I am bringing back 4 CD’s of photos. I have video and audio files too. I have beadwork and rocks. I have had painted cloth and artwork. I have books on District 6 and Xhosa. I have wine and chocolate. I have Afrikaans and African gospel music. And I have stories … loads and loads of stories.
I cannot bring home any smells.
I can’t bring the smell of the sea on the strong south-easterly winds from the beach.
I cannot bring back the hot smell of red dirt and vynbos from the mountains.
I cannot bring back the smell of Eucalyptus and limestone dust of Robben Island.
I’ve heard smell is the sense most strongly connected to memory. While I have no idea if this is true – I know my memories of South Africa will be weakened because I can’t bring smells with me.