This pretty short and out of proportion girl I discovered in Westpark long after this blogpost was made, and she has a wonderful expression.
This classic beauty is on a grave dated 1904, and is really a beautiful work. Whether it is an off the shelf statue or not I do not know, but it is not a statue of mourning, it is more a celebration of a life.
A 1937 off the shelf angel with a missing hand graces this pathway. She has somewhat of a disapproving look about her, but maybe it is because of her missing hand?
The example above is on a 1930 grave, and she has a very different look to the conventional off the shelf angel, it is a very attractive statue, and not one that I have seen in other cemeteries.
While technically not a statue, this wonderful headstone is a work of art on its own. The grave dates from 1927, and considering how long it has been standing is in a remarkable condition. I have seen a number of similar ones in the UK, and they are beautiful.
It is also home to what I call “the Panorama Ladies”. Modern statues often done out in hues of brown or gold. The sort of thing Victorians would have frowned upon.
My tour heads west once again to Randfontein and to Greenhills Cemetery which is more prone to headstones in the shape of rugby balls, cars and tires. Occasionally there are cherubs and this little chap in a curious state of undress is a puzzle. Just how did he manage to loose an elbow?
And, as I was driving away I could not help noticing that somebody had turned her back on my attempts at photography.
And of course there is this magnificent work below, which is actually quite intimidating now that I take a close look.
It is amazing what you can find in these cemeteries. I have not even touched on headstones in all their weird and wonderful shapes and permutations. Neither have I shown my complete collection, because space limitations on these blogs does become an issue, especially when the page is image intensive as a photo page tend to be.
Sadly the reality in South Africa is as such that many of the cemeteries are rapidly becoming no-go areas as safety becomes more of an issue and municipality inefficiency increases. Already we are seeing the wholesale theft of ironwork and masonry, and vandalism is on the rise. That is also true of the UK.
And on that somewhat depressing note I will leave you with this cute find out near Fourways, a modern fairy, and indicative of the inroads non traditional figures are making all over.
Don’t run away though, I discovered that there was a page 3 here too! don’t miss it.
© DRW 2011-2018. Updated 19/05/2015. Images recreated and moved to allatsea 20/03/2016
Braamfontein Cemetery in Johannesburg is also the oldest existing municipal in Johannesburg, and technically should contain the largest proportion of the angels and statues of the three cemeteries I am visiting in this post.
Many of these memorials have been standing here over 100 years, and are in a surprisingly good condition too. Although it is a precarious existence because there is always the possibility of damage through vandalism, or subsidence.
Leave Braamfontein in the capable hands of the angels and cherubs we head west to Brixton cemetery, leaving this beaut to raise its stone eyes to the heavens.
Brixton Cemetery has its fair share of angels as well, but a lot of its real gems are in shaded areas so they do not photograph very well. The one piece of cemetery statuery that really stands out in the cemetery is known as “The Organ Grave”. The surname on the grave is Murley, but I often wonder if there was any connection to a pipe organ player.
And this reasonably simple angel prays that she does not become the subject of vandalism. Given her proximity to the fence I am surprised that she has survived as well as she has.
Most of the angels that I have examined closeup have various expressions, ranging from mourning right through to disdain. And, of course they are usually genderless, although I do suspect most are female. This particular example is definitely female.
It is time to leave this cemetery of contrasts and head north along Beyers Naude Drive towards Westpark, which is the youngest of the three cemeteries.