White Woman Witch Doctor. Tales from the African life of Ray
Graham, by Ray Graham.
Here is another superb book I found fascinating and engrossing,
particularly about the strange misconceptions we develop about
peoples who are different to ourselves. An absolutely incredible
true story of this English nurse who marys and comes to Botswana
and Venda to help her husband in the family trading stores, and
getting deeply fasinated and involved with the locals.
It exercised my mind in a great way and created delicious food for
thought. Thoroughly enjoyable.
“I got to know and love Phinius as a brother and still today he is
important in my life.
He taught me not only the profession, but humility, and the
understanding of man, and our weaknesses and strengths. He showed
me how to live in service to ones people with ones given gifts, not
I am so gratefull that I met him and that we have such a special
relationship. No other white has become an initiated Nyanga and
honoury member of the Venda tribe.
He told me I will kill a Cobra for my task this week. No way, I
told him. I’ve done everything else. Every test you’ve given me.
This is a No. I am not terrified, but I am certainly not happy
around snakes. I wont kill a snake.
You’re thinking white again, he replyed. He often criticized me on
that ground. It would be made possible for you to do it. And with
that, away he went.
Phinius used to come to my Johannesburg home every Wednesday to
give me lessons. We would work together then, before leaving, he
would set me a task to do on my own. I had a special place set up
for these lessons, with skins on the floor and all the artifacts of
the trade ready. For years we did this together and had a very
special relationship. He became like a big brother. We were in
(She then told her husband and he helped her pack the Kombi to go
to Botswana to find the snake. As she was driving and singing to
“And you wont believe it. It’s ridiculous, but at that precise
moment, a Cobra came out of the thicket, in front of the Kombi. At
the right spot, at the right moment. So the wheels of the Kombi
went over it and killed it. Just like that.
In all my adult life spent in the bush, never has a snake come out
like that one there. and it was not a Rinkals, not a Boomslang,
not any of the kinds of snakes found in that area, it was a Cobra.
The chances of my driving past that spot at that precise moment and
having that snake there, are amazing.
I jumped out and ran around the vehicle shouting with joy. Thank
you very much. What a relief. Dancing all alone in the sand like
some nut. But what incredible knowledge it gave me. To accept the
wisdom of my teacher. Who had said, It would be made possible for
Barry: There are dozens of stories like this, and about the family
trading stores, and about her bringing up her children in those
environments. Ray Graham later went on to become a highly
respected Johannesburg City Councillor.
Blogger Barry: Thanks for your time. Hope you enjoyed. Please
use the comment and follow buttons.
Barry Blomkamp Nd. Bsc (UL)
Professional Public Speaker, Trainer and Corporate Entertainer,
Motivational speaker, Guest & Key note speaker, Seminar &
Conference speaker, Team Builder, Comedian, Master of Ceremonies,
For your Strategic Planning sessions, Management or Sales meetings,
Conferences and/or Seminars, Award functions, Year end parties,
Cape Town, South Africa.