My uncle healed himself, until he couldn’t

I remember it vividly. It was December 2012, and there on a cold, grey mortuary slab, lay my mother’s eldest brother.

My uncle the herbalist, a tall, kind man with an angular face, who had had a smiling face and funny stories about his role in our independence struggle.

He knew all about medicinal roots, leaves, barks, flowers and grasses. Once, when I was ill, he brought me the ground bark of an indigenous tree whose name I don’t recall. It made me well again.

One day he couldn’t heal himself, and he had to go to hospital. He never left.

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