Monthly Archives: August 2015

The Diary (#5)

Credit: multiverses.wikia.com

Credit: multiverses.wikia.com

I had a dream last night. A very vivid one, the details of which remain imprinted on my mind as if I had lived through every moment of it.

I felt that I was a spectator of the first moment of time. Initially there was only darkness, but then a spectacular array of light – green, yellow, blue, red – exploded and millions and millions  fragments of light scattered into the darkness. One of these fragments enlarged and became the Earth, And then it, in turn, exploded and formed many Earths. I couldn’t count them, but they sort of drifted away from each other before merging again.

Well, ‘merging’ isn’t the right word. Those worlds came together, but stayed apart. I don’t know how to explain it… It was like a herd of Springboks – while they move as one, graze together and basically act as a single group, they still remain individuals forming a larger whole. Something like that happened when the different Earths came together. There were many different Earths, but they formed one single entity. And then the dream drew me closer and I was standing on Kubu Island. In  my dream I looked out at the salt pan, and it ceased to be a barren place: it became a sea….a sea of faces, and all of them were mine. 

I couldn’t understand, so I asked the sea why all the faces were me? And then the different faces – all of them me – they all answered…and the answers were different for every face.

When I woke up, I was covered in sweat. I felt more confused than ever. And then I remembered the three Kubu Islands the old man drew in the sand. And it clicked.

We live on Earth. Our Earth. But out there, or in here, there are many other Earths. And each of them are made up of everybody and anybody that lives or ever lived. On this Earth, I am me. On the other Earths, there are many more of me. It doesn’t make sense, does it? But like there are many Kubus, there are many Earths and each Earth has a me, and everybody else.

The reason, I realised, why the old man wiped out Kubu in one of his drawings, is that things are different on the different Earths. Why? Obviously Nature is a relatively constant phenomenon. Weather patterns follow an unwritten set of rules. The Earth’s crust is subjected to changes which have scientific bases. So the way the Earth develops, is maybe similar on all the Earths.

But people, now… There are no rules for people, are there? Even small decisions or seemingly insignificant discoveries may change the world a lot. If, for instance, antibiotics had been discovered a hundred years before that doctor did tests on the piece of rotting bread, then thousands – if not millions – of people would have lived longer and contributed to society’s progress or downfall. What would have happened if Hitler lived in the 1700’s? Or if Lincoln died as a baby?

Sooo…if there are more than one Earth, there’d be as many histories as there are human whims…

Despite the terrible fatigue, I called the old man over. I drew his pictures in the sand, wiped out one, and nodded to show him I understand. He smiled. Then he redrew the Kubu I wiped out and pointed at me. He proceeded to take the little bag of herbs from his quiver, looked at me in a questioning way and spoke at length. Of course I couldn’t understand. He took to his drawings again, and sketched two stick-men in the sand. He pointed at them and pointed at the two of us. Yes, I got that: the two men on the sand represented the two of us. He drew the herb’s bag, then made the one stick-man hand it to the other. He then wiped out one, leaving a solitary stick-man in the sand. He pointed at this one, then pointed at himself.

I felt strange at that point. Strange and tired and excited all at once. The old man wanted me to take the last dose of herbs, but obviously something will happen to me. This time, his drawing was telling me, I wasn’t coming back. Why would I do that? 

Right then, the young woman joined us on the sand. Her eyes were bright and she spoke in an excited tone with the old man. His replies were calm and soothing, but he obviously agreed to something she asked. Without another word, she led me to their shelter. 

***

multiverse2“Gosh!” Gertruida takes a deep breath. “This is about parallel universes, the multiverse and other dimensions. Even time travel. Most astounding, I’d say.”

“Most deranged, I you asked me.” Vetfaan slugged back some peach brandy. “Mad people can be very convincing, you know? And they experience stuff – completely irrational stuff – as real. They sort of create their own reality and will be so convinced about it, that they’d be absolutely sure the rest of the world is crazy for not believing it. I don’t for one moment think he was normal when he wrote this.”

Gertruida puts on a Mona Lisa smile when she lays the diary on the counter. “Maybe you’re right, Vetfaan. But you remember how this diary was found, don’t you?”

