At the end of November this year the world went into variant-panic mode. I was in South Africa when my flight back to Ireland was cancelled. Within 24 to 48 hours almost every flight out of South Africa and the other southern African countries were cancelled.
The uncertainty, the fluidity of the situation, the not knowing and the every-day-something-new or something-changed just made the situation worse. BUT, I was in the fortunate position that I could extend my stay with my family. They didn’t mind me being there.
And it wasn’t as if I had to flee the country, no big bad monster was suddenly knocking on the front door or if I went out on the street the variant would catch me. It was the same as when the other variants appeared during the pandemic. People were still trying to be compliant with the restrictions: wearing masks, mostly trying to distance and almost bathing in disinfectant.
Flights and the new Covid variant
UK was the first to stop all flights from and to South Africa and just like that all the other countries followed suit. As was mine with Qatar airlines. Interesting was that within a few days BA said they’ll resume flights to South Africa. KLM was one of few who kept going, but with strict regulations.
Scientists in South Africa did the right thing by letting the world know about the new Covid-variant. And I don’t want to sound impudent towards the seriousness of this variant or Covid in general, but to ban flights from and to these southern African countries was a bit over the top. Especially when a few days later it came to light that it was actually possible that the Omicron variant was already detected in other countries before the first cases were reported in South Africa.
The deed was done and this ban on flights to the countries in the southern part of Africa definitely is of no benefit to the economy over there. Tourism is huge in this part of the world, especially now during the summer months.
Sculptures by Dylan Lewis
So, because it wouldn’t be a great idea to go to shopping centres – I still wanted to buy gifts – or any tourism venue, we did venture out to the Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden in Stellenbosch early one morning. No one to be seen just us in the beautiful gardens with magnificent sculptures to gaze at.
This garden sits nestled between rugged mountains and manicured gardens and could be considered Lewis’ largest sculpture to date as he shaped the earth into dynamic hills and valleys with waterworks in between. There is a focus on indigenous species especially fynbos. The placing of the sculptures was also not to a conscious plan, according to Lewis, but more intuitively.
Widely recognised as one of the world’s foremost sculptors of the animal form, he initially focused on the big cats, but in recent years, he has used the human figure ‘to explore our relationship with our inner wilderness‘.
Walking around this garden I was in awe of the creativity and mood that was created between the placing of the sculptures and how it belonged in that specific spot in the garden surrounding it. Just looking at the magnificence of the individual sculptures takes your breath away. The way you can sometimes see a hand print or footprint in the finished sculpture makes it so much more sincere, so honest.
His fragmented pieces are unique in that they express movement or focus on specific parts. The fragmented sculptures made me contemplate on how broken we all are. How no one is perfect, but we all have flaws and definitely in this life. Just incredible how intense these emotions can be portrayed by an artist through his or her art.
In the meantime I am still in self-isolation for a few days, so I will just enjoy looking at those sculptures again remembering the peace and quietness, the water close by and the mountains straining in the background.