Purple Perfection

Sinqobile Tessa
ATTRACTIVE: Jacaranda trees (Pic: Newsday)

I tried but failed to resist the urge to gloat about the beauty of the jacaranda trees in my country at this time of the year.

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This is mainly because around the same time last year, and possibly even in other years gone by, I wrote similar pieces and did not want to create an annual type of story.

However, the temptation was just too great as trees lining up the streets in full, magnificent blossom are truly a sight to behold.

I enjoy driving through the streets lined up with jacaranda as it gives that refreshing feeling and uplifts my spirits whenever I am feeling low.

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I sometimes even ignore the high fuel prices, taking the longest route to my destination just so I can better appreciate the attractiveness of the purple trees, which bend inwards to create a canopy that is almost like entering a tunnel.

I used to do that quite often when I was working in Harare as there is a particular street with a long stretch of jacarandas bending inwards on both sides to create a serene canopy that is almost like entering a tunnel; it makes the drive even more elevating.

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I guess we have to thank the couple that brought the seedlings to then Salisbury, otherwise we wouldn’t be having these lovely trees in Zimbabwe.

According to information at hand, the jacaranda was first introduced to Salisbury (Harare) in 1899 by a honeymooning couple who carried six seedlings from the botanical gardens in Durban. The rest, as they say, is history as the country now has hundreds of these trees all over various town, cities and villages including in our farming community of Figtree, which is along the Bulawayo-Plumtree highway.

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Some tourists actually prefer to visit Harare in particular at this time of the year so they also get to see the sea of purple.

One particular place in the capital which is a sight to behold at this time of the year is the Africa Unity Square which literally turns purple in October and changes the entire landscape of the Harare CBD.

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Talking of tourists, I travelled to Victoria Falls last week and was happy to see the tourism town bustling with visitors having the time of their lives.

During the Covid-19 era, Vic Falls had turned into a ghost town and many people lost their jobs as the main source of income and life line had been literally cut off.

So seeing the place back to its glory days was quite heartwarming.

Back in the days, Vic Falls was a prime destination and the tourism industry was the country’s biggest foreign currency earner.

While the industry seems to be on the rebound, the country itself has not been a draw card for tourists in the last couple of years because of various issues such as human rights abuses, corruption and the not-so-good political and economic climate, topics which sadly feature most weeks in this column!

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