Saturday, 28 October 2017

Snake Lily

In our old place along the banks of the Jukskei River in Lanseria, the glorious Paintbrush lily used to come up everywhere through our lawn about this time. The toxic Scadoxus puniceus as they are known in botany speak, are very beautiful, and since we moved up into the hills I am very surprised to find this pair high up on the cliff face overlooking the entrance of the kloof. Looking the lily up on the internet, I found that they normally grow in cool, shady habitats such as ravines and forests.

It is an overcast cold day which confused me as it is well into summer, but the cooler weather helped in the trek into the kloof to fetch holy water. Not me, my maid, Lezzie, wanted to go down and collect the holy water but was afraid of the Mamlambo, the goddess of the rivers who dwells down in the plunge pool of the small waterfall below us. For me it was an excuse to check up on the sewerage pipes. What I didn’t expect to find was the Paintbrush lily. The Mamlambo African deity is a snake mermaid like creature which can take many forms. Interesting the Paintbrush lily is also called the Snake lily.

I waited on a rock, while Lizzie, crept into the hole which was one of the sources of the stream to collect holy water. I must have being a sight, as many pilgrims were very afraid of me, as it is known that the Mamlambo takes many forms, and a white man sitting on a rock outside the source of holy water, beckoning them to come closer didn’t help at all. One lady started singing a hymn on top of her voice as she looked away while she quickly walked past. All the time Lizzie still in the hole, hearing this, started laughing.

I tried to introduce myself as the Prophet Jerome but that didn’t help one iota.

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