In olden times (pre-1994), the 16th of December was a very serious day in South Africa. Probably the most serious day of the year. There was an evangelical preacher who got into trouble recently here when he proclaimed only two nations had ever made a covenant with God. The Jews and the Afrikaaners. (which you know, makes them special)
The 16th was always called the day of the Vow. The day that God picked sides and aided the Afrikaans Vortrekkers against the Zulu’s of Dingaan at the Battle of Blood river in 1838. They had apparently made a deal with the almighty that included forever-fealty and the erection of a pretty serious monolithic structure to commemorate said massacre. (what deity could resist?)
To be completely fair, it was 450 Afrikaaners in a wagon laager (or corral) versus between 10,000 and 15,000 Zulus. At the end of the battle 3000 Zulus lay dead (turning the river a ghastly red hue) while only 3 Afrikaaners were slightly wounded. I mean I can understand why they felt that God had favored them in victory. Even with the additional forbearance that gunpowder and a cannonade can provide.
In any event, it was always a day where those of a certain ancestry went to church. While the rest of us… well… didn’t.
Post apartheid there was some serious perturbation about what to do about this stupid day. Cancelling the holiest of holy days might cause consternation among some… while NOT cancelling a day commemorating a slaughter might annoy others. Eventually they just renamed the public holiday the ‘Day of reconciliation’ and sucked air through clenched teeth. And as it turns out… most people were pretty ‘meh’ about the whole thing (and probably pretty glad they had an excuse now for not having to go to church and give thanks). Proving that, really, people want to burn meat on a fire, swim in the sea, get drunk and fornicate. And not worry about the pesky ancestors and their blood oaths and honor rituals…
Today I did my part. Well… except for the burning meat part. And the getting drunk part. Hopefully (if the kids go to bed early)… eh… and I don’t fall asleep on the couch… I can co-opt the missus into some shenanigans of the naked variety and score two out of four.
So really (so far) all I’ve done is swim in the sea today…
Took the brood to the beach. And while they pottered around in the rock pools I did ‘manly’ type stuff…
I dove… eh… dived… which one is the past participle again? It’s probably dived. In original English, not Americanized English I mean. Lets go with I held my breath, swam underwater and retrieved the dead exo… eh… endoskeletons (just choose the one that you think is correct) of dead sea urchins from a depth of about three meters. A pretty good haul I feel.
Which is less manly than shooting people from behind an ox-wagon barricade. But you know, it’s one of these things that is frowned upon in modernity. But you still have to equalize at that depth, so there is some skill involved. Plus the water was a chilly 18C (64F) today. (I’m trying to make it sound more impressive than it really was)
I think this is a False Plum Anemone… I think, which is apparently quite a virulent version of the genus.
Also found about three or four starfish.
I love free diving and exploring rock pools. It harkens me back to my childhood. Always the best part of my summer holidays.