Andries Bezuidenhout. Landskap met indringerplant

Ry deur die Karoo en jy sou sweer garingbome (agave sisalana) en turksvye (opuntia tuna) is inheemse plante. Hulle pas net so mooi in woestynlandskappe en ʼn mens sou die Karoo kwalik sonder die twee plantspesies kon voorstel. Tog kom beide oorspronklik uit Meksiko en is na Suid-Afrika toe ingevoer om verskillende redes.

Daar is mense wat beweer turksvye as indringerspesie was ʼn ekologiese ramp, baie soos in Wes-Australië, waar ʼn kranige boervrou in 1839, heel onskuldig, steggies met vriendinne gedeel het en sodoende haar plek in die land se geskiedenisboeke verseker het – as oorsaak van die een van die land se grootste ekologiese katastrofes. Teen 1886 het die Australiese regering wetgewing aanvaar met die gedetermineerde titel van The Commonwealth Destruction of Pricly-pear Act. In 1924 is ʼn Prickly-pear Destruction Commission op die been gebring. In 1926 is ʼn tipe rusper ingevoer as biologiese agent teen die indringerplante.

In Suid-Afrika was daar soortgelyke drama rondom turksvye. Waar boere aanvanklik in hul noppies was met die soet vrugte, is die plant blitsvinnig as indringer beskou. Ek sien William Beinart en Luvuyo Wotshela het pas ʼn boek gepubliseer oor die geskiedenis van turksvye in die Oos-Kaap (Prickly Pear: The Social History of a Plant in the Eastern Cape, Wits University Press, 2012). ʼn Uittreksel uit bemarkingsmateriaal:

“Plants are not quite historical actors in their own right, but their properties and potential help to shape human history. Plants such as prickly pear tend to be invisible to those who do not use them, or at least on the peripheries of people’s consciousness. This book explains why they were not peripheral to many people in the Eastern Cape and why a wild and sometimes invasive cactus from Mexico, that found its way around the world over 200 years ago, remains important to African women in shacks and small towns… The central tension at the heart of this history concerns different and sometimes conflicting human views of prickly pear. Some accepted or enjoyed its presence; others wished to eradicate it. While commercial livestock farmers initially found the plant enormously valuable, they came to see it as a scourge in the early twentieth century as it invaded farms and commonages. But for impoverished rural and small town communities of the Eastern Cape it was a godsend. In some places it still provides a significant income for poor black families. Debates about prickly pear… have played out in unexpected ways over the last century and more.  Some scientists, once eradicationists, now see varieties of spineless cactus as plants for the future, eminently suited to a world beset by climate change and global warming.”  

Skildery:

“Turksvy naby Middelburg”, olie op gemonteerde doek, 35 x 24 cm

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3 Kommentare op “Andries Bezuidenhout. Landskap met indringerplant”

  1. Desmond :

    Raai ‘n bietjie wie gaan dalk later vanjaar Meksiko toe…?

  2. Leon Retief :

    Andries, ek het op ‘n keer ‘n bottel turksvystroop as geskenk gekry. Dit is gemaak deur ‘n vrou wat ek nooit ontmoet het nie en dit was ook deel van haar laaste maaksel (of kooksel?) want sy sou daarna ophou omdat sy te oud geword het. Ek onthou steeds daardie wonderlike rokerige smaak, hoe wonderlik dit met roomys saamgegaan het en dat mens dit ook kon gebruik by die voorbereiding van wildsvleis. My mond water nog steeds as ek daaraan dink!

  3. Andries Bezuidenhout :

    Desmond & Leon, nou’s ek turksvygroen van jaloesie. Oor Desmond se Meksikobesoek. Leon se turksvystroop laat my ook nou dink aan die geroosterde toebroodjie wat ek vanoggend by Varsity Bakery vir ontbyt gekoop het. Glad nie rokerig nie, dalk eerder olierig. “Rook en olie”.

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