O is for Ostrich, Ou Tronk and Obz

Can I complete the whole of Round 9 of ABC Wednesday based on our four week stay in South Africa in February? Click on the photos to enlarge.

OstrichesSouth Africa is rich in ostrich and has made people rich too, particularly in the town of Oudtshoorn that made pots of money in the 19th century from supplying ostrich feathers for fashionable European ladies.

These particular ostriches were living in the wild on the shores of the South Atlantic in the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve.

It was a small pride (the collective noun for ostriches) that we came across on our way back from the Cape and I was able to get quite close for my photo until I remembered a) how fast they can run and b) how lethal their kick can be, so I beat a hasty retreat.

Ou TronkMy next O is the Ou Tronk, or Old Jail, that we came across many miles to the east and inland in the town of Riversdale on day two of our road trip.

The former jail closed in 1979 and was bought by the father of the present owner, Louise Malherbe, and she opened it as The Ou Tronk Coffee shop and Craft Market a few years ago.

We ate a pleasant meal in an open courtyard and then explored the rest of the building. The ‘cells’ now showcase local crafts, artworks and antiques.

Slave ChainsIt must have been a grim place as you can see from the courtyard above and hanging in one of the rooms was this rather sad reminder of the past — a set of slave chains used by the Dutch settlers.

Also on the wall was a framed copy of the confession of murderer, Gilbert Hay, who was executed at the jail on 26 June 1899.

My final O is Observatory, or Obz as it’s known, the suburb of Cape Town where our daughter was living and a regular haunt for us during our stay.

It is very much a student area because of its proximity to the University of Cape Town and takes its name from the first Royal Observatory building which is now the headquarters of the South African Astronomical Observatory.

Obz BooksIt is a vibrant area and, among other things, boasts the South African National Circus School, although our favourite spot was Trenchtown, the Jamaican bar and restaurant.

But my very favouritest place in Observatory was Obz Books on Lower Main, pictured right, that was open from 11am to 10pm seven days a week.

We found really good used book stores pretty much everywhere we went in South Africa offering an eclectic selection of titles and I have Obz Books to thank for my copy of the excellent ‘Kipling’s South Africa’ by Reneé Durbach.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

9 comments… Add yours
  • Yorkshire Pudding 26th October 2011

    Overall, outstanding observations of our old oligarchy – only Oosthuizen obviously omitted.

  • rog 26th October 2011

    I know intellectually that ostriches are elsewhere besides Australia, yet it always surprises me. irrational.
    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  • photowannabe 26th October 2011

    I’m so glad there is such a nice use for a grim place. Good pictures and its fun to learn new words. have a great day.

  • Scriptor Senex 26th October 2011

    Loved your selection – as usual. I’d love to have a wander round Obz Books. I hope you manage all the way to Z in South Africa but X might be a bit problematic.

  • Francisca 26th October 2011

    I’d be right there in that book store with you. Tools of torture give me goosebumps… those slave chains are a horror, a gruesome reminder of our capacity for violence (still… sigh). You sure got an awesome shot of the ostriches before beating a hasty retreat!

  • Gazelle 27th October 2011

    Love books! Hopefully we can travel to South Africa for some adventure.

  • john g 27th October 2011

    now believe it or not there is a house only 5 miles away from us, that has three ostriches in the garden!
    fancy that!!!
    I would love a couple! that would make the nasty gander shut-the-fuck- up eh?
    oh pardon my French

  • Mr Parrot 27th October 2011

    But how long to boil an ostrich egg?

  • Meryl 28th October 2011

    The Ou Tronk looks homey!


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