Saturday, February 6, 2010

Bailey (F 13)

Name: Bailey (near Queenstown)

(I missed tis station when doing the Bs since it does not appear on the map index)

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Other interesting info:

While Fort Hare in the Eastern Cape may be a repository of mere copies of the Tabata Collection, with the originals in Cape Town, the Eastern Cape was the setting of the most significant memorial site that commemorated I.B. Tabata’s life. This was the site of Tabata’s grave in a cemetery alongside the national road, north of Queenstown, just past the entrance to Lesseyton, an impoverished village-township, which had resisted incorporation into Transkei under apartheid, and just before the turnoff to Bailey station, where Tabata grew up. This was the modest Tabata family cemetery, where Tabata had been buried on 4 October 1990 after his death in Harare two weeks before. Tabata had been buried between the graves of his brother George (1893-1977) and his sister Bridget (1909-1986) and in sight of the resting place of his brother Puller Mjikelo (1902-1903). Nearby lay his father Steven (1860-1929) and his mother Amy (1862-1957). Lesseyton, Bailey and the cemetery were part of a district known as KwaTabata, close to the Tabata River, where the whole landscape had been marked by the Tabata family history.

In the cemetery, the inscriptions on the conventional black and grey granite headstones of Tabata’s older siblings seemed standard: “Safe in the Arms of Jesus”; “Remembered by Children, Brothers and Sisters”; “Rest in Peace”. In this cemetery landscape, the headstones of the older parental graves were more striking, and notably inscribed in Xhosa: his mother’s brown marble headstone modestly inscribed – “Lala Ngoxolo”; his father’s cement headstone with sheep motif much more elaborate: “Waye Ngumfuyi we Gusha. Sodibana Ngalo Ntsasa Yovuko”. Surrounded by older family graves covered with stones, with deteriorating wooden crosses, these well marked burial sites memorialised settled Christian, close-knit family and sheep farming identities. I.B Tabata’s mortal remains were interred into this family landscape, with his headstone marked in deliberate, yet contradictory ways. The conventions of the standard black and grey granite had seemingly been reworked. Framed by a floral image and an illustration of a flame, a large image of a book - whose aesthetic origins may have been biblical – had been inscribed with a secular political biography: “Here Lies a Great Politician, President of the Unity Movement of SA and a Great Man”. The setting of the modest family cemetery made the claims on leadership and greatness seem incongruous.


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