South Africa is not an easy country to live in. The challenges are enormous, ranging from the ever present threat of crime, to rising cost of living due to the drought, to our desperate water shortage here in the Western Cape.
So I am delighted to share a heart-warming story from the tiny town of Phalaborwa, situated in Limpopo Province. Phalaborwa is small – population approx 13 500 , close to the famous Kruger National Park . It’s bushveld terrain. Hot, dry, and thorny.
My sister and her husband recently drove up there to attend her father-in-law’s funeral and help her mother-in-law sort out the paperwork and business affairs that are the inevitable result of a death. . Her in-laws have lived in Phalaborwa for over 30 years. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phalaborwa
Oom* Koos was old, well into his eighties. I never met the man, but always relish the story of how he opened up his garage early one morning, and was literally bowled over by a leopard charging out, desperate to get back to the bush! A true Bushveld story. How or why the leopard spent the night in Oom Koos’ garage, I don’t know. But you get the picture.
My sister told me that the town was unbelievably supportive of the newly widowed woman. Apparently her car needed fixing urgently, and the local garage repaired it, but refused to charge her, saying “repairs were on the house”.
Likewise, when my sister and Mrs Fourie went to the local SPAR to order plates of sandwiches and snacks for the after-funeral tea, there was the same generosity. “No charge”. Let me be clear – the family did not in any ways ask for discount or assistance, this was the spontaneous response from the SPAR Manager. “No charge – it’s on the house”.
During the week that my sister was in Phalaborwa, she told me that neighbours arrived daily, with cooked meals, forfour people, three times a day! Not just the next-door neighbour, but different women on a daily basis.
Now that’s true, old fashioned neighbourliness. Wonderful to discover that generosity and kindness are alive and well in the far North of South Africa! Finally some good news. Let’s all celebrate the notion of neighbourliness, sharing and kindness. Our country needs it.
*Oom – respectful title bestowed on older men . Afrikaans origin