The social high water line of Eden
by Herman Labuschagne

Eden Express article, 10 January 2013


I was at a business forum one day where one of the speakers said: “There are 150 churches in George, yet those of you who know George will know that this place is a spiritual wilderness.” He went on to say that “this is the social high water line where much of the driftwood washes upon the beach.” That was four years ago and the words are still ringing in my mind.


I realized that while there are exceptions, overall he was right. People dream about living here. Some arrive because they were following a carefully-worked out roadmap to a dream. But many arrive because they have bought the lottery ticket of hope. They are running from a nightmare and chasing after fantasy. After all, this is the Garden Route – the Eden of our country and the New Zealand of Africa. A world which is always green, where all have jobs and where everyone lives in beautiful homes. They relocate here following messy divorces, or failed businesses and broken hopes. And when they arrive here they are often just keep drifting without anchors.


I was walking on the beach the other day when I saw a line of flotsam on the sand. There were caps of bottles, the sole of a sandal, and small blobs of Styrofoam. There was even pumice from some faraway volcano. I realized that before the tourists arrive, the municipality would come and pick it all up to be thrown upon the rubbish dumps so that everything looks clean and unspoilt. But then it struck me – this must never happen to the lives of human beings. Their broken pieces are small fragments of a treasure that must be collected with care and glued back together again as best possible. Life is precious in any wilderness.