A feature of Cape Town life is the “noon gun”. On Signal Hill, a conspicuous hill this side of Table Mountain, there is a tradition that goes back to the early days of this re-victualling stop for the Dutch East India Company.
The Cape was colonised primarily to provide fresh vegetables for ships on their way to India. When one of these ships was sighted, the defensive gun was fired as a signal for the inhabitants.
It was also fired at midday, the Noon gun.
It still does, and has done without a break every day for 300 years or so. The unmistakeable thump marks halfway through my work day every day.
Last Friday there was a fusillade at 10:00 AM, and there was a pall of smoke hanging over the hill. Fidel Castro had arrived in Cape town, and was honoured with a 21 gun salute.
Castro was a staunch supporter of the independence movement, or, more accurately, a personification of the communist threat to the apartheid regime. The war in Angola, South Africas Vietnam, was funded from Russia, staffed from Cuba, and fought by Angolan infantry.
Angola bordered South Africa at the time - what is now Namibia was “South West” - Germanys old West Africa colony. Much, most, all of Namibias present infrastructure was built by South Africa, and was ceded in the withering wind of international sanctions early this decade.
Cuba, from its miracle health care system at home, exports doctors to South Africa, and is one of the countries Mandela keeps as friends (like Libya) despite oppostion from Washington. Mandela has a long memory, and resents others picking his friends for him. The major casualty has been Taiwan - also a staunch supporter of South Africa, and not a part of the sanctions. However, the economic realities of business with China forced that move, I am sure over Mandelas wishes.
I am running sound for the Milnerton Players, a group with its own theatre, for their latest show opening next week. They seem like a fun crowd.
Doing a lot of interviewing and hiring at work, and learning a lot about the cellular industry and the larger telecom market.