Friday, 24 May 2013

Frivolous Friday: Things I Love About Africa

It's weekend! And it couldn't come soon enough!

As promised in my last Frivolous Friday post, I'm focusing on an African positive today. 

One of the things I love about this continent are the legends. Trust me, there is a supernatural explanation for just about everything. 

I also love African trees, especially when they come with a legend attached. 

So my all-time favourite tree happens to the incredible Baobab. 

Andrew took this on the Makadikgadi Salt Pan in Botswana

The San people (used to be called Bushmen, but that's now politically incorrect) have a wonderful story about how the Baobab came to be. It goes like this . . . 

Long, long ago when the Creator made the Kalahari, he planted the Baobab tree in a prime spot next to a lake. At first the tree was very happy, at least until the incessant wind stopped and it caught a glimpse of itself in the water.

Shocked by its obese trunk, insignificant flowers and lack of foliage, it immediately demanded that The Creator get back on the job and it give it a makeover.

The Creator poked his head out from behind a cloud and asked if the hippo was beautiful? (No) Or if the hyena had a pretty voice? (Definitely not) So why then should the Baobab be worried about something as shallow as looks?

Still the the Baobab whinged. And whinged.

Finally, in a fit of pique, The Creator grabbed it by the trunk, ripped it out the ground and flung it into the most desolate corner of the Kalahari. It landed on its head with its roots in the air and there it has stayed forever.

Looking at the tree you can see where the San got that idea from.

Another story has it that The Creator gave each animal its own tree. The Baobab was given to the hyena. Disgusted with the fat, ugly offering, the hyena yanked it out the ground and turned it on its head.

Fun, these stories, aren't they?

But for all that the Baobab may look a bit odd, it's a very valuable tree. The bark is used for making cloth and rope, the locals eat the leaves and the seed pods, which are stuffed with Vitamin C. A bit like a camel, the fleshy pulp in the trunk also carries water, which can be bled in times of drought. There is even a huge Baobab that has been hollowed out and is used for a pub!

However, none of these explain my love for this tree. My reason are more simple. Baobab trees are always found in desolate locations, far from human settlement, and I love being in the wilderness.

I will definitely miss Baobabs when I arrive in England. So, to fill the gap, I asked a friend to make me my very own tree to take with me. He's a street artist and he makes and sell objects like this . . .

This wire tree will occupy pride of place in my new home in Oxford, reminding me always of what I left behind in Africa.

Enjoy your weekend. Be safe. Have fun. And read lots. I know I plan to.

As usual drop by an see what Elisa has up for her FF.

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