Old Friends and Ancestors

We left Kromme River in good shape to head for River Roost, Buccaneer’s Backpackers Lodge and The Haven. The travelling was not without incident. Poor Maxine was horribly car sick and of course everything within range was affected… Then we had to take a dirt road deviation and Ruth’s very brave little car started to make an unpleasant clunking noise. We have had to order a new engine mounting which will be fitted in Mthatha.
River Roost was a wonderful experience on several levels. My reunion with Meshack Masuku of Faragher’s Pottery Swaziland was extraordinarily moving – more of him and Lusiba ceramics later – and River Roost itself is a fantastically restful, wholesome spot, highly recommended. I am ready to supply contact details to anyone looking for a fabulous breakaway far enough away and close enough! They have a website and I cannot recommend them highly enough.
Meshack came to Faragher’s Pottery as an uneducated schoolboy in the early days of our building of the pottery in Mbabane. He remained with us and became a highly skilled potter. He moved on after we left, married and had a large family. He pursued his dream to become educated and finished up teaching ceramics at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. After an appalling family tragedy he left teaching and it sounds as if he spent some time in the wilderness before fetching up at Kenton on Sea and River Roost where he and Simon Oliver work hand in hand to impart skills, work ethics and solid values to young people from the Kenton township who had shown signs of losing themselves.
He is building up a pottery studio with his son and daughter-in-law and a handful of trainees who also go to school and form part of a band of young people who do community development work as well. It had been 30 years since I last saw Meshack and so much of his persona is the same he is the same witty, loquacious, insightful wonderful human I had last seen 35 years ago. Joe had kept in touch with him and he was around to support the girls in the times of Joe’s last illness. He and his group presented each of us with mugs inscribed with our names and beautifully decorated. His skills have increased and developed and it was amazing for me to see our legacy and ambition being lived out in Meshack and the Oliver’s projects. It does happen to me from time to time that I feel that my life in South Africa was not wasted and that somewhere along the line I did make a difference.
Then on to another emotional reunion – with my friend Anne Price of Buccaneer’s Backpacker’s Lodge at Cintsa West. Here too peace, beauty, care for the land and strong human values are lived out in the Price family’s backpacker lodge. Anne and I were at school and have kept in touch over the years… we have been friends for 50 years. We bounce each other’s ideas around the park a lot and always spark and suggest and inspire, whatever the topic, SA politics, education, family politics, love, sex and religion… conversation goes on and on and this time it was more intense than ever – Anne suffers from emphysema and is permanently attached to an oxygen supply. This constrains her movements to some extent but she is incredibly sanguine about it… just says that she was always a sedentary sort of person anyway.
We are all starting to creak a bit – our mutual friend Rain Battiss is also much stiffer than she used to be. But it is interesting that not one of us has changed radically since our first meeting in 1960. Ann-Marie (Kromme) and Rain are still both tall and elegant, Anne and I are both still a bit tomboyish in our approach …
We travelled over what must be one of the worst roads in Africa to get to The Haven. It is another emotional experience to be here. My parents celebrated their honeymoon here, I celebrated my 4th birthday here and my father’s ashes are in the sea off the beach here. It was his favourite fishing spot and indeed was the last spot he fished at. The staff here love this business of us being around the ancestors… and of course also love the children’s Xhosa names.
I find myself being tearful a lot lately – all so close to the bone. Driving here in the rain and wind and through the potholes and being greeted and occasionally abused by school children on the side of the road all the way from Butterworth, through Viedgesville, Mqanduli and Elliotdale, we took the long way round to get the least dirt road(!) there were children, and animals next to the road the whole way. It is exactly as I remembered it except that there is more tar, the houses mostly look better, better built and more sophisticated and of course many many more of them.
This is a long post and I apologise but my cup runneth over and will flood when the weather changes and we can go to the beach properly! We walked today but were driven off the beach into the dunes which was a lucky thing as I was able to photograph a selection of lovely little spring flowers. I have never seen such a variety on the dunes anywhere, amazing what a bit of rain does. The Picasa link will explain much… Again there are rather a lot of pics but you can skim and skip and look at what grabs you…


About retrocentricaussie

We are a pair of ageing 'gypsies' who find junk and sell antiques, especially objects from the art nouveau/art deco years and old and well-loved tools. We also occasionally buy antiques as well!! We haunt clearance sales, garage sales, charity shops and sometimes dumps. Lately we have even been to a 'proper' auction. The thrill is in the chase for good stuff at prices we can afford and still sell the items on at a profit sufficient to support us. We recycle what other people don't want anymore, we find new homes for nice things. We sell at markets and antique fairs, swap meets and wherever else we can find. Our clientele are mostly ordinary people who want something they can afford that will enhance their quality of life. We are especially pleased when generation Y buy from us. It suggests that appreciation of quality and good design is still part of our modern aesthetic.
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