

    Beautiful! What a wonderful way to spend the day – subdued is the perfect emotional description.

  • 6 se7en // Dec 7, 2013 at 8:21 am

    Hay Debbie, it is always, always good to hear from you… And yes, we are so blessed to live where we do… hope you all have a great weekend!!!

  • 7 Katja // Dec 7, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    Great post.

  • 8 tcmullinax // Dec 9, 2013 at 4:26 am

    Oh Se7en-I must say I’m a bit jealous! It is so beautiful in South Africa! We live in Georgia, US, and it’s fairly picturesque-but not even close to the beauty you see each day! Soak it up for me! XO tc

  • 9 se7en // Dec 11, 2013 at 1:32 am

    Hi there tcmullinax, We are indeed blessed with incredibly beautiful surroundings… it doesn’t help that we are heading into summer sunshine – I will keep you in mind and post plenty of inspiration for you!!! Hope you are having a great week!!!

  • 10 Se7en + 1 Steps to a Beach Clean-Up... - se7en // Dec 11, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    […] a Beach: We chose the beach that our Bontebok friends watch over… a place where the Ostriches play and a birders […]

  • 11 Laura W // Jan 3, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    I’ve been terribly behind on blog-reading and am just catching up today, but wanted to comment on this post. While I can’t claim SA as my birthplace, it is home to my heart and your words and photos stirred in me much the same longing as Corli – to return. We’ve been with you all in spirit this last month and pray one day soon we can come in person!

  • 12 se7en // Jan 4, 2014 at 9:53 am

    Hi Laura, How fabulous to hear from you!!! I am guessing that it really was a hard time for folk, with a touch of South Africa in their hearts… to be on the far side of the world. It was a good time to be here and to see how far our country has come, and to be part of a nation that pulls together while they mourn… I think a lot of South Africa will be just as you left it so long ago and a lot of it will be so different, in a good way too!!! Lots of love to you all, and wishing you the best 2014.

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

RSS Feed  Comments on this post   RSS Feed  All comments
Afrigator