“Of course. Some warden found it.”

“So we were told by the man that brought the diary here. So, I checked.” Her lips now form a thin, straight line. “There are no wardens at Kubu, Vetfaan. Only a type of overseer-caretaker from the local community. and he knows absolutely nothing about a book being found there.”

“But the guy who brought the book?”

“Yes. Him. The chap who initialled the receipt J.V. Oldish guy, grey hair, weatherbeaten face. With the same initials as Jakobus Visagie, known as Koos or, otherwise, Spook…”

“Oh, hogwash, Gertruida! You think it was Spook, himself? Not even a fertile brain such as yours can explain why he brought it to us, then!”

“If I’m right, Vetfaan, it’ll be in the diary. And then you’ll owe me an apology.” With a withering glance at Vetfaan , she silenced the burly farmer before taking up the book again.

(To be continued….)

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The Diary (#4)

a1_edited-1“You know,” Gertruida says before reading any further, “this reminds me ever so much of the hypothesis of Interdimensional Realities. A lot of people dismiss this as hogwash, and maybe they’re right, but what  if it is really possible to travel to another dimension, or another parallel reality? I mean that would fit in nicely with Spook’s story.”

“Oh, come on, Gertruida! You really believe in parallel universes and such nonsense? If I told Oudoom what you just said, he’d make you mow the grass in front of the church for a year!”

“Hee hee.” Kleinpiet giggles as he nudges Vetfaan. “He wouldn’t dare! She’d smoke it…”

Gertruida goes harrumph! and starts reading again. 

***

I sat staring at the old man’s sand-pictures for a long time, trying to understand what he tried to tell me. Three pictures of Kubu Island – one as it is now, one wiped out and one more that wasn’t erased. What did it mean?

The old man returned after a while, carrying three pebbles. He placed them on the sand in front of me, sat down, and stared at them – occasionally looking up to see that I, too, was looking at the small stones. Then he pointed at the island, pointed at one stone, and grunted. Yes, I got it: the pebble was Kubu. He next took the second pebble, ground it into the sand with his thumb, pointed at Kubu and shook his head, looking extremely sad.. 

Okay…that means no more Kubu…I think.

1.1311548951.1_san-bushmen1The third pebble remained. The old man pointed at it, got up and made a small mound of earth a small distance off. Next, he fetched a smouldering piece of wood from the fire and placed it between the pebble and the mound. He walked some distance off, lay down flat on his stomach, and crept up to the mound. He seemed to be stalking, leopard-crawl style. At the mound, he slowly lifted his head to peek over the heaped sand at the pebble beyond the smoky log. Then he pointed at the pebble, laughed, got up and did a little happy-dance.

What? Kubu still there, but beyond the smoke? Why would that make him happy? What was he telling me? I shook my head and the old man stopped dancing. He was clearly frustrated that I couldn’t understand what he was telling me. He walked off, joined the other two, where they sat down in a huddle, talking softly.

The seemed to agree on something when they got up to approach me once more. The woman held up two fingers and pointed to the small skin bag that held the fire-herbs. Right, I got that. They have two more doses of the stuff. Two more….travels into the unknown? I nodded.

And so I sat down next to the fire again as they draped the karos over me and waited for the herbs to take effect.

***

“I get it!” Gertruida exclaims and stops reading. “The old man was telling Spook about three realities…”

“I’m getting something stronger,” Vetfaan says as he gets up. “Being sober doesn’t work with this story.”

“Oh shush, Vetfaan! This is getting to be hugely fascinating. Look, he describes the same sequence in the beginning and then he goes on…”.

***

This time was different. This journey was neither to the past nor the future. I simply drifted off into a big, black void towards a pinprick of light. After what seemed a very long time but maybe was only a few moments, the light started getting stronger, bigger and more compelling. The darkness disappeared and the brilliant light enveloped me completely. I think the light became part of me. I might have become the light…

Then, I saw a figure approaching. The figure drew near. The figure was…me!

“You have the power,” the figure-me told the real-me. “And you must use it. If you do, things will change.”

