The hollow Baobab in the Thuli block







A few months ago we came through the small border post between South Africa and Botswana, called Derdepoort. On the South African side on the hill overlooking Madikwe and vast open land, we noticed a derelict building, gates open. Inquisitive as we are, we stopped and went exploring.

It was an old Mission Hospital from 1953. Damaged by weather, local looters and perhaps fire. Architectural of no value as it is just a single plain brick building, but the beauty of this forgotten place was achingly beautiful with the blue sky reflecting through the old black rafters, the patients files, still in the filing rooms, left to the elements. As if they were not important enough to be taken with when the staff just upped and left. Forgotten people.
After a short walk, we left, intrigued and vowing to come back.

Which we did. Traveling from Thabazimbi on the Dwaalboom road, turning right on the dirt road towards Derdepoort, we made the 130km journey on a cold winters morning, with a picnic basket packed, cameras and lenses in the back.

Our friend Avril and my other half are avid photographers whilst my ability ends at taking a few shots with my iPhone

Strolling through and exploring this old place, makes one wonder as to whom came here? What happened to those people and why did it end? The mortuary are still there with a ‘3 person fridge’. Walking through the maternity ward, with the birthing table and the scale to weigh the babies, one wonders about the happiness and the tears which goes with new life. Happiness for the birth of a healthy baby and tears and sadness for those babies who did not make it.

The Hospital apparently assisted TB patients and evidence of the TB ward away from the rest of the Hospital is still there. And when no medicines were delivered any longer and the money dried up, staff left.

Standing in what used to be the chapel with the green window still in tact and the weather beaten pulpit, you get a sense of sadness hanging in the air.

This place has touched me in a way I can’t explain. And looking over the open wide spaces from upon the hill, one can imagine it in a dark black night, with the moon hanging low in the sky, the wind singing its sad song, a black backed jackal’s call in the distance……..and the woefull cries of forgotten souls…..