Monday, November 5, 2012

Devon Valley Hotel in Stellenbosch, South Africa & Jamming with Amazink Live in Township

Sept. 2012 - We left the Swartland wine region around 5:30 and drove back to Stellenbosch where we checked into the lovely Devon Valley Hotel. This is a long, elegant country inn perched on a hillside overlooking the vineyards. I was given a magnificent room decorated in purple and gold with a king size bed, fireplace, huge bathtub, and an expansive vineyard view.

The downside was I only was able to enjoy the room for about 90 minutes while fully awake. It was still raining softly when we arrived, and as we were running late, I only had 30 minutes to rest in the room before being rushed back into the van to head to our evening venue (see below). Despite this, I managed to enjoy a cup of tea in front of the fire while gazing at the view, and then change cloths quickly for dinner. When I returned to my room around midnight, I immediately fell asleep, but set my alarm early enough to wake up, enjoy some coffee in front of the fire, then take a hot bath in the large and inviting tub. The breakfast buffet was delightful with over 30 different dishes in a large dining room with many windows and white tablecloths. Next time, I would linger at this resort and enjoy all the lovely amenities.

Jamming with Amazink Live in South African Township

Another highlight of my trip to South Africa was the evening we spent at Amazink Live in a local Stellenbosch Township. This is a dinner show run by local entertainers as a way to support the community and create revenue for singers and dancers. It is one of many efforts in South Africa to promote entrepreneurship and independence for people living in the townships.

Dinner was very casual in that you placed your order at a window and then collected a plate of barbequed beef with salad. It was quite tasty, and our group was fortunate in that the Stellenbosch wineries had donated over 50 different bottles of wine for us to taste along with the meal.

But it was the music that took my breath away and brought most of the audience to tears one minute, and then dancing in the aisles in celebration the next. This was the deep throbbing soul of Africa with drums, dancing, and vocal harmony that shook me to the core. All the pain and sorrow of Apartheid echoed in the music, and then the hope and joy of the human spirit which refuses to be bound. The memory of this experience still brings tears to my eyes.

1 comment:

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