I stood there, completely flummoxed. 

“You won’t understand, but you must trust. Trust is the one thing that mankind lost completely. Without trust, you cannot love. And without love, the earth is doomed.”

I stared at myself, trying to make sense of it all. “Why me?” I asked.

“Because you arrived at the right time, the right place. It was all planned this way. In fact, you have no choice.”

“But what,” I  asked the figure-me, “is it that I must do?”

“You have to go back. Right to the beginning. Start over. Save Kubu.”

And with that, the figure-me receded into the light (my light?) and disappeared. I felt myself being drawn back into the dark void, returning to where I was sitting next to the fire.

And when I woke up, eventually, I was so exhausted that the efforts of the family to feed me were in vain. I knew then that I was going to die…or something…

***

“What a load of bulldust!” Vetfaan fetches the peach brandy and pours a stiff one.

Gertruida shrugs. Either they are on the verge of something so extraordinary that it defies normal thinking…or Vetfaan is right. She turns the page.

The Diary (#3)

A2_1_28_02040-1024x645Gertruida scans the next few pages.

“He goes on and on to describe the way he felt tremendously tired after his experience, and how the Bushman family cared for him, He also mentions a strange excitement – a type of yearning to relive that incident. By this time he seems to have worked out a basic way of communicating -not only through gestures and facial expressions, but  even to the point that the four of them started sharing words. It seems as if the logical thing happened: you point at a bow or a tree, repeat the correct word or term over and over, until it gets repeated by the listener. He gives a list of words here with their meanings. I won’t even try to pronounce them.

“Oh yes…and here he goes on…”

****

I lost track of time. How long have I been here? I tried to understand their way of thinking about time, but they don’t seem to have any inkling of the concept. They’ll refer to ‘tomorrow’ or next week in the same way. Similarly, the past seems to be the past – whether it’s yesterday or the last time it rained. Also, counting isn’t something they really do, except: one, two, many. Anything more than two, is ‘many’.

At first I thought them to be dumb, but the more I observe them, the more I understand the way the do things. The most important moment in their lives, is here and now. They don’t dwell on the past, neither do they care about tomorrow. The present is their only reality.

Of course I don’t understand them properly – their language is far too complicated. But every night, the old man tells them things. I think it’s stories, but some of his talks certainly refer to me. The other two then listen with rapt attention, occasionally staring at me in wonder (of shock, or awe…I’m not quite sure which).

***

They draped me in the karos again last night. I’m so tired now, I can hardly concentrate – but, being afraid I’d forget the details, I’m forcing myself to pen down what had happened.

The initial sequence of my dream-journey (for the lack of a better word) was  similar to the first experience I had. This time, however, my impression was that I travelled to some time in the future. Or maybe it was a nightmare, I don’t know. While I was elevated above the Earth, I saw what I can only describe as a sequence of devastation. I saw smoke, people fleeing, dwellings burnt. There were armies of people at war with others. More terrifying, I saw the desert growing larger and larger, destroying life in the process. Rivers dried up. I heard strange sounds, huge booming sounds, that shook the Earth.

“What is this?” I asked, terror-stricken.

“The end,” I heard my own voice answering. “Mankind is destroying itself. In this future there is no future.”

“But…” I tried to make sense out of it all.

“Don’t interrupt. Look.” I answered myself.

And I did. Then it dawned on me that the fighting was not because people hated each other. I saw a man with strange eyes – almost Mongolian in appearance – at the back of the fighting columns. This man  was providing food to several armies of men. He stood next to a huge ship, directing the off-loading of all kinds of weaponry – most of which I’ve never seen before.

“Who is that?” I asked.

“He comes from the East,” my voice said. “He will take everything and leave nothing. He is clever and will make people destroy themselves completely before building his many houses on the plains. When he has taken what he needs, he will leave only the desert behind. Nobody will be able to stop him.”

I looked, and the scene unfolded as my voice had described. I felt tremendously sad and overwhelmed.

“Why…?”

“That’s why you are here. To observe. To learn. You have work to do.”

And then, suddenly, I was transported back to the fire.

