Freedom in the Drakensberg

Spears lean against Ukhahlamba's walls

Pointing above the buttresses and parapets

Of a million sandstone years

As the manly warrior of the battlements

Watches the wedded hikers ambling happily below.


Another twelve apostles stand guardian

Of the roof of Africa, cradling our beginnings

Walled into the mountain kingdom

Undiscovered, unconquered, unsubdued,

Where liberty reigns eternal.


And the freedom flows with the compass,

Riverine valleys carrying it forward

Through the slopes of the mountains

Declared by the world its heritage

Tempting all to sensual pleasures.


But the apostles guard a faith

That Sinai's centuries have revered

And nations have received

Mystified by the paradox

That obedience liberates to the ecstasties below.


Place your stone on the isivane

Celebrating the joy of creation's making

In this carefree Sunday walk

Sweltering along the plateaus

Dripping the sweat of freedom.


And the hikers below glance wistfully upwards

Waving their thanks to the manly warrior

Smiling at their new-found freedom

Which he made possible

In the year of the mountains.


Clouds gather over the Drakensberg

Moisture of India's ocean

Drawn back to its source

Temporarily enveloping the manly warrior

Still searching for further freedom.


But the storm passes and the clouds clear

And the bright sun glistens the spears

Unused, unmoved, unspoiled.

So the warrior leaps down the boulders

Joining the hikers, gladdened to share their freedom.


February 2002

Sani Pass


In appreciation to Andre - the manly warrior who made our 2002 holiday to South Africa possible!




Ukhahlmaba - the Zulu name for the Drakensberg - meaning - barrier. They see the peaks as spears set against the barrier.


Twelve apostles - the range of the escarpment east of Sani Pass.


The mountain kingdom - Lesotho - surrounded by RSA, but never occupied by it!


Isivivane - a cairn of stones placed for various reasons - symbolising the presence of God, just for good luck, or as a marker for herdsmen