With all the shenanigans going on in Parliament and the gravity of the stuff we see on CNN every day, it seems the world is focusing on the wrong transmissions. As serious as those events were in their day, there is relief in the passages of story-teller extraordinaire, David Rattray, whose accounts of the battles that wracked our region for most of the 19th century, are a magnet to thousands of international visitors to this day. You’ve often heard us banging on about the agricultural virtues of the land we live on, and these wars were not about religion, politics, finance or technology, but about ownership of some of the best dirt on earth.
Attendees at our Winter School in July will recall the riveting address of Darley Australia’s Barley Ward-Thomas; he, his wife Sally and family took to South Africa like a gaggle of “gyppo” geese to the water. Herewith an extract from a script just arrived.
“It seems that South Africa has followed us around since our departure. We had friends to stay up at the farm (my brother’s wife’s father and mother). As it turned out, this chap’s father was the British High Commissioner of South Africa between 1944 and 1951. His son Charles (our friend) spent much of his early life there and had many amazing tales of travel in the Southern part of Africa. He had just finished reading his mothers letters from that time. They told of adventures including crossing the Okavango.
I sometimes have David Rattray’s ‘Day Of The Dead Moon’ playing in the car. The children are now taking on personalities from his incredible narrative. Needless to say, none of them want to be Lord Chelmsford. Anna likes to be referred to as ‘Queen Mantatisi’, whereas Monty insists on Cetshwayo.
It is obvious that our time with you and our experiences in South Africa have remained very much with us."