Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 3, Issue 37, Tuesday April 25, 2006

 

 

Reflections

My memorable years spent in Africa

That night when I was lying on my back in the dimly lighted African Hut typed hotel room, I just could not make the adjustment in my mind about these both white and black people of South Africa. Because you see, when you look around the beautifully made cities, you think why on earth, how can they, the white people give away their hard-earned creation to those black people who own the land? Long time back, in the beginning when they came to live in the land that did not belong to them, they should have fore-seen the future of today where the original black owners of the land have turned into the real rulers of the country which the whites had so earnestly created. Had they thought at that time that these innocent blacks would never raise their voice or revolt against white rulers?

I saw the cells in which different criminals for various crimes had spent years and some died while living in those tiny bare cells. I was shivering in fear while I moved from one cell to another inside the historical prison in Pretoria. That prison is no longer in use. The cells were all empty and were kept clean for the visitors only. The guide was explaining how a prisoner became blind after spending six months in a cell, which was completely dark, and there was no window, nothing through which the prisoner could differentiate between day and night. I felt, in those days people never knew how to empathize with another person and feel the pain, sorrow, or happiness.

We spent three days in Pretoria and on the 4th day we drove towards Durban and we had already informed Ayesha who said she would send her son to take us to her house from their Mercedes Benz show room. Ayesha's husband was a famous car dealer in Durban called DADA CO. LTD. So, we had no difficulty at all to locate that famous show room. We left our car in the show room's garage and rode in Ayesha's son's car.

The road is just awesome in beauty and you don't feel you are riding in a car, you just cannot take your eyes off the scenery on both sides of the road. I was comparing that road with our Rangamati road, because both have similar types of hills and plateau and winding roads up the hills. But Durban is essentially a port city. Its waterfront dives and nightclubs were famous across the seven seas. Visitors love Durban as it is a 'Pleasure Dome' to them- its beaches, and its funland, and its luxury hotels, such as the Maharani.

Ayesha's house was on top of a small hill and it had rose gardens all around it. Somehow to me it looked like a typical Indian dwelling. Ayesha invited all her friends, relatives for lunch in our honour. So, there were almost thirty people all together for lunch. We had fabulous time and after lunch all of us went to the Horse Race ground. There we met a few more of Ayesha's friends.

Next morning we started for Cape Town and from Durban it's a long way so, we left our car at the airport and we flew to Cape Town in an Airbus. We took a car from the Rent-a- car booth at the airport. Cape Town airport area was fully decorated with multicolour flowers. I was thinking-these people are very artistic type and they know how to live gorgeously and how to use every bit of this world's natural beauty. As we drove by the city, until we reached the SUN Proteia hotel, I felt this Cape Town must be the half sister of real heaven created by Allah. The hotel was 50th storied and our rooms were on the 36th floor. The hotel's exotic swimming pool was on the 23rd floor.

Cape Town is South Africa's second largest and mother city with all her high rise buildings and the serpentine curves of pillar-borne freeways. To the seafront lawn and the immense sea-water pool that are features of this cosmopolitan suburb, Cape Town becomes a heaven for a myriad holiday makers in high summer time. Cape Town's buildings as much as her air of history contribute to the proud stateliness that mantles much of the city's center.

On the day of our arrival in Cape Town, first we moved around the city a bit also drove along the sea shore just to have a little idea about that new place. Then when darkness fell, we took the children to Nandoo's Chicken house the famous Greek restaurant. After that we left them at the hotel and at around past eleven p.m. we went to a proper ancient type Greek Restaurant to have our dinner. This restaurant was located just beside the sea shore. You could here the splashing sound of the waves from inside the restaurant. Inside, the whole place seemed to me like a ghostly place because first of all the room was dimly lighted and there was a burning smell of heavy, strong tobacco and the rooms were filled with the smell of meat, yoghurt and strong coffee. You could hardly see the faces of the people around you. Anyway I can still remember how much I liked the Greek salad and special beef wrapped up in a thin roti. I think the Greeks love to eat grilled or roasted meat and they spread on generous amount of yoghurt in the grilled meat. While we were eating, we made a plan to see the famous Table Mountain next morning. Table mountain's eroded sandstone grandeur dominates the city and provides a setting unparalleled elsewhere. Most of Cape Town's restaurants at night become over flooded with hungry visitors as the night turns to mature. To the Capetonians 'everything is for the best in this best of all possible worlds'.

To be continued……….

By Suraiya Zafar

 

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