I visited Franschhoek’s historical graveyard behind the monument and took these pics. Its a smallish area but has been an active graveyard from the 1800’s until quite recently suggesting that family plots purchased long ago were still being used. I morbidly wondered what it must be like to know your family plot during your life, to be anchored by the knowledge of where your remains will someday lie. It was visually fascinating as a place of rich decay with gravel, sand, lichens, iron, grass and marble all exposed to the weather, all somewhat neglected, slowly giving up to the forces of nature.
Its also a place of culture and the archivist, archaeologist and craftsman in me was excited by a visual feast of materials, styles and customs. I barely took note of names, I was perhaps avoiding that, as I focused on the various types of headstone, edgings, and decorations. I particularly liked the tree trunk headstones, which I had never seen before. A tree represents the beauty of life, but as a stump it is a life cut short. Apparently cut-off branches represent other deceased family members.
I also enjoyed looking at the flowers left by mourners and visitors. Some fresh, some fake, all returning to dust. They are placed and left behind to decay in a beautiful process that neither the giver nor receiver sees. Other visitors simply leave a stone.