In our country writing about any of our heroes whether they be black or white is prone to intense debate. My personal belief is that all heroes of all countries should be honoured whether they be South African, white, black, American, German, Vietnamese, Jewish or British, whatever. Those that put their lives at risk or have given their lives deserve recognition. Whether we agree with their motives and beliefs is neither here nor there. I am not justifying their cause neither their acts, just the man.

On to De la Rey – as my grandfather had left letters mentioning commando trips with De la Rey I felt obliged to pay him a visit. I had the opportunity of visiting his well-known grave site in Lichtenburg this week. He is easy to Google so no need to re-tell his legendary deeds here.

Walking around an old graveyard like this is humbling, to say the least, it makes one contemplate many things. One realises the great strides the medical industry has made. I wondered what Koos would be thinking if he were here right now with the turmoil before the elections. How so much has changed, but still the finality of death remains the same. The earth, no matter how bad we treat it, in the end, takes back everything, even marble and slate. We are not alone in having many mountains to face. We should honour all who have gone before us to make the world as we know it a better place. We should better look after our graveyards in this country. We should get off our phones and spend more time outdoors in quiet places like this. We should honour our heroes and bury our grudges. We should take hands as the Rainbow Nation we’re supposed to be and rather fight pollution than each other.

Thank you De la Rey for all you have done for South Africa, and thank you for spending some time with me on a quiet rainy day in Africa …



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