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I’m padding through to the kitchen to make my morning tea and under the kitchen table there’s a heaving and a slithering thing heading away from me towards the bathroom door where it thrashes for a bit before finding its way underneath. I calmly seal the door before noticing I’m sweating. Then I go looking for the town’s snake catcher. A guy called Gerhard offers to shoot it. I still don’t know exactly what type of snake this is, so I head to my painter friend Diane McLean who tells me what to look for. And then I get a good look at it through the bathroom window.

gooie more suid afrika!

After quite a few calls and a flurry of sms to Hermann (there’s a cobra in the bathroom! Qrtrfgtr! Sit tight! Don’t let those fuckers kill that snake!) I get through to the Oudtshoorn Fire Department and half an hour later the okes arrive and deftly remove the snake: “Jy moet kalm wees. As jy woel, dan begin die slang ook woel .” They released it on the way back.

In the afternoon instead of going to the Poort I head out on a farm road and find myself in a kraal with some slightly haughty goats.

what's HE doing here?

Snakes. Goats. What the hell am I doing here? Get me to a shopping mall!

J H Pierneef’s Station Panels are cornerstones of South African landscape painting. They were placed in the old Johannesburg Station as adverts to travel the country.

But did these alluring places ever really exist? And how have they changed?

Taking up the invitation to travel 80 years later, Carl Becker set off to find out.

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carlbecker.art@gmail.com

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