***

Time… How long is it after my second trip? I must have slept for days – it definitely feels like it. I’m weaker than ever, but the broth the woman makes certainly helps. I am slowly recovering and feeling stronger.

I tried to talk with them about my journeys, but the visions were so complicated, I can hardly convey the basic outlines of what I had experienced. The old man has taken to sit with me fo long periods of time, drawing pictures in the sand. This morning he made me gasp.

kubu-islandFirst, he drew – rather accurately – the outline of Kubu.  He pointed at it, then at us. Next he drew the same outline, looked at me with tremendous sadness in  his eyes, and slowly erased the picture by wiping the sand smooth with his withered hand. Lastly, he drew the picture again, pointed at me, and walked away, leaving the picture to haunt me.. 

I didn’t understand. Not then. Only later.

***

“I still think he was delusional.” Vetfaan downs his beer, smacking his lips before continuing. “I mean, this story is too far-fetched to be real. Meeting stray Bushmen, travelling into the future and the past, and now strange drawings in the sand. Of course he didn’t understand. He wasn’t thinking straight at all. Poor bugger…”

“Ah, Vetfaan. Ye of small faith…” Gertruida turns the page before placing the book on the counter. “I think his descriptions are far too detailed to be mere figments of imagination. This man had an exceptional experience, and we shouldn’t discard his visions out of hand. Remember, this was 1965, fifty years ago. How could he have known about what’s happening in Africa today? That description of the man at the ship sent shivers down my spine.

“No, there’s something here. Spook, I tell you, did indeed travel to other times. Or had a prophetic vision. Or something. Maybe he skipped through other dimensions.

“Be that as it may, I think this story is far from finished. We’ll just have to read the rest.”

Little do the group at the bar know how well Gertruida summed up the situation. Boggel serves another round when she picks up the book again…

And days pass like this
Me, growing desperate
And you, you answering
Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps

Everytime I ask you
That when, how and where
You always reply me
Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps

The Diary (#2)

Sowa (Sua) Pan, Makgadikgadi

Sowa (Sua) Pan, Makgadikgadi, the last remnant of the superlake that once covered Botswana.

“My gosh!” Gertruida takes off her reading glasses to stare at the ceiling. “He’s had an out of body experience!”

“What? They took him to the abattoir?”

She glances at Vetfaan, sees the twinkle in his eyes and ignores him. “Let me read to you what he says here…”

***

The feeling I got was completely foreign to me. I’ve never used drugs or anything like that, so maybe it was just the smoking herbs on the embers. However, while a second before I still felt embarrassed and shy, I suddenly found myself relaxing. The night’s sounds faded away. The glowing coals of the fire seemed to enlarge and envelop me with a peculiar warmth – a sensation so comforting and relaxing that even the faces surrounding me disappeared.

Then, slowly, a new face stared at me. It took a second to realise it was me, looking at me. This didn’t bother me at all – in fact, it felt like the most natural thing ever. I could see myself smiling. Then I opened my mouth and spoke to myself.

“You are here for a specific reason, Koos. And these wonderful people saved you, because that’s the way it had to be. They have an important message for you.”

“What,” I asked myself?

“Listen to them….”

The face disappeared. The next thing I knew, was that I looked down at myself, sitting there under the karos next to the fire. Once again, this didn’t cause any problem – it simply felt…right. I went higher and higher up in the sky until I could look down on Earth. It was beautiful, peaceful. I saw seasons change, animals migrate, rivers flow. Somehow I realised I was looking into the past – until eventually the desert changed into a sea. I saw boats on the waters and an island where a harbour bustled with activity.

‘This is what was,’ I heard a voice say – it could have been my own. It sounded like me, anyway.

9[PHO]AMy view became sharper, clearer, as I neared the island. I could see men in long, purple robes strutting about. There were slaves attending the boats, while others patrolled the beach around it, armed with bows and arrows. Off to one side I saw a tented town, where women in white garments prepared meals and looked after children.

“This was the stronghold of Kubu. These men and women came from far away, worked hard and supplied the Kingdom,” my voice said. I sounded calm and in control.

