#LettersToStrangers #5 – To the young Himba mother from Ruacana

Himbagirl

Hi. I hope you and your boy are doing great. This cold stare, sometimes gets to me, and makes me worry about you. I wrote this short letter to tell you few things I learnt from you.

I have learnt that definition of beauty depends on where you come from. Women in my community believe the women in the magazines are the most beautiful women. They even buy other people’s hair (is that your real hair?) and bleach their skins to make themselves look ‘beautiful’.

I have learnt that every girl just wants to be beautiful in her own definition of beauty.

I have learnt that women could stay without bathing. Nobody believes me when I tell them that you do not bath. Sometimes I do not even believe myself when telling that story.

I learnt that aspirations largely depend on where you live. I wonder what are your aspirations?

And I have learnt that not all traditions are good.

Stay blessed

Thalefang

#LettersToStrangers #4 – To the Pirates fans

Buccaneers

Hello Buccaneers. Eish, this match must have done a considerable damage to your manicure. You probably left Soccer City without nails.

But, I remember this was a glorious night. We killed them. We shouted our lungs out loud, Aaacceee…! Blew that vuvuzela that my lips were sore like a morning after a night with a really bad kisser.

But I see it was nerve wrecking for you guys watching this match. You really love Pirates huh?

I hear you will be playing them again tomorrow. Oh, yeah… I quit. Remember Emmanuel Sithole? Painful story.

I sold all the T-shirts.

Anyway good luck for tomorrow, remember, no manicure before the match.

Thalefang

#LettersToStrangers #3 – To the old woman from Gugamma, CKGR

CKGRoldwoman

Hello

Worries, despair, and some really mean resilience, I saw all that on you.

I still see them on these pictures.

I wonder what your worries were. I wish I could peek into your mind.

I wonder how your early years were? What were your dreams? Any beliefs or religious convictions? Did you travel? Fall in and out of love?

Did you wish to be here in the “Game Reserve” at your age?

If you can be young again, what would you do differently?

I wish I could have asked you these questions. I am sure I could have gained invaluable wisdom about life.

CKGRoldwoman

God bless you

Thalefang

#LettersToStrangers #2 – To the little poor girl by the roadside

roadsidegirl

Hello kid. I believe you’re little bigger now. I hope you have better clothes and shoes. Clean. Healthy.

The bus briefly stopped and the only thing I could do was to get this picture. I wished I could have done more… magic maybe… pssshhh… turn you into a little beautiful angel in white robes!

Every time I walk into a Chinese clothing shop I think about you kid. The Chinese liberated us here with their affordable clothes. Before they opened their shops here we wore the same rags because clothes used to be very expensive and our poor parents could not afford them. But ever since the Chinese arrived, almost all children wear clean colourful clothes and shoes – they can even play with shoes on unlike the days when shoes were reserved for school and church.

I pray for your Chinese liberation so that you could grow up with some dignity. I wish your parents in luck in raising you.

You will find your China, because every child deserves bright clean clothes and comfortable shoes.

God bless you

Thalefang

#LettersToStrangers #1 – To the Virgin from Swaziland

Swazi Girl

Hi. We met in 2010 Umhlanga Reed Dance Festival, Ludzidzini Royal Kraal. You were barefooted wearing colourful traditional Reed Dance outfit; nicely decorated beaded skirt showing your long legs and some brightly coloured woven accessories revealing your firm breasts.

Out of all that hope of virgins, you stroked me as the most forlorn and lonely girl. There was no ounce of excitement on your face – I shot many pictures of you. I still wonder whether you really enjoyed the festival. You did not look excited like all the other virgins. Actually you seemed shy as if you were realizing your half nakedness. I picked that up immediately and followed you through the parade. Out of all those 60,000 virgins I stalked you until I lost you when you disappeared inside the stadium. I never saw you since that day. But I still wonder why you looked too serious and indifferent during the festival.

I wonder where you are today, whether you attended the following festivals?

I never went back to Swaziland after the 2010 festival because I was still managing my some kind of breast-exposure trauma. Before that day we met I was used to seeing only two breasts at a time. So you can just imagine what 120,000 could do to a man who is used to being excited by only two. But I think I am fully recovered now and I have been contemplating my return to the Kingdom.

At some point you gave me that cold stare

At some point you gave me that cold stare, but I think I see a smile in there

I hope life is treating you well.

Thalefang

Sunset thoughts at Khawa

Most Batswana would make it big in the tourism industry the day they find out how to sell the sunset experience.

Khawa

Khawa

Khawa sand dune

Sunset over Khawa sand dune in Botswana

Khawa_Botswana

Khawa after the sun went over the distant dunes

I had these thoughts last Saturday while sitting here overlooking the Khawa village during the annual Khawa Dune Challenge. Almost everyone, visitors and Khawa residents, were oblivious of the sunset. There were noises from a distance; quadbikes rev roars, 4X4 engines farts, people cheering football, volleyball, dodgeball, tag of war, children shouting happily, and loud conversations punctuated with hearty laughter. Nobody cared about the setting sun… I sat here alone and thought of the money I spent chasing sunsets. After photographing, I stayed long until after twilight enjoying a beer – I had brought two Windhoek draught 440ml cans – and the amazing spectacle of colours before the curtain of darkness fell on the dunes. I left content and vowed to continue chasing setting suns.

London Cityspaces

My brief encounter with London was all about old buildings, bridges, red buses, black taxis, bicycles, quiet people and more tourists.