A day we will remember always!

Friday, April 05, 2019
Oribi Gorge, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
What a day!  It exceeded what we had hoped for on our visit here to the home of Roy Demont who lives in the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province of South Africa.  We spent the entire day and evening with Roy Demont as well as Vivien and Cathy Botha from Cape Town. 
The scene from Roy’s home at his Twin Streams Farm is absolutely beautiful.  You view a dam below with a rising hillside full of sugar cane.  Roy’s primary crop is sugar cane, although he has just started planting in-demand tea trees that are grown for their oil used in soaps and shampoos. Also, a popular money-making crop in the area is macadamia nuts.
Roy Demont has had various kinds of operations including lumbering, farming and much more. 
We started the day by driving through his and adjacent properties that included the homes of his children who live on nearby farm properties.  Michael and Morangh are literally 10 minutes away on a beautiful spread they call “Skye Farm” as well as Angus and daughter Beth Adie. Angus and Beth’s children James and Monique Adie attended ABC.   James attended last year and Monique is attending this year.  It was interesting to see exactly where the Adies are from.
The last time I visited here was more than eight years ago when we had an issue in the Church with many people and all the ministers shamefully leaving.  At that times we called upon Roy and Jean Demont who were faithful.  He had been a deacon for years and I believe Jean was a deaconness.  Roy was then called upon to take up duties as an elder of the United Church of God that he has valiantly fulfilled these past eight years, and has since overseen all the congregations in South Africa. Very tragically and sadly after my visit in 2011, his wife Jean died on April 18. I was privileged to know her a few months before her death. Roy threw himself into the pastoral ministry and has maintained a tireless monthly routine of visiting Johannesburg, Cape Town and East London. 
We drove along the Ridge Road that was the old wagon trail from Port Shepstone in the British Colonial period that moved goods from ships on a road to the Transkei.  We drove through the breathtaking Oribi Gorge or Valley.  Oribi means “buck.”  Close up we saw a huge white vultures that sailed and roosted in colonies in the cliffs. 
Then, Roy pulled up to the edge of a cliff and asked us to walk a trail to the very edge and then took us on to an outcropping and pointed to a rock.  He coaxed me to follow him.  He didn’t say what it was.  I followed on the precarious edge.  Then I squinted and saw a nameplate embedded into the rock that looked over the Oribi Gorge. It was the grave marker for his wife Jean whose ashes were strewn over the Oribi Valley.  I choked up.  This was all so meaningful to Roy and to all of us.  There was a spot prepared on the rock for his nameplate also to be placed next to Jean’s.  The plate is only visible to those who walk out over this perilous outcropping. In the distance, the Ingeli range of mountains, rising to 7500 feet, was visible. 
We then drove through the Oribi Gorge to the Umzimkulu Gorge and river by the same name. 
As we drove I learned so much about Roy’s life and family. Roy Demont's family originally came from Yorkshire, England in the 1850’s with his great grandfather Louis Demont coming from Switzerland to England.  His wife's family came from Scottish heritage. 
He talked about his brother Clive who lives in Port Elizabeth and is part of the United Church of God there. We talked of all kinds of things that ranged from the economy to King Shaka.
On the road in the Oribi Gorge, we saw a troupe of Samango monkeys up close.  Interesting.
Roy talked about the challenges and perils of farming. Theft is so prevalent. . . including stealing macadamia nuts, young tea trees, you name it. Protective fences and electrification are necessary to protect property or thieves will break in. 
We then continued to see the tea trees up close.  They need manual weeding. That is a big cost in the investment of growing tea trees.  He has to hire workers at minimum wage which is 20 rand per hour for this process.  The trees do not take well to toxic weed killers and this has to be done by hand.  The field of trees is vivid with the aroma of the tea tree.
We were about to go back to Roy’s house when he said that there was one more notable place—Lake Eland. So, we drove out there. . . only about seven miles and decided to have lunch there. Fun. 
Then back to Roy’s home at Twin Streams.  This will be a day we will never forget. . . seeing where Roy Demont has lived and learning more about his family.
Back home we got ready for the Sabbath. 
The five of us sat and talked for quite a while.  Vivien had questions about various things including song-leading.  Tomorrow he will be the song-leader. 
We then had the traditional Friday night Curry meal that he has continued with his family for decades. It was only the five of us, though.  He was in contact with his daughter Kim in Perth, Australia a few times while we visited and we passed on our greetings. Roy really knows how to host!
So ended a great day!
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Comments

Peggy Moss
2019-04-07

Stunning geography and moving story!

gayle_hoefker
2019-04-07

What a beautiful location!

Grant Chick
2019-04-08

Absolutely stunning. It made Kim & I eagerly anticipate our trip back at the end of the year. Thank you for sharing your time with Dad.

Jan Chick
2019-04-08

Having visited there a number of times. Over the last 25 years it is lovely to see Twin Streams through some one else's eyes. It is a magical place and Roy and Jean always made everyone welcome. Glad that you had a great visit. Hope you are now a 'Curry fan

Angus & Beth Adie
2019-04-11

Hi Victor & Beverley. So glad that you have had a good visit so far to Africa, including our special corner of the Planet (Paddock, Kwazulu-Natal). Sorry we couldn't be there to be with you all but we are doing a road-trip up to the top of Scotland with our son James who is studying in the UK.

Howard Marchbanks
2019-04-13

It is so good to meet our brethren and those serving them through your writing and photos.

Beautiful!
2019-04-27

Safe travels!

2019-07-23