“Which kingdom,” I asked.

My voice sounded tired when it answered. “It is far away. It no longer exists.”

“But why,” I eventually asked, “am I here?”

“To see, to observe, to learn.”

“What?” I asked.

“To know what you have to know.”

Suddenly I was elevated again to a high spot, from where I once again saw the Earth change. The sea disappeared and the desert formed. Seasons changed. 

And I woke up – or whatever one can call it – in the smoky haze next to my fire with my saviours staring at me.

***

“Man, he went on a proper trip, that guy. Shew! Drugged beyond recognition, I’ll say!” Vetfaan laughs at the idea. “I’d love Boggel to start serving that stuff!”

Tsodilo

Bushman geometric pattern, Tsodilo Hills.

“The herbs certainly had something to do with it, I’m sure. The old San shamans used herbs to put them in a trance. That’s the explanation for many of their weird paintings, according toe researchers. Those geometric patterns are similar to the ones the Incas did, as well. You get the same patterns repeated in Europe, Egypt and wherever ancient witchdoctors understood trance-like states.

“But then you get strange things, as well, like the whale at Tsodilo Hills – where no known sea existed.” Gertruida thinks for a moment before adding, “Except for Spook’s inland sea where only the salt plains remains – the Makgadikgadi Superlake, of course.”

“Yeah, right!” Vetfaan snorts and signals for a new round. “He was whacked out of his little mind, I tell you. Dehydration and disorientation does that. Add to that the death of his nephew and the obsession to find out what really had happened to cause the suicide, and you have the perfect example of stress aggravating a post-traumatic disorder. Spook had a post-suggestion hallucination, that’s all.”

“I don’t think so,” Gertruida says haughtily, “not if you read the rest of the diary, anyway. Something very, very unusual happened to Spook. And I’m not at all sure you’re going to understand half of it, Vetfaan. Listen…”

(To be continued…)

The Diary

kubu-island-2[6] The questions surrounding the disappearance of Spook Visagie would not have been spoken about in such hushed tones, had the diary not been found. The problem is that the group in Boggel’s Place is still not sure whether it is a hoax or the real thing. Still – it had been found  amongst the rocks on Kubu Island and it might just add to the mystery.

***

The Diary – a plain, hard cover exercise book – was found , wrapped in Eland skin – on the 5th May, 2015 by a warden in the newly-established Kubu Reserve. This, Gertruida says, is significant: it is exactly fifty years since Spook disappeared. The same day and month appears in the police report . She also says that the Bushman’s legends often contain elements of periodicity – like the bearded man that appears every so many years. According to Gertruida, it is not unusual in African mythology to find events recurring over and over again – just like the diary suggests.

***

The first part of the diary contains what can be described as a travelogue. Nothing special. Crossing the border at Van Zylsrus. travelling to Gaborone, describing the condition of the road, etc. He camped at Letlhakane and drove on to Kubu, where he hoped to camp for a day or two before striking out towards Gweta. He wrote briefly about the break-down, the desperate hope that somebody would find him and how he tried – unsuccessfully, to make his water supply last until help arrived. His handwriting at that stage is almost illegible.

Then, a blank page.

Then…

***

I find myself in the most extraordinary circumstances. In fact, I doubt whether I’ll be able to put into writing what I have experienced. Let me try…

When I came to, I had no idea where I was. In fact, I thought I was dead.The experience of ‘letting go’ and finding myself in a place of complete peace was just too magnifi fantas – well, it certainly defies putting it into words. I’ll need to spend a lot of time with that experience to  make some sort of sense out of it. Maybe I’ll return to that later, but first I must say something about my saviours.

AN01156698_001_lThere are three of them: an old man (very old) and what I take to be his son and his wife. Understanding them is out of the question – their words are formed by a series of clicks that is completely foreign to my ears. They are, however, very friendly and and kind – I owe them my life. They don’t have much, but what they have, they share with me. I’ve eaten  roots, chewed twigs and had some cooked meat (?rabbit). The younger man seems to know where to find water – he disappears from time to time, returning with a gourd-like sack filled with water. I think the sack is the skin of a steenbok or something. 

