Sunday, March 10, 2013


“Sign, sign, everywhere a sign.  Blocking out the scenery, breaking my mind.  Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?”
These are lyrics from the popular 1970 song “Signs.”  It’s a hippie era tune from an obscure Canadian band named the Five Man Electrical Band.  We’ll bet our friend Alan Lovas probably worked security at one of their concerts.

South Africa is full of interesting signs, so we included some of our favorites in this blog post.

Warning to poachers in front of Inverdoorn Game Reserve

Newspaper headlines are posted on cardboard signs in Cape Town each day, particularly in Newlands near the cricket and rugby stadiums.

The big story early in our trip was the murder indictment of Oscar Pretorius, the famous paraplegic 800-meter runner who got a lot of attention during the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.  Known as the Blade Runner, he is accused of shooting his girlfriend 4 times through the bathroom door.  Oscar claims he mistook her for an intruder.

However, there was a pattern of domestic violence in their relationship.  In addition, a famous rugby player rumored to be a love interest was in attendance at the funeral. Sadly, the reported evidence make it seems most probable that Oscar is guilty.  This brings back memories of the O.J. Simpson trial in 1995.

Oscar Pretorius’ murder indictment dominated the headlines

The other big news earlier in our trip was the ongoing protests against the frequent rape and other mistreatment of women, which often goes unpunished.  There were huge gatherings at the main cathedral in Cape Town.  We also saw protests involving large numbers of middle school kids near our host family’s Retreat neighborhood.  We don’t have any photos of these protests or the related headlines.

Nelson Mandela is unsurprisingly the focus of many signs and other displays of public affection.  However, it is interesting that the African National Congress (ANC), Mandela’s party, did not win a majority in the most recent elections in Cape Town.  This partially reflects the demographics of Cape Town, which are a little bit different than those of South Africa as a whole.  We will write much more about that in a future blog.  And we will write about yesterday’s exciting rugby match as well.

Sign at the rugby match, on the opposite side of the stadium 

We saw some interesting signs in Stellenbosch, the beautiful wine region close to Cape Town where we recently stayed for 3 days.  We will post 1 or 2 blog entries about that experience when we get a chance.

How to Make Pinotage 101, at Kanonkop winery

Sign outside a sidewalk café in Stellenbosch

The photo below was taken specifically for John’s mother Fran Ackley.  Fran had a sun porch in her former home in Hendersonville, NC that she nicknamed “The Haven.”

B&B or house in Simon’s Town , near the penguins

We would not be so politically incorrect as to offer a public opinion one way or the other on such an emotionally charged and controversial subject as abortion.  But John was amazed to see the sign below pasted on the door of the train.  The minimal cost and short duration are hard to believe.

R50 means 50 rand, which is ~ $5 - $6

To bring the hippie era references mentioned earlier in this blog post full circle, John couldn’t resist taking the photo below.  Woodstock is a neighborhood that includes a vibrant Saturday morning market called the Old Biscuit Mill.  That will be the subject of a future blog post.

By the time we got to Woodstock, we were one train stop from Cape Town

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