How special to have you all, dear family and friends, together in person and together “online”!!…
in this wonderful place called Gonarezhou – Sacred Place of Elephants…
for a few days of surprise celebrations for Clives 70th birthday…
The Chilojo Cliffs, viewed from the picnic site, are a fitting backdrop to the most special occasions…
and always inspiration for my art..plus the perfect place to gather with friends…..
A few days of glorious vistas and surprises roll out….
Clive cutting the first of his cakes at Chilojo Picnic Site-a carrot cake created by dear friend Bronwen…
Our daughter Kelli presides over the goodies and gift table at Chilojo!
Painted Wolf Wines, Jeremy Emma and Amanda, sadly could not be with us at the last , but gifted us some bottles of their delicious wine for the day.
So many friends from all over the world and within Zimbabwe who wanted to come, had indeed already booked to come, have failed to do so for various covid and logistical reasons.
Best wishes and so much love come to you, Clive, from Texas to Cape Town, London to Paarl, Kenya to Hoedspruit !
Childhood friend Alan Sparrow spends quiet time with Clive back at our bush house in Save valley Conservanvy, after the camping trip
This sculpture, given to Clive by Stu and Sue Danks of Stone Dynamics Gallery, sums up the deep sense of family and friendship we all enjoy, titled “Support System”
On the day, many many friends here in Zimbabwe , too numerous to mention in this short speech, who can not be with us, have sent Clive messages, to add to his memory book.
My gift to Clive is a magnificent Rhino sculpture by dear friend Wayne Stutchbury…
My list of thanks to everyone who has made this celebration possible is lengthy- so I will have to be brief and mention just a few of the many who have helped plan this surprise:
Gonarezhou National Park, (GCT), Hugo and Elsabe Van Der Westhuizen and Mr Mpofu and staff for your vision, conservation ethics and enthusiasm, (plus efficient bookings and logistics- for bundles of firewood, tables and pots donated for the party).
Hugo’s words to guests on the day were a revelation to many- the ongoing efforts and planning that have resulted in the iconic reintroduction of black rhinos to gonarezhou were enthralling for us all to understand.
Gorgeous Massasanya Dam was one of the venues for guests to camp at, in preparation for Clive’s surprises…
Thanks to Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge who hosted happy guests at gorgeous Chilo lodge on the Save River … in preparation for the event.
Chilo brought our dear friends and precious staff through the stunning wilderness of Gonarezhou National Park, on Clive’s special day..
The Chilo team and John Feleni of the Jamanda Conservation Area had special sightings, viewing lions and African wild dogs en route, to join us at Chipinda with truckfuls of food, cake and love!
wild dogs were seen on the banks of the Runde and Save River- a delight…
Dear Bonani and head chef Peter Chauke pulled the chilo team together through thick and thin to make this day a success.
Chef Susie’s cake:
Fun to cut and a delight to eat!
Thanks to Malilangwe and the people of Malilangwe who have always been trusted friends and dear neighbours to Clive, who roamed those lone star/ Malilangwe hills throughout his childhood.
Mark Saunders honours Clive with his words ..
And a great framed photo gifted from Mark Saunders- memories of camping trips with Clive at mahove camp, hosted by Chilo Gorge
Thanks to Save Valley Conservancy, beloved home to our family, thanks to them for their consistent support and friendship through the many years they have been established.
Thanks to Glenn and Judy and our grandchildren Jade And Rayne and to our daughter Kelli for their unending support and love for Clive
Thanks to All other friends and family too numerous to list but all who have contributed to the success of today…you are all deeply loved and appreciated
Rowan Martin came from afar on dodgy tyres, to play the bagpipes for Clive…
As did Sean Davy, with his beloved Mum Mo, and his sweet “clan” of girls, to celebrate and play “Happy Birthday” on his bagpipes…
He played below those atmospheric Chiwonga Hills, a wonderful moody setting…
Friends young and old made memories for a lifetime…
Much food was eaten around many campfires, lots of fun…and leftover sadza with relish tasted even better straight out the pots, reheated the night after the party….
This area of the South East lowveld of Zimbabwe has forever been a haven for Clive, way before it was designated as a National Park.
Clive’s earliest childhood memories are of family fishing expeditions down this very Runde River behind us.
Clive says of his childhood;:
“Our anticipation was high at the outset of these family trips, and when we would finally reach the range of these hills known as the Chiwongas, we children, bouncing about in the back of our old truck, would be in an agony of delight, knowing that we had nearly arrived at our fishing grounds!
70 years later here is Clive setting up a braai at the tented camp, below these same hills….
Early one morning here at the tented camp, Clive and I rose to the orchestra of Giant Eagle owls and pearl spotted owelets going to bed and ground hornbills, Spurfowl and guinea fowl waking up.
Loud, snorting bloats of hippos serenaded us as drank our Zimbabwean coffee and watched the light dawn behind these same Chiwongas.
Clive later said to me that it reminded him of the verse in David:
“I will lift up my eyes to the hills from whence comes my power”
Clive’s whole life, his whole power, has been dedicated to wilderness and community conservation here in the South East Lowveld.
Clive has seen communities translocated to make way for wildlife, he has seen wildlife translocated to make way for cattle, and again he has seen cattle translocated to make way for wildlife!
Clive has seen rhino go extinct twice in his lifetime here in the Gonarezhou.
It seems fitting that we celebrate his birthday right here at Chipinda Pools In the heart of the new rhino protection zone in Gonarezhou, as rhino reintroductions from Malilangwe, Bubye and Save Valley Conservancy are taking place
Thank you all for helping to make this surprise for Clive such a success!
Clive Stockil, my life partner ………..
In memory of the rhinos that were..
In care of the rhinos that are…………
In hope for the rhinos to come ……..
All my love and admiration, Lin……..