402-1I’ve read about Kubu, of course. A lot. Especially after reading Laurens van der Posts’s book, The Lost World of the Kalahari, I had to come see for myself – not the area where he visited, of course. That was too far north. But he said two things that made my blood run cold.

First of all, he describes an unnamed hitchhiker outside the town of Maun. This is, as we all know, not an unknown phenomenon in Africa. But then he mentions the tragedy of the man committing suicide in Harry Riley’s hotel the following evening.

How many young men did that? Ending their lives in Riley’s Hotel? The only one I knew about, was my nephew, Christiaan – Chris for short. In our family, Chris’ name is seldom mentioned, simply because his death was so unexplained. He was an adventurer, a free soul, and wanted to travel Africa from south to north – to write a book about it afterwards.

Then Van der Post continues, stating that this young fellow caused his own death, because he had a relationship with ‘one of the local ladies’ and that she had fallen pregnant. Suddenly it all fell into place. That’s why the family didn’t want to talk about him! And, seeing that Van der Post was on an extended safari to document the lives of the so-called Water Bushmen in the Okavango (people he never really met in the end), the ‘local lady’ in question was probably somebody of Bushman descent…maybe?

That’s why I’m travelling from south to north through the Bechuana Protectorate. To see for myself. Who were these Bushmen. How do they live? And….I had the inexplicable feeling that I might just find more than I sought. It was as if I simply had to heed a call of some sorts. I didn’t understand the compulsion to obey…then.

***

A few pages later:

We’re getting on rather well, my little family and I. They’ve taken me back to the vehicle to salvage some of the supplies (very excited about Bully Beef – they savour it like the best delicatesse ever!) and I ascertained that the engine had ceased completely. No way out on that vehicle!

The old man is trying hard to tell me something. He’d sit on his haunches at the fire, look me in the eye, and speak to me in the most earnest way. The multitude of clicks would have been funny if he didn’t seem so terribly serious. He tell me  (I think) the same story over and over again, emphasising certain parts while pointing at me. I’m not sure what to make of it. He seems to be telling me something about myself…but what?

***

A strange thing happened last night. The woman brought some herbs to the shelter which caused the old man to clap his hands in joy while obviously praising her. Then, as the sun began to set, they made me stand next to the fire. It was obvious they wanted to do something important. Then the woman started undressing me. I was scared and shy, but the old man held out his hand, palms towards me, making shhh-ing sounds as if placating a baby. What could I do? They’d saved my life, after all.

images (15)Then the woman ‘dusted’ me. I know of no other way to describe it. She had ashes in half an ostrich eggshell, which she proceeded rubbing into my body. In this, she was extremely gentle and avoided the parts of anatomy which could have aggravated my embarrassment. When she was done, the old man draped a karos of springbok skin around me. It was a fine garment of extremely high quality and I wondered about the craftsmanship. It looked old, but well-cared for. What was abundantly clear, however, was that some great honour was being bestowed upon me. Of course I didn’t understand.

That’s when the woman guided me to the downwind side of the fire and made me sit down in the smoke. She proceeded to sprinkle the fetched herbs on the embers.

And that’s when I had the first vision that started to make sense out of the mystery surrounding my circumstances…

(To be continued)

The Ghosts of Kubu Island.

Credit: Lonelyplanet.com

Kubu Island. Credit: Lonelyplanet.com

It’s not true that the group at the bar never talk about ghosts. They do. But when the subject gets raised, they’ll lift their glasses in a silent salute to Spook Visagie, the man at the center of one of the legends Kubu Island. He ‘visited’ the place in in 1965.

Long, long ago, the Makgadikgadi salt pan was a lake. A large one. It collected the waters of the Okavango, Chobe and Zambezi rivers, formed an inland sea and drained into the Orange river. Then the earth’s crust moved, diverting the obj148geo280pg13p28Chobe and the Zambezi eastwards on their present course. Before that, the Makgadikgadi sea provided the early Phoenicians with the route to Zimbabwe and the gold deposits they mined there.  The ‘island’ of Kubu (‘kubu’ meaning : ‘hippopotamus’) used to be a harbour for the fleet of ships carrying the precious cargo. Even today, the remnants of the ruins (resembling the building methods at the Great Zimbabwe Ruins) can still be found on the island. Of course, these ruins are much younger and not a true reflection of the early Phoenicians’ endeavour, but later efforts in the 15th century, most probably by the local population at the time.

