The National Arts Festival is currently being hosted here and this welcoming committee was patiently waiting at one of the main entrances to our town.
The rest of the Urban Herd were grazing further up the hill. This particular group of cattle have been in the area for the past week. Yesterday some of them wandered into this road in the face of oncoming traffic. Festival visitors who are clearly unused to sharing main roads with farm animals merely press their hooters and swerve out of the way without slowing down. I keep hoping the animals won’t do this at night for our street lights do not always shine.
The Urban Herd continues to expand – there seems to be no intention by the municipality to curb their intrusion into the urban area. Here a small group is peacefully chewing the cud in open land on the outskirts of the suburb I live in. While they look relaxed and comfortable in the late afternoon light, they would have wandered through the town and up the hill before settling on this temporary resting place.
These cattle have been around for so long that we have seen some calves being born and witnessed others growing up, like this one grazing on a pavement outside a house.
This one is taking a rest while its elders graze on.
They do a lot of resting … or waiting.
On some occasions we can count over 30 head of cattle moving together.
This dam they frequent is now dry.
And still they come, fanning through the suburbs to graze in public open spaces (is that why the municipality seldom mows them anymore?), along pavements, pulling at overhanging branches of trees, and feasting on any garden plants within their reach.
… on my veranda.
Not actually my veranda, but that of one the older houses in town which opens onto the pavement.
As with the Urban Herd of cattle, we often see donkeys roaming around the streets, usually in ones or twos – sometimes even threes. These ones are eating the kikuyu grass growing on a road verge on the outer edge of town.
Seeing a donkey on someone’s veranda was unusual enough to photograph, yet, on the same day on someone else’s veranda there were five!
They remind me of a well-known Afrikaans song:
O, die donkie is ‘n wonderlike ding, ja-nee
Die donkie is ‘n wonderlike ding …
Who can forget that wonderful poem by G.K. Chesterton about the Donkey:
When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born.
With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil’s walking parody
On all four-footed things.
The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.
Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.
Little donkey, little donkey
On a dusty road
Got to keep on plodding onwards
With the precious load.
One of several donkeys that roam around the suburbs adding a rural air to our crumbling town.
This heavy wrought iron gate is typical of garden gates across South Africa for as long as I can remember. Some parts of it are spot-welded while others have been riveted together. This one no longer has its original hook; bent wire serves that purpose. The chain wrapped around it on the left looks new and does not appear to be attached to anything else.
At least this gate is still in use – other similar gates in our neighbourhood sport chains with locks (I wonder if the keys are still handy) or have been covered with razor wire. Yet others have, over the years, been removed and the pedestrian gate entrance bricked up as residents move towards surrounding their properties with high walls to increase their security – sadly, this has become necessary.