Am coming to the end of my second month in the UK. Just arrived in Derry or Londonderry as it is also known. Spent the last two nights in Belfast. I always wonder when I come across a place name in the UK that has a counterpart in South Africa, did the settlers originate from those places? South Africa has a Belfast, an Aberdeen, a Dundee, East London, and loads more British place names.

I took a photo of Mc Clure Street in Belfast. My great grandfather came from Belfast and was a Mc Clure. Could he have walked here?

Belfast and Londonderry or Derry are well know for the violence during the time of “the troubles” in Ireland. We often think in South Africa we are the only ones who have ever had problems. It’s sobering to see photos taken during the time when life was not so great in this part of the world. These two cities resembled war zones. Our troubles in SA didn’t take as much of a toll on our buildings and homes.

A lot of effort has gone into repairing the old structures and rebuilding these two cities. There is a strange juxtaposition of boarded up shells of bombed buildings and untouched, repaired or brand new buildings. Even more effort has gone into repairing the soul of a war weary nation. People here want you to like them. They so badly want to put the past behind them. And you can’t help but want that too.
I hope we are like that.

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