wow, it's about time! I'm glad he finally showed up!
wow, it's about time! I'm glad he finally showed up!
Will he go on an African Safari?
:woohoo: Woohoo, FP made it!! So looking forward to his adventures.
:pvparty: :boogie: :bounce: :happy dance: :yippe: :fside: I'm so glad Felt Pugley made it!!!! And looking good, too! All in one piece from what I can see. Hooray! I can't wait to read and see F.P.'s adventures in Africa. So exciting to know that he has finally landed!
FYI, for those who are wondering: After visiting with Talos and Nina, F.P. travels to the USA and will visit Louisiana.
Wow! He sure took his sweet time. Happy times to you all!. Enjoy yourself FP!
Yay:boogie:I'm so glad he finally made it there:cheer: I can't wait to see what kind of adventures the flat dude goes on. Maybe he will even get to sign Nina's mom's cast:mrgreen:
Having arrived safely, Mr. Pugley took most of the day to rest and recover from his long journey here. We spoke about what he would like to see, and agreed that a bit of history, a bit of nature, and a bit of fun sounded like just the thing.
By the afternoon, he was ready to kick of the history part of his stay, so we set off for some sightseeing. I loaded him, Talos and Kira into the car, and we headed to:
The Union Buildings, and the surrounding gardens.
This is where our government runs things from, and contains the Office of the President too. Our presidents are inaugurated here, and the parks and gardens surrounding it are an important public space to most South Africans. Kids picnic here, teens and students play soccer or rugby, people run around the perimeter for some exercise, protests and marches often start or finish here, and it is an important emblem of democracy for South Africans too! Plus, you are welcome to come with everyone and their dog (on a lead) to visit, for free, any day, any night.
Plus, it's really pretty!
We climbed up through the terraced gardens that feature exclusively indigenous plants. The stairs and garden walls are all built out of slate, but almost everything else is either sandstone or granite. The climb had us all energised, especially Kira found it difficult to sit still for a picture.
On the grounds of the union buildings, there are many monuments. One commemorating World War 1, which you will see more of in a second. The one that interested Feltie the most, though, was the one for police officers who died in the line of duty. It was built by State President P.W. Botha, who was also our last Prime Minister. I say 'our' reservedly, since he was very much for apartheid, and later tried to persuade people with light skin to not vote during the 1994 general elections.
I bring up apartheid because a great many of the officers on this list, leading up to 1994, were killed trying to subdue people protesting the unfairness of the government in one form or another. That ended dramatically in 1994, with police officers adopting a policy that seriously limited their ability to use lethal force. This has sadly, changed yet again. At the moment, our officers are allowed to shoot first, and shoot to kill, then ask questions - a change which has in general made heists and other crimes a much more dangerous affair for everyone.
From the top of the terraces, near the monument for fallen officers, you have an excellent view of Pretoria's central business district.
Mr. Pugley is the small black shape right on the edge of the terrace. I warned him to stay well back, but taking cues from Talos, he stood right on the edge.
In the background here you can see the tallest buildings in Pretoria, which are owned by a bank (ABSA, once Volkskas - which was owned by the Apartheid government - effectively tying up your money with a political party). Hidden between these buildings are also the city's historical district, an area which is, at least architecturally, unchanged in the 150 odd years it has existed. You can still see the tram tracks there, clustered around Church Square. The Transvaal museum is there, which has been around since 1892 - it's easy to spot from the ground, because in front there is a blue whale skeleton on display. Around Church square are courthouses and banks.
During apartheid, the government maintained in incredibly large government sector of workers. Something like a third of employed South Africans (white people, mind you, since at the time black people were not considered South Africans) worked directly for government. While the change in 1994 has led to massive restructuring, our government still employs very, very many people - large parts of Pretoria is government office blocks, and large numbers of Pretorians work there.
The Union Buildings themselves are built in a typically colonial style, with some Cape Dutch influences (such as the shutters on the second floor windows).
While you are free to wander around on the grounds and in front of the buildings, you cannot enter them. A red carpet, and armed guards behind bullet proof glass makes the entrance very intimidating.
These buildings have borne witness to some of the greatest political speeches we are ever likely to hear. If you will indulge me:
Those words were, of course, spoken by Nelson Mandela, Tata Madiba. Considered by many to be the father of our nation, and nearly universally as an astonishing human being. His life is commemorated by a large statue:Quote:
Out of the experience of an extraordinary human disaster that lasted too long, must be born a society of which all humanity will be proud.
Our daily deeds as ordinary South Africans must produce an actual South African reality that will reinforce humanity`s belief in justice, strengthen its confidence in the nobility of the human soul and sustain all our hopes for a glorious life for all.
All this we owe both to ourselves and to the peoples of the world...
The statue is so very well placed. He stands where he would have stood, addressing South Africa, during his inaugural speech. He stands smiling, as if he is offering to embrace us all.
In front of him, on the wall, sits a horde of photographers, ready to take your picture for a small fee. I guess this is truly his legacy - the ability to make your own life, without persecution from authorities simply for trying to do so.
what do you do with a giant bronze statue?
You sit on it's foot, of course!
Tonight, Felty will come to agility with me, and we'll show him the Nizamiye Masjid (or Nizamiye Mosque), the biggest Mosque in the southern hemisphere!
Felt Pugsley is such a lucky guy to visit such historic places and to learn all about South Africa.
Fascinating, I love hearing history!
Great photos, and fantastic narration.
You really should consider writing a book...