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Hey, nothing like a day trip that takes you back 75 000 years. A group of folk picnicked and had fun up the North Coast last weekend, among them Frank Mdlalose, KwaZulu-Natal’s first premier, and Professor Otty Nxumalo, from the University of Zululand and of much the same era.
The occasion was an expedition to Sibudu Cave, near Tongaat, organised by Amafa/Heritage, the provincial heritage agency. The cave is about to be proclaimed a provincial heritage landmark.
Sibudu is a massive rock overhang where our distant ancestors lived and made merry all those thousands of years ago. To get there you wade through the Tongaat River, which is icy at this time of year. (Dr Frank, who is 80, took it in his stride). Then you clamber up a rock face and you’re there, where teams of archaeologists from Wits and Tübingen University, |in Germany, are digging.
The place is rich in artefacts – arrowheads, blades, scrapers and so forth from the mid-Stone Age. As Amafa’s James van Vuuren explained, we should not think of these distant folk as having been unintelligent. They almost certainly had the same cognitive abilities as ourselves; they just didn’t have the accumulated store of knowledge we have. They were starting out.
That’s right, no PIN codes, no Facebook, no heavy metal music. No financial meltdown. No pollution, no hassles. Standing there looking down an exquisitely beautiful bush-lined valley, with the rushing sound of the Tongaat coming up like a lullaby – and with hornbills calling from the cliff face – you realise those folk of so long ago had a lot going for them.
Those archaeologists must not let us down. They really mustn’t discover a Stone-Age discotheque.
There’s been a meteor shower of sports achievement in recent days. There was Hashim Amlas’s triple ton against England.
Then, while England were chasing leather to every corner of the Oval, suddenly the local fans were on their feet and cheering. Bradley Wiggins had won the Tour de France, the first Englishman to do so.
Then there was Ernie Els coming from way behind to take the British Open at Royal Lytham & |St Anne’s.
All of this on top of the Sharks’ absolutely stunning win over the Queensland Reds in Brisbane. Is it the Higgs boson? Is it that eruption from the sun? Stand by for the Olympics. Things are happening.
It was extraordinary to watch a procession of SA batsmen come out to the crease at the Oval, to be bowled at by Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, Morné Morkel and Imran Tahir.
Which side is South Africa A? Which is South Africa B?
The series has some way to run, but the balance has certainly tipped in favour of the fellows who still live and play in SA.
Why does the cricket at the Oval end so early? With the sun still high in the summer sky, the bails were whipped off at 6.55pm exactly (British summer time, 7.55pm SA time). And why that odd time? Why not on the hour at 7pm?
It was fascinating to watch the shadow of the grandstand creep across the ground. It was like watching a sundial.
At 6.55pm exactly it reached the batting crease at one end. Another over and the batsman would have been in the semi-dark.
Stands the Church clock at ten to three?
And is there honey still for tea?
A big row has broken out in the Irish synchronised-diving team at the Olympics.
Mick accused Paddy of copying him.
A Czech artist has turned a trademark London double-decker bus into an athlete doing push-ups to celebrate the Games.
David Cerny bought the 1957 London bus, attached two huge metal arms, installed an electric engine and the six-ton vehicle now does push-ups, accompanied by loud groans.
It’s called the London Booster and is to be installed near the Czech team’s living quarters.
All very well, just so long as they don’t start getting silly.
What’s greasy and flaps about the church steeples of Paris?
The lunchpack of Notre Dame.
Health nuts are going to feel stupid some day, lying in hospitals dying of nothing. – Redd Foxx