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Impressions of South Africa
and Eswatini, Lesotho and Maputo (Mozambique)

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My family and I travelled extensively in South Africa while on posting in Lusaka and Maputo in the 1980s. A long time ago, and above all in a different South Africa than the one which was constituted in 1994 under the wise leadership of Nelson Mandela, who made total abstraction of his long years of political imprisonment and thus saved the country from a regime transition in bloodshed. In the face of all this, I can hardly call it a challenge to tie my pictures from the 1980s to contemporary comments and descriptions. Still, I do not find it easy to present this absolutely beautiful and fascinating country on this basis, for there is more to it than just acknowledging the name changes from Transvaal to Mpumalanga and the city of Uitenhage to Kariega. An entire society has been dramatically modified. In the midst of all this, history is important, the recent one as well as the more distant one. And recognising this is the bridge to make it all add up, and to present on this page a South Africa as, I think, it deserves to be presented: a country with splendid variations of nature, a fascinating older history and a tormented more recent past which has left a mixture of scars, expectations and hope. It is my personal hope that this report somehow succeeds in reflecting this mixture of perceptions, in tribute to a wonderful country with a place for all who live in it permanently, those who discover South Africa as travellers and those, like me, who hang on for an opportunity to renew their South Africa experience after having been away for too long. It will also be a chance to visit cities, coast lines and parks which unfortunately remained off my itineraries in the 1980s.

Given the proximity in Southern Africa, my passages in Eswatini, formerly Swaziland, Lesotho and the Mozambican capital of Maputo have also been included in this report, intertwined with chapters on South Africa in a geographically logic order, maximally integrated into an itinerary as if travelled by car.

 

* Scanned Slides 1983-1987

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