My local lighthouse, for Francine ;)

Hi there, everyone. I put a few photos on my blog the other day, of the beach where we live in South Africa. Francine, spotted the lighthouse in the distance and told me that she loves lighthouses, and collects pictures of them. So here is a close up pic of the Umhlanga lighthouse near Durban. It’s a 21 metre circular concrete tower painted white with a red top, and is fully automatic. It was completed in 1954 and has been the subject of numerous paintings and memorabilia. Built to replace the Bluff lighthouse, which was commissioned in 1869 but had to be abandoned due to its rapid deterioration, it stands guard to some of the most treacherous waters of Southern Africa and not only warns ships of the hidden dangers, but the flashing light is also a welcome to the ships sailing into the safety of the Durban harbour.

Umhlanga means Place of Reeds in Zulu, and refers to the beds of reeds that accumulate on the banks of the Ohlanga River a few kilometers north of Umhlanga Rocks. An interesting fact is that the lighthouse has never had a keeper, as the Oyster Box Hotel, which was built in 1869 and was originally the first beach cottage in the area, has been the official warden. The lighthouse controls are in the hotel office where they are monitored by the staff, who report to Portnets Lighthouse Service.

On December 1st, 2009, the lighthouse was transformed overnight, when it was covered with a giant ‘condom’ to signify and celebrate World Aids Day. I remember that some locals were less than impressed with this initiative, but most people thought it was a great and novel idea, which highlighted a very real problem, especially in our province.

Whilst I was away in the States last year, my sister did a painting of the lighthouse for me, as a Birthday present.

Yesterday, hubby and I went off up the hill to my sister’s house for lunch. My dear Mom was there too, and we had a lovely family reunion, with non-stop conversation, around a table full of delicious food and wine. You can well imagine that after six months of not seeing one another, there was a lot to talk about. Laughing

Hope you all had a great weekend. Chat again soon.