The centerpiece of this post is a selection of photographs from the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg in Kwa-Zulu Natal… an enigmatic yet stunning mountaineering playground cloaked in ancient geographical and cultural history. In between the stills I introduce a super exciting project that I’m keen to do.
I’m planning a hiking and climbing trip to the Dragons mountains in May this year. It is a place that I adventured in many times as a young boy and warmly remember for getting hopelessly lost on trails, curiosly exploring caves and lying rapt under the stars. This time, after more than ten years, there is a call within me to return for another journey into this range of jagged peaks of mystery capping mist-clouded valleys.
What I would like to do here is plan an adventure humanitarian trip. Here are the project’s goals:
- Climb the highest peak in Southern Africa, alpine style and use this project focal point to;
- Raise funds for sports equipment, books (English, Afrikaans, Zulu & Sotho), stationery, bags to donate to a few underprivileged rural and urban schools in South Africa.
- Promote mountaineering and nature conservation (via the Mountaineering Club/Association of South Africa and national sponsors.
- Produce a documentary and short book on the expedition
The world is an immensely beautiful place. Nature is the primordial reality that has existed for time immemorial. For me it is the mountains where I most go to experience and be in that timelessness.
The aim to climb the highest peak in South Africa, Mafadi, soaring to 3,450m above the Drakensberg escarpment and kissing the border with Lesotho.
I will be calling on my friends, family, friends of friends of friends (ad infinitum!), the general South African public, relevant organizations, government departments and businesses to contribute toward the project. Sharing a facebook post, donating books (old or new), giving funds, offering sponsorship, are all crucial to the success of this venture.
I’ll be planning the project and gathering resources from Cape Town. Precisely which schools will benefit and exactly what form the benefits will take is open to discussion (books, sports equipment, teacher training workshops are some of my main ideas). If you have any advice or insight around what the project funds could go into in terms of improvements at local schools please get in touch! Input from all is most welcomed.
I’ve been teaching English for near five years and have come to really appreciate the great value in education and expanding consciousness. Sports and outdoor adventure are also key components of the educational experience of human beings and compliment mental stimulation and broadening of the mind.
Undoubtedly, education is in the eye of the beholder, and expresses itself in thousands of ways within different cultures across the globe…and has done so, for millennia. Reading the lay of the land as a blueprint of sacred geometry as a Kogi shaman or calibrating the material world in terms of scientific laws as a quantum physicist are equally valid ways of interpreting reality and creating meaning. It is the vast ocean of perspectives and knowledges that are open to be embraced, in a multiverse of understanding.
In the West we acquire and have access to great reams of knowledge through books. Just today I picked up three at a second-hand shop in the Natal Midlands; ‘Lost Civilizations’, ‘Human Origins’ and ‘The Gaia Project’. Encoded in the language of each book is an opportunity to learn more and go deeper into the experience of being connected on this planet in this human form. The amount of information and knowledge available to us in the present age is unprecedented, and grows every second. A Google search on any topic yields hundreds of thousands if not millions of hits…just one topic.
Books of course can only take one so far…but we should see them for what they are, portals to understanding and being. To inspire a thirst of learning is the ultimate goal of the teacher, far more than the transmission of information or the presaging of a particular pedagogy. Perhaps here lies the cornerstone of this project…to inspire thirst of learning and curiosity.
Along the way I will doubtless learn about things I didn’t anticipate. The teacher is at once a student, a student a teacher, and experience indeed the best teacher.
The detailed trip itinerary is still in process, details to follow soon. Please follow my blog, get involved, support and make a difference! If we combine our energies it’s all possible.
Peace, Love and Happiness.