Phelophepa! – Good Health!


A combination Sesotho / Setswana word, it means ‘good clean health’.

I had volunteered on the train before, in Bergville; Now Trish and I joined it in Underberg. At the time it was a pet project of Jannie Ferreira, optometry professor at RAU (now the University of Johannesburg). So it was full of RAU students. We had a kombi and on the way up from Durban to act as volunteer supervisor, we repaired to the bottle store and bought champagne, thinking we’d load everyone up and drive off to where we could watch the sun set behind the Drakensberg and its foothills and quaff champers.

Well, we did the quaffing, but well after sunset, as we couldn’t stop till we’d seen the last patient. No way we were going to say, ‘Sorry, come back tomorrow’ to poor people who had come from afar.

Phelopepha (1)

Phelophepa Train Eye Clinic coach

Phelopepha (2)

Phelophepa train eye clinic

After that we went to a farmhouse (the local vet, I believe) where we were treated to a lovely braai.


There are now two Phelophepa trains and the services it provides have increased. Long may it thrive and arrive at remote stations to provide needs and care and happiness – both to the people waiting at the sidings and to the students onboard.

Well, Who The Hell . . .

. . woulda thunk this!? If you’d asked me, I would have rated the likelihood of this happening would be as remote as me falling preggers, but . . . life.

I’m working in a catholic monastery.

Allan Marais moved our St Mary’s optometric clinic into Marianhill Monastery when ‘the province’ said they no longer needed our free service. Anyone smell a rat? Can a juicy tender be somewhere in the mix?

‘Yes, we know you were free, but we no longer need you, even though you were doing a great job and the people loved the free service’ – right!

So here we are! Halleluja, Three Hail Marys, Bless you, and all that. Every two or three months I drive through those pearly gates you see in the above picture when I do my voluntary eyeball-checking stint!

We’re in the bottom left. Fannon building, I think



These pics are from Hugh Bland’s wonderful site .

He is busy recording, cataloguing and preserving KwaZulu Natal history, bless him! Here he is, dressed and kitted out for action. KwaZulu Memories Man!

Did I mention he’s a Natal Cousin of mine?


Natal Cousin – distant relative claimed if said person is famous or doing well