Cape Town Notes

I’m here in Cape Town, South Africa, and have been for the last three and a half months, accompanying my wife, Peggy, who’s completing her sabbatical in this one of the most beautiful cities in the world. We’re living in Llandudno, just outside of Cape Town in a flat we’re renting from friends we met sixteen years ago during a sabbatical year in Zimbabwe. We’re a five-minute walk from the beach which is just spectacular.

View from our deck

For the past month, we’ve been traveling this “cradle of human civilization” along the gorgeous “Garden Route” and beautiful “Wine Route” that attract so many visitors each year. With our daughter Maggie, her husband (Kerry), their two delightful children [Eva (3) and Oscar (1)], and the family’s au pair (Carla) we’ve explored Cape Town, its museums, gardens, and encircling mountains. We’ve also been on safari encountering in the process lions, elephants, wart hogs, hartebeests, impalas, ostriches, black rhinos, giraffes, water buffalo, and zebra.

Setting out to search for lions.

Our son, Brendan, also visited us for a week with his girlfriend, Erin.

Erin and Brendan

Brendan and I played a couple of South Africa’s picturesque golf courses surrounded as they are by endless vineyards and looming mountains.

Brendan teeing off. Mike watching and wishing he could hit the ball like that.

Some of the rock formations here in the southern Cape are remarkable. As Dean Perini points out in his Pathways of the Sun, many of them have been “enhanced” by the Koi-Koi and San people indigenous to this area. The enhancements (for instance, sharpening features in rocks which resemble human faces) serve the same purpose as the completely human fabrications in places like Tikal, Stone Henge, and (perhaps) Easter Island.  They position the movement of the sun, moon, stars, and planets to keep track of equinoxes and solstices. All of those heavenly bodies and seasons influence our bodies (70% water) as surely as they do the ocean tides and the seasons. So it was important to the Koi-Koi and San to mark the precise moments of the annual celestial events for purposes of celebrations, rituals, and feasts.

We’re privileged here in Llandudno to bask in the presence of the great “Mother Rock,” which like so many other mountains, rocks, sacred wells and springs in this area exudes extraordinary cleansing energy. Peggy and I often make our evening meditation before this Rock, and on occasion in a nearby sacred cave.

Sacred Cave
Mother Rock

Yes, the human story began here 300,000 to 500,000 years ago. In the presence of ocean, sacred caves, and holy rocks, we’re attempting to reconnect with the roots of it all and with the animals and ancient peoples who in their harmony with nature’s processes seem much wiser than we post-moderns are proving to be. What a privilege it is to be in Africa.

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Mike Rivage-Seul's Blog

Emeritus professor of Peace & Social Justice Studies. Liberation theologian. Activist. Former R.C. priest. Married for 40 years. Three grown children. Four grandchildren.

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