Birthday surprises from afar

2008-05-05 00:00

Long-time Pietermaritzburg resident Marion Nero turned 90 on Saturday and was pleasantly surprised when her son Daryl Nero, an artist living in Harare but well known in Pietermaritzburg, arrived to greet her.

“I was really bowled over, of course,” said Marion.

Marion is like a mother to the group of artists and musicians who gathered with their children and partners around the lavishly decorated table at her daughter Deoni Gerard’s Hilton home.

Daryl (61) is a well-known artist around the world whose work hangs in the Tatham Art Gallery. Even though he travels extensively, he has been based in Harare for over 28 years.

“I love it there, [Zimbabawe] is really a glorious country,” he said.

Marion Nero was once part of a group of 16 friends who called themselves the “Lilies of the Swartkop Valley”.

They were all members of the Maritzburg orchestra, but only two are still alive. “I don’t know who of my friends will attend my funeral, I am out-living them all,” she said.

An old family friend, and former conductor of the Maritzburg orchestra, Erroll Girdlestone, came all the way from Nice to attend the party.

Daryl said he has witnessed the transition of Zimbabwe to its present “sad situation”, but he said the country is still beautiful and he hopes the current situation will improve. He said Harare is culturally rich, often hosting “the finest art festivals”.

“Daryl really is a very fine artist,” said Marion, smiling proudly.

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