“It’s complicated” – my relationship status with jacarandas

c Pikkie Wolmarans - Pixoto

Jacarandas in Pretoria, South Africa. © Pikkie Wolmarans, 2015 (Pixoto) 

That time of year has arrived, when Gauteng experiences its first rains after the Winter. The weather has been warming up beautifully and people are suddenly cheerful and wearing bright colours to the office again, like they should in Africa. One of the most striking announcements that Spring has arrived is the sudden appearance of purple blossoms in the jacaranda trees that line countless streets all over the province. Driving home from work through my neighbourhood becomes such a magical experience as you watch the pink-orange of the sunset filter through the endless purple fairyland surrounding you. What a glorious end to the day.

But there is always an element of discomfort when I allow myself to admire these trees, that prevents me from loving them as much as I would like to – their deceptive beauty trying to make you forget that they are aliens in this land. The colonialists of the plant kingdom, that thrive on our resources, enjoying a generous water supply while the indigenous flora give up hope against such a strong competitor.

But then the next day I drive back home from work through my little wonderland and the cycle of thoughts begins all over again…