The Harbour Wall

      19/1/2023       Next-->

I was sitting patiently in a ferry recently and had time to reflect quietly. The ferry was rolling slightly, the water lapping gently, the sun gently warming my reflective mood. My view was the ancient harbour wall, towering over the boat, with a band of blue sky above it.

The harbour wall was handsomely constructed of large megalithic stones - Granite Limestone Beautifully carved as to fit together without mortar, as was done in ancient civilisations gone by.

The base stones, set under water and a few feet above, were obviously built in the cornerstones of an ancient civilisation, but as the wall extended upwards, crumbling mortar appeared, some in parts intact, some in a more dilapidated condition.

The top third of the wall showed signs of wear, mortar missing, some small holes appearing amidst the rigours of the ocean currents and possibly built by later generations. But that wall was obviously indestructible, built by mysterious craftsmen long long ago, built to stand the test of time.

Beautiful grasses were growing valiantly through the cracks. Some with cattails, some miniaturised pampas grasses, some foxtails and cordgrasses. Here and there a triumphant weed showed through, cocky and exuberant, waving triumphantly in the sea breeze. Moss eased its way confidently across and around the rocks, gluing it all together.

Dreamily I grew dramatic and lyrical, likening the wall to my home country Zimbabwe. The wall was our life story. At the base of the harbour wall, the large carefully hewn rocks faultlessly holding up our civilisation, our life course. Above the water line, over time, cracks had begun to appear, mortar had fallen from the bulwark. Was the harbour wall in danger

Not at all ! The defiant grasses of civilisation valiantly nudged their way through the cracks, their roots, clinging heroically, courageously, holding the cracks together undauntedly, proudly, fiercely.

Then came the mosses, a vibrant iridescent green, weaving their way across the giant stones, holding the memories together, careful paving the way for a stronger, more assertive conclusion.

Then the blast of the ferry siren shattered my ramblings, and we moved slowly away from this fascinating edifice of life.


From Roger Stringer

I've recently finished working on a book by Geoffrey Bond, who was Keeper of Geology at the Bulawayo Museum, 1946-1960. He wrote it before he died in 1983 and it had been commissioned by Louis Bolze for his "Men of our Time" series but was never published. His family "resurrected" the typescript, and it's now been published with the Weaver Press imprint. There's interesting info in it about the Museum and the people who worked there.

It's on sale in Bulawayo at the Orange Elephant and is apparently going well! It's also on Amazon in Kindle and paperback versions, so you can see more about it here: