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Pyramids out of a toy box December 4, 2008

Posted by Jenny in literature, memoir, nature, Uncategorized.
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cape-koppies

[In the northern Cape of South Africa] there are about three kinds of pyramid, and these are reproduced again and again, as if they were kept all ready made in a box like toys.  There is the simple kopje or cone, not to be distinguished at a little distance from the constructed pyramids of Egypt, just as regular and perfect.  Then there is the truncated or flat-topped pyramid, used for making ranges; and finally the hollow-sided one, a very pretty and graceful variety, with curving sides drooping to the plain.  These are all.  Of course there are a few mistakes.  Some of the hills are rather shakily turned out, and now and then a kopje has fallen away, as it were, in the making….

In the evenings and early mornings especially, when these oft-repeated shapes stand solemnly round the horizon, cut hard and blue against the sky like the might pylons and propylons of Egyptian temples, the architectural character of the scenery and its definite meaning and purpose strike one….  So solemn and sad it looks; the endless plains bare and vacant….  As if some colossals here inhabited at one time and built these remains among which we now creep ignorant of their true character.  The scenery really needs such a race of Titans to match it.  In these spaces we little fellows are lost.

—L. March Phillipps, “Late Captain in Rimington’s Guides,” London, 1902.  Phillipps was a young Englishman trained in art and architecture who joined a body of colonial volunteers called “Rimington’s Tigers” during the Boer War.

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