Rebuilding Foundations

An exploration of international development work in Africa


[“Unyazi” is the Zulu word for lightning.]

I have now experienced my first South African thunderstorm!  It poured all night.  Not light, misty rain like we often experience in Vancouver, but big, heavy raindrops.  It sounded there was a troupe of drummers dancing around on my roof.  I woke up a couple of times to sparks of lightning and claps of thunder.

At one point I was afraid my little garden room might topple over.

But then I remembered that this is just the beginning.  We’re heading into summer: South Africa’s rainy season.  My suite must have experienced a lot worse in the past!

Surprisingly, so far I haven’t found the weather here all that different from Vancouver’s.  The winters are somewhat mild.  It gets warmer here during the day (around 20°C instead of 10°C), but it drops to below freezing at night.  I’ve heard it doesn’t get that much hotter in the summer – rarely above 30°C.  That’s because there are thundershowers almost every afternoon that lower the temperature.

But there are definitely some distinct variations.  First of all, the rains.  In Vancouver it feels like it rains all the time: October to June.  Here, it rains mostly in the summer and winter is the dry season.  This is the first rain I’ve seen in my 3 weeks here.

Second of all, the duration of each season is different.  I don’t know when winter began, but it was near its end when I arrived mid-August.  I experienced a week of winter and then it got gloriously warm for 2 weeks.  Unfortunately, then it got cold again, except this time it’s cold and wet.

I love storms, but I hate the cold.  I would have thoroughly enjoyed last night’s thunderstorm if I’d been snuggled up warm by a fireplace – instead of huddling under my bedcovers wearing long-johns, pajama pants, two sweaters, a scarf, and hat.

C’mon summer!  Come back!  I want to sit outside and watch unyazi!

Lightning over Johannesburg


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2 thoughts on “Unyazi

  1. “Long-johns, pajama pants, two sweaters, a scarf, and hat.” Dear Lord.

  2. Yeah I look really sexy. Like a snowman.

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