The Ham and trimmings are ready to be done or maybe it will be Duck this year? We’ll see!!

On Monday my husband and I took a trip to Mafikeng, the place I was born in many years ago. I had not been there for about 15 years and it was truly a shock to see this town of my birth. It has grown out of all proportions and there are still many landmarks that brought back memories but the most disturbing thing was that it is honestly the filthiest town I have ever been into.

We went to the cemetery where both my Mother and Father’s parents are buried together with my brother Graham. This was as depressing as no one looks after it and many of the tombstones have been vandalised. The surrounding walls have all been broken down and there are mounds of plastic bags, weeds and general debris all over the place. The plan was to put my Mother and my Brother’s ashes on my Dad’s grave. I am now thinking of putting their ashes in the ‘Garden of Remembrance’ in St. John’s Anglican church where we were married and our sons christened. My parents, especially my father played a very big part in this church and my grandmother was in the choir for many years. The architect Sir Herbert Baker designed this church in the mid 19th century.

We saw the Mafikeng town hall which is now a museum. Our wedding was the last reception or celebration in this hall before it became a museum and it still looks as gracious as it always was. There is now a beautiful steam train in front of the Hall but much of the brass work has been stolen by vandals so the trimmings have been removed to be protected. My Father started life on the railways before he started his own business. He was an electrician by trade and put the first lights in Francistown Botswana.

My Mother was the chief town councillor secretary and was an interpreter in the courts for the Tswana people. She grew up on a farm in the Setlagoli area and spoke fluent Tswana until she died in August this year.

I found the house that I was born in (Shippard Street) but it looked so tiny and hidden behind high walls. I saw the beautiful convent where I spent my first 2 years of schooling. This is an amazing Victorian building which has been maintained and still looks imposing and impressive. Saw the school that I went to until Std 5 when I went to boarding school in Potchefstroom (convent). Went down the street where the houses of our friends were still the same – where the Finchams, Bundy’s, Prince’s and Dick’s lived.

Then we went to the house that I spent the rest of my childhood Tillard Street and although the house is still the same, there is now another high wall. No one had walls in our days, there were just fences as everyone was so proud of their gardens and especially my parents. There were only two private swimming pools in town and one of them was ours.

I accept chance but find it hard to accept that the town is so mismanaged and dirty. If only they could see that this town has so much history (Baden Powell and the Siege) that would attract tourists. Who knows … maybe the next time I visit, things will have changed. Who knows, maybe the DA will still have a chance to turn things around.