and my personal stuff was left to fend with the additional carry-on I had brought along. On the train from Pretoria to the Johannesburg airport I was assured of another passenger’s respect about my strength that I could deal with so many bags… One of the first things I did after entering the house was to opend that suitcase and the vacuum bags to give the quilts air to breath again, hoping they won’t have been condensed for too long so they still look like quilts and not like French pancakes.
Having come back from a mild African winter I am amazed at how hot and humid it is here in Germany. And when I check on the weather app, it tells me that it is only three to four degrees Celsius warmer, but definitely it is much more humid that I have experienced it in the past two weeks. I am lucky that I don’t have to go back to work/school right away but have another while to ‘get back’ because it feels like I will need a bit to ‘get Africa out of my system’ again. I had an absolutely wonderful time – the trip to Kruger, the many animals I saw, the festival with the numerous nice and lovely people and some very interesting quilts to see. But while on Heronbridge College campus it also felt a bit like we were out of the world.
|Our view from the terrace - although this picture is a bit misleading|
because you cannot really see the plastic washed up on the other side of the river
coming from an illegal squatter camp up the river.
Secluded from the South Africa outside, which did not really infiltrate the festival ongoings on campus, except for one incident when a party of attendees who had gone off campus for dinner saw how a car that was waiting in line at the road construction site right outside campus was attacked by somebody who was trying to break the window. He did not succeed, was driven away right away, and the group from the festival was not even directly affected, but that was a bit of a signal that there is a quite different South Africa outside of the gate. And everybody got very concerned when I mentioned that I was planning to spend one night in a hotel in Johannesburg before going back home Sunday night. That is absolutely not possible, alone in a hotel in Johannesburg… Various options were discussed, whether I should hire a private guide and airport transfer, or how I would be able to deal with the situation. I always thought it should be possible if I moved cautiously, but in the end Erla Cilliers invited me over to stay at her place and we had a lovely two days as she showed me around Pretoria, we went for a walk in the morning and a lovely breakfast on Sunday and certainly it was more fun to be in her company than to sit in a hotel room by myself at night.
In terms of textiles it was a very interesting week, too, because last Wednesday the international teachers and visitors who brought an exhibition to the festival were taken on a special tour of Johannesburg. This included the Oriental Bazar, with shopping options,
|Samosas for lunch... very delicious!|
a Shwe Shwe fabric shop, with shopping options,
and in the end a wonderful shop with lots of lots of interesting African Art and Craft items, including a wide range of ‘up-Africa fabrics’ which we took good advantage of. The day ended in a fabric swopping session in the evening in the lounge of our accomodation where we showed our finds, shared pieces and had a fabric fit.
More on my African textile experiences tomorrow.