Fire on a tinder dry vlei

Deaprojekt Die Welt der Puppen

Deaprojekt Die Welt der Puppen

Black ash, bruised light, broken sound in a shocked stillness – was there anything good left behind? Yes: black is the charcoaled colour of purification. There is a surreal snowstorm of twirling black leaf forms returning to the vlei: an uncanny backdrop for the cattle egrets, undertakers dressed in white, with bowed heads and feathered hands clasped behind their backs. They stoically perform high-stepped funeral marches across the carpets of ash, collecting all the dead bodies: crisp grasshoppers, heat-bloated ticks, and toasted centipedes. They leave the shrivelled remains of baby toads, field mice and weaver chicks for the ever-watchful hawks that hover above this al fresco open grill. Is that the marabou stork, the ignominious king of carrion? With his naked head, puce air sac, cracked and peeling beak, and long ashen legs, he looks as if he has been scorched himself; but it is his funeral finery. He is in fine fettle to carry away the larger mammalian, and reptilian carcasses. If they aren’t quite dead, they soon will be – a sharp beak protrudes from below his rapacious eyes.

Allan Taylor, author Luanshya musings

Fire on a tinder-dry vlei

Another fire on the vlei; I see it all before me. October and November are the bushfire months. Six months without rain has turned the bush of the vlei into a prêt-à-porter bonfire heap which wearily whispers to the hot wind to speed up the arrival of the wild fires. Only then will the exhausted vegetation be absolved from further responsibility: free to muse over their rebirth at the first drop of November rain, leaving their ashen roots to plan the mortal details of their rebirth.

Allan Taylor, author Luanshya musings

Christopher Mulenga

                           Christopher Mulenga

Tribal dancers

As far as I could tell, everyone on the Copperbelt went to the Ndola Agricultural Show. There were army parades, air force displays; the police band, horse jumping events, agricultural displays, and lots of prize farm animals.

For me however, the best thing at the Ndola Agricultural show was the tribal dancing; and the Shangaan and Makishi dancers were there every year.

Allan Taylor author Luanshya musings

Dancer African Soul

                     African Soul. Shangaan dancers


The leopard

The leopard was like one of those elusive forms – those strange footprints that propelled me to follow my affinities and desires. He evoked an intangible force that weighed upon the behaviour of all creatures. His arrival sliced through the trivial monkey goings-on in the African bush. The leopard’s presence created an impala ear-twitching silence that punctuated the African day with its taloned intent – a final warning against any further frivolity. Slow-flow turned instantly into short-lived pain, a quick death and spilt blood when an unfortunate animal submitted its fear of self-preservation to the Soul of the leopard. There is not an animal on the veld that is unaware of the leopard’s ability to alter the psyche of the common herd.

Allan Taylor, author of Luanshya musings


Shenton Safaris Mfuwe