Sunday, August 21, 2011

The wind in //Kabbo's window

A cold and rainy day today, and breakfast with friends who, being the Warden (and wife of the Warden) of Smuts Hall, live in this most gracious of the University of Cape Town's residences. We were given a tour, and were particularly struck by the beautiful stained glass windows in the grand Dining Hall that you can see in the photo; the light just catching the window on the left. Six of the windows are quite old and depict scenes from South Africa's colonial history, but there are a few more modern designs; one of which is by Pippa Skotnes, entitled The wind in //Kabbo's Window. //Kabbo (the back slashes denote clicks when pronouncing the name) was a /Xam Bushman who was interviewed in the nineteenth century by Wilhelm Bleek and Lucy Lloyd while he was doing time in prison for threatening colonial farmers in the Northern Cape. These diaries and transcriptions are all that remains of the culture and day to day life of the indigenous people of the northern Cape and are the most precious and intriguing documents of our history. The other new windows are Ithemba by Zwelethu Mthethwa, The birth of democracy by Lyn Smuts and Afrika phakamisa uphondo iwakho by Ella Lou O’Meara.


  1. would love to see more windows, if you have pictures?

  2. Sadly I didn't but there are some on the Flickr collection by Holly Marie Anderson at

  3. Stained glass windows are always associated with England and history, but its such a beautiful and effective way to portray anything. There are a couple in Grahamstown protraying the British Settlers that I love.