I was given a gift the other day. 12 exquisite chocolates packaged in a wildly extravagant satin jewellery box, of all things.
But more interesting is why.
In 1969, a drama student named Rosalind – a six foot tall redhead, daughter of a wealthy and well connected family, went for a walk in the Knysna Forests near Cape Town. She was apparently never seen again.
I say ‘apparently’ because it just so happened I was driving through the forests on that day and I saw her. Of this I am absolutely certain. And she was not alone.
There was a hell of a song and dance – the papers were full of the story and then it died. Her mother tracked me down via the Motel I had stayed in that night, asking if I had seen anything. I replied, giving details of the sighting. I received a very brief thank you note and never heard another word. This effectively silenced me – and I have more or less kept my mouth shut for forty odd years.
The story has never completely died. Every decade or so some or other newspaper will resurrect the mystery. In 2006 a documentary was made. I blogged my particular interest, and a kind man, having picked up on the blog, sent me a DVD of the dokkie. I watched it with fascination and then forgot about it, once more.
A couple of months ago I received an email from a well known South African writer, now living in the UK. He has written a novel based on R’s disappearance, partly because, as teenagers, they had been friends. First loves, even.
We agreed to meet – as it happens we had met, way back when – and had dozens of friends and connections in common.
He sent me a draft of his novel (yet to be published) and I loved it. In preparation for our meeting I reviewed the documentary, which covers all the known facts, and gave the entire scenario some serious thought for the first time ever.
And I reached a conclusion. Conspiracy to cover up. During the time Mrs B wrote to me and received my response, they had learned what had really happened. Hence, my sighting being ignored. There were other sightings published at the time that corresponded with mine and were later discounted. They sounded pretty accurate to me, with my special knowledge. Why there should have been a cover up is another question. My feelings are it was probably political, lots of sabotage and mayhem going on at that time. And her father, as I understand it, had serious connections.
All the rest is smoke and mirrors.
My writer friend is not particularly enamoured with my conclusions. Understandably – he has invested years in his fantasy, unsupported by facts, of which there are very few available. And why not – he has written a novel – and clearly states it is only based on what is known. I look forward to seeing it in print. Think he has a winner there.
And we did have a splendid time debating. The Cabernet flowed and the chocolates, of course, were sublime. 🙂 The choccy box is way to beautiful to bin. Shall have to find a use for it.