There is an old African legend. Her soil is red because blood has been spilled on her land since the beginning of time.
It is true that many a battle has taken place on African soil. Borders were drawn, fights were won, tribes established and resettled into the gentle ebb and flow that defines the circle of life. It is survival of the fittest.
When a lioness wakes in the morning, she knows she has to run faster than the leaping antelope or her pride will starve. When an impala wakes, she knows she has to outrun the lioness or she will be eaten. Either way, battle commences, borders are drawn, prides are established and the fittest thrive.
Growing up in Africa I have seen the endless trials and tribulations that form the very foundations of survival. Food and territory; eat or be eaten. However, beyond the daily events in the wild and the endless battles for survival, I have seen too the impossibly red sunsets and the golden light of the Timbervati in the summer. I have heard the lions’ roar and the fish eagles cry, watched the skies explode with lightening, heard the rains crash down to soothe the scorched earth, and I too have fought the battles of survival.
My blood flows thick with the heartbeat of Africa, her rich red soil, her endless skies.
Perhaps the legend has been wrong all along. Perhaps the soil is not red because blood has been shed. Perhaps our blood is red because it carries the spirit of Africa.
To spend time in Africa is to spend time with the self in a way that will leave you changed, yearning for more, beating with the impossible red that is her sun, her soil, her never fading heart.
*Original blog post published for Robert Mark Safaris