|< Back to stories||November'99|
|The Story of how
Phophonyane Waterfall came to exist
by Queenie Dlamini
I was a little girl of eight when my loving gogo(grand mother) first told me the story of Phophonyane. Once upon a time there lived an old strange woman along the mountains of Piggs Peak. She had long grey hair and very sharp teeth that were like a dogs. She was a witch and her name was Phopho. She lived in a hut next to a spring that existed between two rocks near a small river.Phopho used to go out of her hut to go hunting and when she cooked her food she added her tears to it as they were salty and spicy.
If anyone came to the spring to drink she would put a spell on them and they would fall asleep. She would then hook the trapped person or animal and drag them into her cave with her teeth and kill him and eat him for her supper!
If she had caught a human being she would first go to the relatives of that person in the form of a dream. Phopho would tell them that their relative had disappeared and that they must go and weep next to her spring so that she could use their tears as salt and spice for her meal.
She gave them a bucket to cry in and if she was feeling kind and got enough tears collected she would sometimes wake up the prisoner and let him return to his relatives. But if she was very hungry Phopho would dry up their tears and they would give up trying to weep and leave their relative behind for her to eat!
One day a handsome warrior called Sibevu fell in love with a beautiful girl called Kuhle and he wanted to marry her. Sibevu did not have any cattle but he needed to pay lobola (dowry) so as to succeed in marrying Kuhle.
He sat down and thought very hard about how he could get the cows he needed because he knew he would die of a broken heart if he could not marry her.
Sibevu decided to pay Kuhle's family a visit and negotiate the lobola price. He was very surprised when they said they did not want any cows but would rather have a leopard skin. This was good news for him because he was a skilled hunter and he knew he would have no problem in finding a leopard. Sibevu went to Kuhle and promised her that he would be back within a week with a leopard skin!
Sibevu then left for the hunt the following day and started climbing the Piggs Peak mountains. On the third day he felt very tired and thirsty and felt fortunate when he came across a spring. He knelt down and drank the water which was so cold and fresh. It was so delicious that he thought of taking some with him but when he had finished he felt a little bit tired so he decided to take a little rest under the wattle tree.
Sibevu fell into a deep sleep and did not see that Phopho
the old witch had come to take a closer look at him.
So that night Phopho visited Kuhle in her dreams and told her about Sibevu and said that if she wanted him back she must come and weep at the spring.
Kuhle was so in love with Sibevu that she would have done
anything to bring him back from his deep sleep. So she went to the spring as instructed
and found Sibevu sleeping peacefully. She sat next to him on the rock and started crying.
Kuhle cried and cried day and night hoping that her tears would wake up her true love but nothing happened. Phopho's heart was hard and she did not care to change her spell. One morning as the sun was rising Kuhle saw that Sibevu was changing into a flower! She cried even more hoping to change the spell but it made no difference.
Kuhle lay down next to the beautiful flower and cried so much because her heart was broken that her tears started forming a river. After many weeks of crying Kuhles tears flooded the river and formed a waterfall!
Kuhle fell into the river and carried on crying and that's
why the Phophonyane waterfall still exists today.
The witch has disappeared and no-one knows where she went. So now Phophonyane is very safe and beautiful with the waterfall from Kuhle's tears and flowers around the garden of Phophonyane from the body of Sibevu the warrior.
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