The History of the Pongola 146 Dining Car

Dining car of the Pongola 146 in its heyday

The CSAR existed from 1902-1910 and was well-known for its extremely luxurious suburban and main-line trains which were generally regarded as the most well appointed in South Africa and compared well to the best in the rest of the world. One of these four A-17’s was named the Pongola and became car No. 146 in 1911, and saw service until 1926 as a type A-17.
Main picture: Dining car of the Pongola 146 in its heyday

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Two Heroes, Two Divergent Tales but Inextricably Linked

Al Capone

Against of backdrop of sleaze and malfeasance of the 1920s mobster era, two heroes would arise, their tales so extraordinary that one almost judges them as “fake news.” It is not just because of these two men’s undeniable bravery that these tales need to be read. Moreover, it is how these disparate events could be so inextricably linked that is the clincher.

Main picture: Al “Scarface” Capone

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Did Neanderthals and Humans ever interbreed?

neanderthals

It is probably trite to question whether they could have but we must also enquire whether they would have. Stating the obvious, they could have subject to the caveat that they only would have if they were members of the same species as different specious refuse to mate. 

How and why did these other species of humans disappear? The answer to the “same species” question will determine which theory takes primacy: Interbreeding or Replacement? 

Main picture: Theoretically the DNA of the Neanderthals & Homo Sapiens should be so far apart that they never should be able to interbreed. However is that correct?

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Middle Class Woes

soweto

Today’s road race was at the Elkah Stadium adjacent to Thokoza Park in Soweto. While driving home listening to 702 Talk Radio listeners airing their humdrum concerns, it struck me forcefully that many of the denizens of Moroka now face a different foe from one endured during the turbulent 1970’s, the dreaded middle class woes.

 Never fatal but its symptoms are overwork, stress and a lack of free time. 

Main picture:  Soweto is a symbol of the New South Africa, caught between old squatter misery and new prosperity Continue reading

Origin of the Stone Walled Structures of Mpumalanga

aerial-view-of-stone-walled-settlements

One of the oddities on the Suikerboschfontein Hiking Trail is a number of stone walled structures, one of which is grandiosely referred to as the Dying Sun Chariot. By implication, the function of that circular settlement is alluding to some religious or astronomical function much like Stonehenge in Wiltshire, UK.  The only explanation that is proffered for their existence is transparently “exotic” with apparently no credible evidence to substantiate the assumptions. 

Even the Kaapsehoop Hiking Trail has its own stone circle too small to function as a settlement known as Adam’s Calendar after its supposed function . 

Who constructed these little-known structures and when but, more importantly, why?  

Will a new publication by Tim Maggs and Alex Schoeman finally settle this enigma and usher in a revised postulation? 

Main picture: An aerial photograph of these structures reveals their extent

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Is this Future Here Already?

technological-advance01

Kodak is one of the first megacompanies to face extinction when technological advances caught them off-guard. This phenomena is about to overtake many such companies, industries and even countries.

Here is a non-definitive list of those technologies which are on the cusp of this modern tsunami.

This will now happen with Artificial Intelligence, health, autonomous and electric cars, education, 3D printing, agriculture and jobs. Welcome to the fourth Industrial Revolution. Welcome to the Exponential Age

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Reminiscences of the Kruger Park of Yore

crossing-on-a-pontoon

To celebrate the 90th birthday of the Kruger National Park (KNP) on May 31, management encouraged guests and staff to share memories on various social-media platforms. Visitors and Kruger lovers eagerly responded to this call and shared various memories. Some have been visiting the Kruger since the ‘60s.

Main picture: With a paucity of bridges, pontoons were the only way to cross the many rivers
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Royal Divorce down the Ages

anne-boleyn-in-the-tower-by-edouard-cibot-1799-1877

At the dawn of humanity, marriage was deemed to be sacrosanct. Divorce in most societies – especially at the instigation of a female – was not permitted. Royalty – men only – were usually entitled to have a lover as their wife was usually married for political and not affection reasons. In these circumstances, divorce was never considered as the wife was the baby production machine whereas romantic love was reserved for their mistress. What happened when the wife could not deliver a male heir or, like in more modern times, when mistresses were no longer tolerated, how did the king or the royalty get their divorce? 

This blog dissects four vastly different royal divorces each of which exposes much about the milieu in which each occurred. Included in this blog will be the vignette on how [Bessiewallis] Wallis Simpson obtained her divorce from her second husband in order to marry King Edward VIII.

Main picture: Anne Boleyn in the Tower awaiting execution by Edouard Cibot (1799–1877)

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