Dec 4, 2016 - Blog, South Africa    No Comments

South Africa Day 8

Margaret’s Ashes

Early start today as we are traveling north to our overnight camp at Balule near Olifants river. On the way we are stopping at Vutomi Dam as this is the place that Anne has chosen to scatter Margaret’s ashes.

Today was a poor day as regards wildlife sightings that was until we joined the S36 on the way up to Vutomi. The most gruesome sight was a tree with about 10 or so Vultures and then just round the corner was a headless Buffalo and the vultures on the ground were going to town ripping apart its intestines from any direction.

That was gruesome just a little further on there were 3 Lions one large male and two younger ones had killed a Buffalo, this one was fully incapacitated. Each lion would take turns in having their fare from the Buffalo, two kills during my stay unbelievable. 

We arrived at Vutomi Dam at around 10 am.

Anne’s chosen place could not be more perfect, a natural waterhole with development of the road infrastructure creating a dam just below the two trees that Anne had pinpointed to scattering Margaret’s ashes.

The trees are Buffalo-thorn (burial tree of the Zulu) they grow near water courses and are deciduous with mistletoe growing within its canopy. The Buffalo-thorn is particularly significant in Zulu lore, especially in burials of chiefs and royalty when branches  are laid on their graves.

Anne found a rock and wrote her name on it and spoke first about Vutomi Dam and the significance in her family of the place and why she chose this place to scatter Margaret’s ashes. I spoke about how much Margret would have loved to experience the magnificence of South Africa, Anne’s life and friends here. I read a poem that Margaret wrote in her many letters to me on 15/04/1969 called:-

The Search is Over

The thought had been there , though it was hidden,
It took someone new to prove this too me
We had met, certainly fated, the truth was there, covered
by confusion, disillusion which I couldn’t see
Uncovered now, was my aim and my longing,
Those of another struck home, sound and dry,
My life in a nutshell displayed before me,
By he desired what in mere shall try
to find. For we know what the other has dreams of
The longings ambitions and the feelings so strong
For love between two, which will not be destroyed.
By time, or man ,or death,
The growing affection and love of two bodies,
The one and the other are united as one.
Yet the miles between us don’t hinder, but nurture
This growing love growing deeper with each thought and deed
As if geared tomorrow, its hopes and its sorrows.
Together we two will be united as one.

Anne than placed the rock between the tree and a termite mound which as we stepped back appeared to be shaped like an M we were taken aback at this final thought as we departed for Olifants.

An emotional moment of reflection that Margaret’s journey in South Africa was complete.

We made our way to Balule for our overnight camp, pitched tents and had pasta with beef stew for dinner with our headlights on. The wind got up and Stan thought we may have a storm. Storm it certainly was from around 10pm till about 11-15pm it raged, lightning making virtual daylight and overhead we had two tremendous thunder claps that shook the ground. I had closed my vent flaps in my eerie on top of the land rover but Anne and Stan’s tent had not been closed down because of the heat so Stan was up whilst the storm raged to close up.




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