Peter Binsbergen's art works speak vigorously for themselves. It is exactly through their strong visual impact that they convey their message or rather messages.
What messages, could be asked. They are messages of both the past and the present, messages of struggle, messages of lost dreams and even messages of human brutality.
But pay special attention to his generous use of symbols form the world of fauna and flora. What does that mean? It means life and freedom, since wild animals in their natural state roam freely. And trees, shrubs and flowers grow and bloom abundantly in freedom.
This is a selection of some of the animals commonly seen along the roadside in Namibia. Kudu, (not pictured), and Warthog are often the cause of accidents, sometimes resulting in death or serious injury to people. .
I'll be off-line for a month or so, I've explained my internet situation before in this post.
I've prepared a few posts and scheduled them to be automatically posted every few days - I'll try and pop-in every now-and-then and respond to any comments. I also apologize in advance that I won't be able to visit your blogs during this time.
The Skeleton Coast (German: Skelettküste) is the northern part of the Atlantic Ocean coast of Namibia and south of Angola from the Kunene River south to the Swakop River, although it is sometimes used to describe the entire Namib Desert coast.
The San people of the Namibian interior called it the region "The Land God Made in Anger", while Portuguese sailors once referred to it as "The Gates of Hell".
On the coast the upwelling of the cold Benguela current gives rise to dense ocean fogs (called "cassimbo" by the Angolans) for much of the year. The winds blow from land to sea, rainfall rarely exceeds 10mm annually (.39 inches) and the climate is inhospitable.
There is a constant, heavy surf on the beaches. In the days of human-powered boats it was possible to get ashore through the surf but impossible to launch from the shore.The coast is named for the bleached whale and seal bones which covered the shore when the whaling industry was still active, as well as the skeletal shipwrecks caused by rocks offshore in the fog.
More than a thousand vessels of various sizes and areas litter the coast. Notable wrecks in the region include the Eduard Bohlen, the Otavi, the Dunedin Star, and Tong Taw.
Evidence of some human occupation, in the form of the Strandloper people in the past, is evidenced by shell middens of white mussels found in portions of the Skeleton Coast.
I've traveled along this coastline in a small fisheries research vessel many years ago but never been here in a vehicle.
Many years ago I was sailing with a friend at Zeekoeivlei in Cape Town. A guy was doing acrobatics in a crop-spraying aircraft above us and I had my camera with me.
Suddenly, as we watched, the aircraft nose-dived into the ground behind some trees a short distance away. We sailed across the lake and started running towards the accident.
On the way there a woman in a car stopped us, she was crying. “Please don’t go there” she implored, “I’ve just lost a dear friend”.
“We’re from the Press” I lied and continued running.
At the scene, the aircraft was in flames, the pilot roasted. A rowdy, drunken crowd had gathered, celebrating his death by clapping, cheering and throwing stones at the wreckage.
One guy had a guitar and was strumming and singing loudly as he made his way through the crowd.
I took some photos of the unruly revelers. ‘This’ll be a big news story’, I thought.
Later, we rushed into town to one of the local newspapers and I told them the story. I gave my film to one of the reporters who took it into the darkroom to develop.
After awhile he returned and looked at me in a strange way. “There’s nothing here” he said, handing me the developed film.
I couldn’t believe it and checked, the last frame was totally black. Then I saw what had happened - the sprockets which move the film forward had stripped the holes in the film and I’d been taking photos on one frame only …
The communal nests of Sociable Weavers are a distinctive feature on southern Africa's more arid landscapes, like Namibia.
The Sociable Weaver (Philetairus socius ) - besides living in large, gregarious groups, they're also found foraging close to human settlements and seem generally less afraid of people than most other birds.
A closer view of a nest - I'm no bird expert but I guess that some of these structures may be decades old.
The birds often live in harmony with wasps who, in turn, build their nests in the shade underneath the Weavers' home.
Telephone poles are often used where suitable trees are scarce.
A nest constructed in a Quiver Tree - Aloe dichotoma
From Wiki: Just Nuisance was the only dog ever to be officially enlisted in the Royal Navy. He was a Great Dane who from 1939-44 served at HMS Afrikander, a Royal Navy shore establishment in Simon's Town, South Africa. He died in 1944 and was buried with full military honours.
Nuisance was allowed to roam freely and, following the sailors, he began to take day trips by train as far afield as Cape Town, 22 miles (35 km) away. Despite the seamens' attempts to conceal him, the conductors would put him off the trains as soon as he was discovered. This did not cause him any problems though, as he would wait for the next train or walk to another station where he would board the next train that came along.
Although somebody offered to buy him a season ticket, the Navy instead decided to officially enlist him. It was thought he would be a morale booster for the troops serving in World War II and as a member of the armed forces he received free rail travel, so the fare-dodging would no longer be a problem.
Nuisance's service record was not exemplary. Aside from the offenses of traveling on the trains without his free pass, being absent without leave, losing his collar and refusing to leave the pub at closing time, his record shows that he was sentenced to have all bones removed for seven days for sleeping in an improper place: one of the Petty Officer's beds. He also fought with the mascots of ships that put in at Simon's Town, resulting in the deaths of at least two of them.
Hehehe ... I remember visiting the statue a few years ago with my brother and his young son ... at the top of his voice, in front of a crowd of tourists, my nephew exclaimed: "Gee Dad, look at his big winkie!" ... :)
Just Nuisance was entitled to the same benefits as any other Able Seaman, which included a cap. Here he sports a cap from the HMAS Canberra in one of the many promotional photos taken during World War II.