Ordinary Sights in Rural Kwa Zulu Natal

This is going to be a bit different from prior blogs.  I am posting photos of ordinary sights in my area and writing a brief commentary about each photo.  It might give you a better picture of ordinary life hereabouts.

TaxiThis is a taxi for short and long distance rides.  It can usually sit 16-18 people (not comfortably) and their myriad possessions/groceries and small children.  For short rides, you pay when you are let off.  The driver will stop anywhere along the road you indicate.  For long distance, you sign a rider book and pay the fare ahead of time.  Taxis don’t leave the taxi rank (the start of the trip) until the taxi is full.  Sometimes there can be a long wait before you get going.  Getting out can be frustrating and ridiculous as numerous people have to move themselves and their stuff as the rider climbs out with their stuff from the last row.


Pigs roam the neighborhood eating what they can.  There are not as many pigs as goats or cows or chickens.  My host dad (a cop) says pigs eat small children.  Really?


Nomfundo (right)(grade 5) and Amahle (left)(grade3) are posing in front of the community JoJo, kept in their yard.  Sometimes there is water and it is a busy place.  Too often there is no water in the JoJo.  Water is delivered to the JoJo by a water truck.


A neighbor is wheeling a wheelbarrow loaded with two empty water containers.  In the background are two outhouses (toilets).


Laundry is drying on the wire clothesline.  No pegs are used.  Often these clothes (belonging to my host family’s teenage son) are blown onto the ground by the constant wind and then covered with the ever-present fine dust wafting from the dry bare ground.


This is our nearby “tuck” shop.  It has a small amount of staple food and snacks and sweets and household supplies.  Notice there is no sign to indicate that it is a store or its hours of operation.  People just know.  Inside it is dark and there are metal bars between the store and the customer area.  I rarely find much I want to buy here unless I want a maize snack with trans fats and salt or a Stoney (ginger soda).


This is where we put our trash, in an area close by but outside our compound.  Someone (?) burns the trash occasionally but never have I seen the area cleaned up.  There is no garbage service in our area.


Water buckets and barrels are used to collect and store water from the JoJo.


Goats are everywhere, all the time, constantly eating or crossing the highway to find more to eat.  You can see my late afternoon shadow and my little pink house (middle) and the ancestor’s house (right) in the background.  Surprising to me, there is no dairy industry for either goats or cows–no milk, no cheese.


Cows in the front yard are munching on the grass.  I never knew before how loud a cow can be when he/she is munching grass right outside your window.  These are not my family’s cows.  They are owned by some neighbor.  Cows are also free to roam at will on either side of the highway, crossing when they feel the need for greener bites.


This is a dead cow boneyard.  The bones are dumped in an area in the nearby hills by a local butchery business.  Beef is a staple of a Zulu diet.


This is a “traditional” Zulu house, made of sticks and mud.  Some people still use them for a living space even if they also have buildings on their compound made of concrete blocks.

2 thoughts on “Ordinary Sights in Rural Kwa Zulu Natal

  1. Thanks Karen, I really appreciate being able to see the local sights: what the taxi looks like?
    the animals. Love your little house.

  2. This is a really interesting post, Karen. I learned an awful lot about your daily life and the kind of environment you live in. The rubbish situation is awful!
    Sending love, stamina and grit to you, you wonderful woman. On second thoughts, you obviously have them, so maybe you could send some to me.

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