Mountain man

2008-05-21 00:00

Two Dutch tourists, Laila Sardha and Michel van der Heijden, were standing with me in The Oaks car park near Monk’s Cowl prior to setting out on a walk with our guide Sibusiso Dlamini. Hanging above us in the startling blue sky of early winter were the peaks of the central Drakensberg. Dlamini introduced them along with their respective heights: “The big flat one, that’s Cathkin Peak at 3 149 metres, to the right Sterkhorn at 2 973 metres. There over to the far right is Gray’s Pass, which takes you on to the top. I’ve done it 180 times.”

“I was born in the valley,” Dlamini told me later, pointing out the house where he was born in 1975. Thereafter he attended the Champagne Valley School and later Estcourt High School. “I didn’t do matric, instead I did N3. I thought office management and business skills would make it easier to get a job.” Pause for wry smile. “But for two years, no job.”

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