The story of yesterday is indeed interesting, to say the least. For one, it certainly changed my perception of how estates within the eastern regions of Pretoria relate to their surroundings. And I speak not of the amenities of Silver Lakes in terms of those constructed for mankind, by mankind - no I’m talking about the natural wonders that have existed for centuries, millennia, before the advent of human settlement and expansion. Long before man ever set its sights on the interior of the southern peninsula of Africa, long before gated neighbourhoods were ever conceptualised, long, long before the value of enclosed living was ever realised, these gems of the living world were; their presence not a condition of zoning laws nor state regulations. It’s something we tend to forget at times, that there is a world that exists outside of what we have created. That is not to put down said creations, for what humanity has achieved in terms of physical construction is absolutely incredible. We are perhaps the only species to alter our living space to the extent where it becomes unrecognisable in its newfound beauty and modernity. However, I feel it is also important to understand that the world in and of itself has its own beauty, one that has remained unchanged in how it impacts our lives for aeons, and will continue to do so for aeons more. We can become so focused on what we need to do, what we have to do in fulfilling the expectations of today’s society that we forget to live – to really live, and experience that which brings us back to what I believe is part of the point of sentient life as we know it – pure and simple, utter and sheer enjoyment.
This description in fun was found in said story of yesterday. Quite unexpectedly and due to a multitude of factors, not least of which was the fact that our Garmin decided to develop an attitude, we found ourselves driving down the roads that flow through the Pretoria east region, passing the very enclosures about which I write – and it needs to be said that even from the distance of the roadside, the security at Silver Lakes was palpable; it is no wonder that they invite such fearlessness within their residents. The area was stunning. Having just experienced several hours of overnight rainfall, the land was awash with the greens, reds and browns that have come to be associated with the southern African topography. Grasslands overflowing with new growth, the air abuzz with birdlife and the sun peaking between the clouds as though hinting at the heat that was to come (and come it did, the middle of the day saw rays from above pounding mercilessly upon the earth). It was truly a spectacular site to behold.
Our little road trip reached its culmination when my companion pointed out a sign fast approaching our car (or one that we were fast approaching, given Einstein’s take on relativity it all depends on where you were standing). It spoke of an area I had never before heard of – “Nkwe”.
“Why not?” we asked ourselves.
Looking back, that right turn was one of the best decisions I have ever made. The fact that an area of this beauty, this glory, this sheer wonder could exist so close to the properties of Silver Lakes astounded me. It was as though I had crossed from the living realm into another, one untouched and untamed. It was not minutes before that we were upon tarmac, the day’s heat increasing at an exponential rate as we passed housing developments that stood in tribute to the height of urbanisation.
The area itself was breath-taking. Trees, many stories in height, provided shade from the now blazing sun that we as Africans have all come to know and love. Grass grew unchecked, giving the surrounding valley a feel of ruggedness that spoke of new terrains to be discovered. Yet that lake at the centre of it took first place, a waterfall seeing the life giving liquid pour into its depths. My favourite part? The cliffs that surrounded said lake providing endless entertainment in finding myself falling through the open air before plunging into the cool, refreshing waters below.
It is this that I speak of – not necessarily the death defying jumps that every man women, baby and child should attempt at least once in their lifetime – but rather that break from the humdrum that has become accepted as a way of life. It is so important to be able to reconnect with who we are in terms of what we want to do, as opposed to what we have to do. And with the kind of natural, God-given, let’s call them “facilities”, that exist within a few minutes’ drive from Silver Lakes, it would seem as the opportunity to do so has presented itself in stunning fashion.