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Cape Town, South Africa


In Tim's own words

"'Pilgrimage: A long journey or search, especially one of exalted purpose or morale significance.'

"As such, I have been a pilgrim: to Prague, land of my ancestors; to the banks of Bear Run in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, to see architect Frank Lloyd Wright's glorious creation, the Kaufmann Residence, otherwise known as "Fallingwater;" to a breeding farm outside Paris, Kentucky, to see the final resting place of the "superhorse" Secretariat... Cape Town, South Africa, and Robben Island, the penal colony that could not kill the spirit nor the determination of neither the man nor the nation.

"I've long been an admirer of Nelson Mandela: revolutionary, politician and patriarch to the world.  It was with a desire to better understand the man, his legacy and the nation he shaped that I journeyed to South Africa and specifically to Cape Town, where the prison on Robben Island held him for 18 years.

"Today Robben Island is a UNESCO  World Heritage Centre.  Some of those who today give tours of the Island and its penal facilities spent time there behind its bars.   And despite the fact Robben Island was number one on my list of "Things to See and Do" while in South Africa, I never made it there.

"Simply put, transport to the island is an 'iffy' proposition and the winds which often pummel the Cape of Good Hope made the seas too treacherous for the antiquated ferries--some of which actually carried prisoners to the island--still in use today.  So, I missed the boat.

"But two photographs I took while on my trip speak to me as if from Madiba himself.  The first, seen below, is of the young beggar boy I encountered at Hout Bay.  During my week-long stay in the Cape Town area, the boy was the only one who asked for money.  He did so with his arms folded in to his chest, his elbow's touching, a pleading gesture recognizable anywhere.

"Saying 'no,' was easy, a matter of almost instinctive routine, but within a few steps of walking away, I realized I couldn't do that, neither walk away or deny his request for money.  I quickly returned and offered him all the coins in my pocket if I could take his picture.  

"For me, his face reflected Mandela's story and the story, past, present, and to come, of his country.  Of all the people I've met, the faces I've peered into with my lens or my microphone, none spoke to me in the manner of this pre-teen boy.

"The other photo from my South African pilgrimage can be seen above.  It was taken with an iPhone while driving along the roadway to Cape Point Nature Reserve.  I intended to simply take a snapshot of the countryside.  I barely saw the man's figure rushing into frame."


Electronic Resume for Tim Gregg

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