Struck by the drum

cover image for Struck by the drum

While waiting for the roast to be ready we visited Hogan's Irish bar quite near Wapandrand. The bar had Guinness on tap, but apparently it was African made and tasted quite different from the normal stout. We tried to fish out the beer's origins from the waitress but she didn't know it. Rumor has it they have a Guinness factory in Ghana.

We ate outside in the dark but candlelit backyard of the group house. The roast proved to be excellent, coupled with sweet potatoes in chili sauce. After meal we spent the evening lounging outside, enjoying some Amarula cream liquor and talking about Open Source, NGOs and the state of the world.

In the morning we went to walk the dogs with Ryan and walked around the residential area of the hill. The hill was filled with huge houses of very interesting architecture and seemingly endless pools and garden paths. It was very easy to feel the presence of the country's colonial past.

Training continued on wednesday, as usual interrupted by some electricity shortages and an afternoon thunderstorm. The Pyrenees dog that had attacked me the other day had apparently been nearly hit by lightning as a pup, and so was terminally afraid of thunder, almost ready to jump through a window the get inside.

When the training was over we headed to Johannesburg on Rudi's 4x4. Despite all the talk of crime very little of it was visible on the streets, except "Armed response" signs on the gates of many industrial and apartment areas.

We visited the group's old commune apartment near the university to pick up Andrea who had went earlier to arrange her Lesothoan visa. The commune was populated by volunteer workers from all around the world, and while it was almost empty at the time of visit it was easy to see how hectic the life in such place must be.

The evening's main event was visit to a native drum show Drumstruck, which was held in the very nice looking New Market Theatre. Everybody in the audience was given an African drum, and participation was required in many spots. The show was very well arranged, with an excellent combination of drum rhythms, African songs and theatrical parts. At places the atmosphere of having the whole theatre, audience included beating on their drums in unison was quite hypnotic. Certainly something to remember.

When the show was over we continued to a traditional African restaurant next door for a nice meal of Umnqusho (?), a stew of meat, beans and spices. The place was filled with all kinds of colonial memorabilia, from old kitchen utensils to maps and photos. We tried to start the meal with some dried worms in piri-piri, but unfortunately the restaurant was out of them.

After dinner we drove back to Pretoria listening to the same African drum tunes from the show on a CD and discussing the upcoming presidential elections in South Africa, among other things.

The luggage finally arrived after the training in thursday. Apparently they had tried delivering it earlier but had messed up with the address and didn't call because the phone number was Finnish.

Tonight we're planning on spending the evening barbequing around a fire on the hill, enjoying the scenic view and African night sounds. Tomorrow there will be only some hours of training and then we leave on the road trip to Lesotho.