Be that as it may, there is a story the locals whisper about around the late-night fires.

breekyster 2010 052aSpook – known by his real name of Koos at the time – happened to be on one of his camping trips back then, when the fanbelt of his vehicle broke. People will later say that it was meant to be, but at the time Koos didn’t think so. With the radiator unable to regulate the engine’s temperature, he was stranded in the overwhelming heat of the salt pans. He could have died there. Some say he did…

The remains of the car – like Spook – is still there if you’re brave enough to go looking for it.

According to the police report, Koos was found about ten days afterwards. One has to be flexible in this. The band of Bushmen who found him, spoke only their original !Kung language – understanding them relied heavily on gestures and sound, rather than interpreting the almost-impossible click-language they used. Gertruida has read the report:

…apparently Mister Koos Visagie was in a severely dehydrated state when he was found. The San people carried him to their shelter and revived him. That’s when they recognised his face.

According to their legends, a white, bearded man once ruled over Kubu Island. It was, they say, a long time ago, when the plains were filled with water and fish abounded. This man, they said, would return every (hundred? thousand?) years to herald a new period of plenty. As far as can be ascertained, the San people communicated this with Mr Visagie. It is unclear whether he understood what they told him.

Apparently Mr Visagie was taken to Kubu Island, where he ‘met the ancestors’ How this happened, was also not fully explained, but a ‘sacred fire’ was made and certain herbs and bushes were involved.  During this process or ceremony, Mr Visagie was said to have started talking in a strange voice with strange words. The San people had never heard anything like it before. Mr Visagie seemed to be conversing with an invisible person(s) in an animated way. 

When the clan woke up the next day, Mr Visagie was gone. No further information was forthcoming from the group. Although an extensive search was carried out afterwards, Mr Visagie remains on the Missing Person’s List.

Comment:  The Investigating Officer’s opinion is that Mr Visagie must have suffered mental damage due to his ordeal. If – as it seems to be the case – he had wandered off into the salt pans, the chances are that his remains will only be found by accident one day. It is suggested that the contents of this file be made known to the nomadic peoples in the area.

***

Now it is important to mention a certain Gavin Lamont. As a prospector of note, he had been exploring an area in the Tuli Block, many hundreds of kilometers to the east of Orapa.. While camping on the banks of the Limpopo River, as strange man arrived on foot. ‘Strange’, because he was dressed in a flowing white coat, a white suit and hat, and wore polished shoes. He did not at all look like a weary traveller.

After inviting the man to stay for the  night, they sat down to a dinner of Impala steaks and wine. Much to Lamont’s surprise, after the meal (which the man hadn’t touched at all) the visitor then went on to tell him that the search of diamonds in Botswana would yield rich rewards. But, he added, the really significant finds would occur at the southern end of the Makgadikgadi salt plains. While Lamont went to his tent to fetch a map, the man simply disappeared. kubu

In 1966, the year after Spook’s disappearance, the fabulously rich deposits at Letlhakane was discovered by Lamont, changing the history of Botswana.

Gertruida says they can stop looking for Spook. He went – according to her – to ‘another dimension’. The Bushmen were right: he heralded another ‘period of plenty’. Boggel always laughs at her when she says this, reminding her that most of the stories they tell in Boggel’s Place tend to be very flexible about the truth.

Still, you never know, do you…?

Danger at the Waterhole

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Inspiration.”

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Early morning. Suddenly the sound of thundering hooves. Water! They need water…

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But wait…. Thirsty as the Wildebeest are, they hesitate at the water’s edge…

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With good reason. They know he’s there…

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And so, thirsty but cautious and patient, they’ll keep their distance. Made later?  The day becomes unbearably hot…will the lion leave?

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I returned at sunset.

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Yes, they did get to the water…at a price…