Mad About Grave­yards

South African Country Life - - Your Letters - Marie du Plooy, via email

Grave­yards are a gem of­ten over­looked.

Not fre­quently vis­ited, many aban­doned ceme­ter­ies tend to at­tract their own kind of strange vis­i­tors. Sadly, some ceme­ter­ies are seen as cen­tres of filth and van­dal­ism, of­ten lead­ing to le­git­i­mate safety con­cerns. How­ever, I love vis­it­ing ceme­ter­ies. There are so many beau­ti­ful stat­ues, and also peace and per­pet­ual quiet­ness.

We had a ceme­tery on our farm with sev­eral graves. Most in­scrip­tions had

com­pletely eroded. One grave­stone was ex­tra­or­di­nary be­cause the name ‘Ja­cob Ja­cobus Wiehman Ges 14 Jan 1876 Old 14

J 4 M’, which was deeply carved, is the only one still leg­i­ble. My fa­ther told me it was the hand­i­work of the child’s heart­bro­ken mother. To him, it was sym­bolic of how real and deep a mother’s love stretches.

On my re­cent visit to the farm, I re­turned to the ceme­tery. The in­scrip­tions on all the tomb­stones were al­ready gone ex­cept for the en­grav­ings on this child’s grave. To me it was al­most un­think­able that the weather had been un­able to erad­i­cate the in­scrip­tion af­ter 140 years.

Thanks for be­ing more than just another travel magazine, but a pub­li­ca­tion that in­spires read­ers. (edited)

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