Visiting places that carry your name.
I’ve not done that before.
In fact, I don’t think there are many places out there that carry our names.
Theunis & Zuko.
Today we visited two places, each carrying one of our names.
‘Theuns se Winkel’ (Theuns’ Shop) was the first.
We’ve driven past it many times.
Most recently, in December, on our way to the farm in the mountains between Cradock & Tarkastad.
We saw it come to life, after many years of standing empty.
Our curiosity triggered, we decided to visit it on our way to Kuzuko Lodge.
Incidently it is where you turn off from the N10, to make your way to Kuzuko.
Celeste & Alonzo welcomed us.
She took custody of ‘Theuns se Winkel’ in November.
She is married to a local farmer.
Drought had forced her to seek new ways of creating income.
At first she went to work in Somerset East, but being away from the farm & her family was hard.
Friends came alongside her.
They helped her raise the capital.
And new life came to this little stop along the N10.
There is a shop selling local produce.
A restaurant serving breakfast & lunch & supper, if required.
The place speaks of Celeste’s creativity & eclectic soul.
Baroque, Rock-‘n-Roll, old & new, as well as a dash of India & Africa mixed into a rich new personality.
As we breakfast, Quintin comes in, seats himself at the counter & orders breakfast.
He works for a truck-towing company.
A truck carrying sheep has fallen over.
He came to scout & is waiting for the tow-truck to make its way from Nelson Mandela Bay.
He says the shop used to be a shearing shed, where farmers from all over brought their sheep.
Then it was a shop.
And a liquor store.
It stood empty many times.
But it has always been a landmark.
The food is amazing.
Stuff you’d expect at an expensive restaurant in a big city.
The decor is stunning.
Something you’d not have seen before.
Celeste speaks of new beginnings.
Of taking risks.
Of never being able to make it on your own.
Rain is pouring down outside.
A friend sends a picture of a pure white Johannesburg.
Snow covering large parts of the country.
We say our goodbyes.
Certain that we’ll stop at’ Theuns se Winkel’, whenever we travel in this direction.
Hopeful that others would do the same.
Then we make our way to Kuzuko Lodge.
Zuko wasn’t born with this name.
Are any of us born with our name?
Perhaps we are, and our destiny is to discover its fulness.
One morning, a short while after we promised each other to spend our lives together, I woke up with this name in my heart.
And I started calling her it.
There was no ceremony.
No big fanfare.
It suited her.
Often our names are filled with something.
I see God renaming Abram.
I see Daniel & his friends re-named to become Sadrach, Mesag & Abednecho.
I see Josef carrying a new name as he becomes the Pharaoh’s right hand man.
‘Glory’, Ningi explains to me.
‘In Xhosa it means glory.’
‘In Xhosa-tradition, when a man marries a woman, he endows her with a new name.’
‘A name talking of what she has done for him.’
‘What she will be for him.’
‘What she has unlocked in him.’
‘She must be your glory’, Ningi says.
And she is.
For without her I was empty.
I did not know my being.
I was half.
Afraid to explore the deepest crevasses of my being.
My Zuko, my glory.
If I was to be grammatically correct, in Xhosa, I should’ve called her noZuko. The feminine in Xhosa always takes ‘no’, but even Xhosa people seem to forgive me & understand that who she is & what the name describes is more important that grammar.
Kuzuko Lodge is ‘the place of glory’.
We arrive at reception after quite a drive.
The Chrysler Grand Voyager really impressing us with its ability to make its way across unfamiliar ground.
We’re welcomed in 5-star style.
Little warm napkins after the journey.
Our luggage taken to our rooms.
Our rooms fitted with every conceivable comfort & luxury.
We do high tea.
And when we return to our room, it is turned down for the evening.
Zuko enjoys a full body back massage & manicure.
I spend time with Maddi.
Theunsie, Wilhelmina & Sophia play Wii with two new friends who traveled thousands of miles from the UK to come to Kuzuko to make new friends.
Supper is a grand affair.
The duty manager caters for Zuko’s vegetarian needs.
African music fills the cold evening atmosphere.
Conversation is easy from the entrée to the desert.
Rain still pouring down we find our beds.
We talk late into the night.
About places that carry our names.
‘Theuns se Winkel’ is eclectic.
It is a mix of influences.
Still blooming into a flower.
Possibly a beautiful flower.
Only time will tell.
Kuzuko Lodge is well established.
An oppulent place of rest & nature & comfort.
My Zuko is all of that.
To everyone she meets.
Always lifting others high.
Always adoring the wonder of being.
Always radiant & resplendent as she sees the beauty in those fortunate enough to share life with her.
Expectant of what we’ll discover at Kuzuko the following day.