I stopped by the home of Rhodes University - a quaint, very British town in the Eastern cape, originally founded by settlers who were bought in as a ‘buffer’ between warring factions at that time.
The University is in the town, and has a beautiful campus. I had been corresponding with a couple of people who were the original founders of Internet in South Africa. I saw the lab, and the FreeBSD machine that originally had a Fidonet connection, and then a 9600 Baud dialup connection to the States. They now have their connection through a commercial provider in Johannesburg, and it is a 128K connection for all South Africas Universities. That translates to a connection about two orders of magnitude slower than a comparable US university.
To help it along, they run a WWW cache of 24 Gigabytes, but .. it is still very slow.
I visited a black township, a very nice man who had built his wattle-and-mud house, and was in the process of building his new brick house by himself. His wife would have the old house - in traditional African style, where the wives kept their own house, and, as he put it, did not bother him with her problems. He supported about ten people with his builders job in town.
I visited the Hogsback, a town reminiscent of an old indian hill station, which is a vacation retreat for South Africans. Stunning scenery, rolling hills, local people trying to sell you little unfired clay hogs. Nothing else, just a dozen people all trying to sell the same thing. South Africa lacks entrepreneurs.
I headed back East, and spent a night in Umtata, the capital of the old Transkei. Busy, noisy town, with a large university - which, of course, I visited. The Computer science department was not impressive. The Computer Services department was run by an accountant who, frankly, was afraid of computers and did not know the difference between a program and an operating system. 64K link to Rhodes.
Everyone warned me against the Transkei, and Umtata in particular, but I liked it, and the only hazards were the HUGE potholes that would appear without warning in the road, and “stray animals for 160 Km”.
North-eastern Transkei is very beautiful, running into the equally beautiful Western Natal. I am staying with some retired friends of my fathers, and Dr. George Campbell has a nice Pentium computer, Internet, a scanner, and three color printers to keep him occupied in his old age ..
Thanks to the Duvalls for their excellent book on touring South Africa. The scenery is much the same 25 years later.