Back To The Old Africa Album ~ All Manner Of Waiting In All Sorts Of Places

Hwange National Park - elephant crossing our path

It’s always best to wait when an elephant decides to cross your path. This particular elephant crossing episode happened in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe. The photo was taken in July, southern Africa’s winter. The bush country was tinder dry and the skies overcast, and the nights chilly. We were living in Zambia at the time and had driven down for a couple of weeks meandering. Zimbabwe is a very fine country for a spot of meandering.

Harare night guards waiting to go on duty

This photo was a piece of pure happenstance. I’d just walked out of the post office somewhere in down-town Harare. These security guards were waiting to start the 6 o’ clock night shift. I was invited to take their picture. A treasured shot.


Lusaka agricultural show - Dog Show

We’re in Lusaka, Zambia for this dotty photo. One of the institutions that the colonial British left behind in the African territories they invaded is the annual agricultural show. These days it is a big family day out for Zambians and but oddly also includes (mostly for members of the European and Asian communities) a dog show. Here we see entrants in the terrier class waiting for the all important judging moment. I seem to remember it was the Manchester terrier (far right) that got the first prize rosette.


Lusaka agricultural show - kids

Kids doing what kids do everywhere – hanging out in hopes something interesting might happen.


Lusaka agricultural show - African cow

A patient zebu bull waiting for his moment in the judging ring.



Woodside shopping centre, Lusaka. Parking boys waiting for their guarding fee from the car owner. All over the continent, where millions of young people are unemployed, this is how some lads make a living.


Kamwala roadside furniture market

Waiting to make a sale: Kamwala furniture market, Lusaka. We bought most of our big household items, beds, chairs etc,  from roadside craftsmen. They made good stuff, a lot of it from recycled shipping crates, or by simply repurposing reeds and timber from the highway verges. I miss this way of life. It’s how we should be living: local produce, locally sold by the people who made it, and no need to drive to the out-of-town shopping mall; and none of it shrink-wrapped in sheaves of plastic.


races_0004 - Copy

We’re in Nairobi now, at the Ngong Racecourse. These are members of the Kenya Police Anti-Stock Theft Unit who operate in the arid northern district. This was supposed to be a race, but the camels couldn’t summon the enthusiasm – either to start or to finish. So here we are waiting for them to pass the finish post.

The Ngong Races are another hangover from  colonial times, wherein the institution of ‘Race Week’ was laid on over the Christmas period to provide white settlers with the excuse to come to town, get totally blotto and so escape the lonely toil on their isolated farms. These days the races are popular with Nairobians from all walks of life, though a glimpse of the members’ enclosure and of the memsahibs in their big hats might make you think you’d landed at an English county race meeting.


Waiting for the next race.


Race Day is also very much a family event, so there is lots to keep the children amused: face painting, donkey rides, ice creams and Mr. Magik doing tricks.

races_0004 - Copy (3)This little boy does not seem too impressed: waiting for magic to happen perhaps.

Lens-Artists: Waiting Amy set this week’s challenge. Go and see how she has interpreted ‘waiting’.

44 thoughts on “Back To The Old Africa Album ~ All Manner Of Waiting In All Sorts Of Places

  1. I love these waiting series. Each photo tells a wonderful story! Beautiful image of the elephant. The young boy’s expression was so well captured. Thank you, Tish. 🙂

  2. Tish, this post just makes me happy and reminds me of a movie we recently saw, “Holiday in the Wild”, If you read about the production, it was all done just right. It’s a movie to make you happy, even if it’s predictable. It’s just nice to see a movie that doesn’t have garbage, controversy, bad language, etc.! Add to that the beautiful scenery of Africa and the adorable baby elephants and what’s not to like? (I mentioned the movie on FB, but I don’t think I mentioned it on your blog. If so, sorry!)


    1. So pleased ‘the happy making factor’ worked. I was thinking we’re probably all needing an antidote to the unhappy stuff that’s going on. ‘Holiday in the Wild’ sounds as if it ticks a lot of boxes too. Comfort viewing and no nerve-jangling hype. Thanks for the link, Janet.

  3. Hi Tish – enjoyed the variety – the security guards with their smiles are a top pic – you captured a lot of essence and the green uniforms caught my eye before I read about it.

    And agree wholeheartedly about the way we should be doing local business with less plastic wraps and imports and all that. Like how you mentioned it so briefly – and was just watching an episode of ROTTEN on Netflix and this one was called “milk money” and one of the takeaways was the mass production has put the smile guys (small dairy farmers) out of business and everyone loses in the long run – lower quality product and displaced workers etc

    1. Hello Yvette. Good points on the mass production. We’ve been drilled to value convenience over quality. Over here some of the smaller dairy farmers have been going it alone (they couldn’t make a living supplying supermarkets) – trying to sell direct from their farms (big investment in kit to satisfy health and safety regs), or at local markets. We’ve recently been buying organic milk from a farmer at a market. It comes in big glass bottles which we of course return. The milk tastes like the milk we had when we were children.

      1. The glass bottles and organic milk sounds awesome! And reminded me that plastics are assumed way too safe and that is another story…

  4. Marvelous post.
    I must dig out some of my old shots of when I first arrived in Africa.
    We had a similar incidence of elephant crossing during a visit to Addo Elephant Park. Although in our encounter there were around a dozen elephants – a small family unit I think – that crossed behind us.
    We had a box of oranges in the boot of the car and it was hot ( February) and a large female turned towards the car raised her trunk and sniffed! Scared the life out of the wife who told me to drive!

  5. Always so informative. I’ve never been to Africa, so it’s always interesting for me. Also, your accounts flow so easily together with the pictures. Cheers!

  6. I was struck by the many things we share with those half a world away Tish. (Except for the elephants and camels of course LOL) Some terrific variety for the waiting challenge.

  7. Post na mzuri sana, Memsahib. 🙂 Didn’t know/remembered you lived in Zambia too. Hastings Kamusu Banda would still have been around right?
    (Just saw one of the worst movies made in Africa (Holiday in the wild). Netflix. Barely saved by the orphan elephants at an orphanage in Zambia. How can one botch a movie in Africa so much? Even if the story is lame, there is the country! Anyway. 🙂 (Don’t look at it. Waste of time)
    I really appreciated your “vintage” photos. (Never saw the Ngong race though. We rode horses in Karen, near the Ngon hills…) 😉
    Kwaheri sassa

  8. Absolutely lovely take on the challenge – love your African memories and photos. Majestic elephant. So enjoyed your varied waiting gallery!

  9. A great series, Tish. I love the candid shots of the kids and the elephant. It’s true that our way of life is so far removed from nature. No wonder why our environment is threatened. But I’m encouraged by the shift in attitude towards conservation and renewable energy. Now if the 40 top polluting corporations make responsibility for damaging the environment, things will really change.

  10. So many smiling and contented faces, Tish! As you say, as we should be living. 🙂 🙂 On this, Black Friday! It’s raining here. I’m opting for lunch with friends, a Portuguese lesson and a trip to theatre in Becky’s Olháo to watch flamenco, of all things! Reasonable things to do while waiting for the sunshine?

    1. The flamenco sounds fab. That should spark the inner pilot light on a rainy day. Which we could also do with. Cold and drizzly here, and another day when the sky gods have forgotten to switch on the light.

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