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“She’s Home”

This weekend was a really special time because Susan Botes visited Ingwelala. Susan is the widow of Izak, who originally carved both the Mermaid and the Sleeping Beauty.

Recently Ingwelala Members Francois and Lucia van den Berg, very kindly transported the one-ton Sleeping Beauty statue from Hartebeestpoort Dam to Ingwelala. The purpose of Susan’s visit to Ingwelala was to see the Sleeping Beauty in her new surroundings and to revisit the Mermaid that Susan has not seen for over 30 years.  Susan has added a huge amount of information for the pending book, "The History of Ingwelala", regarding the time line of events which is summarised as follows:

Izak and Susan visited their friend Mr Johnny Roux who was the then owner of Buffelsbed. On one of their earlier visits, whilst walking down the river, they came across a large sandstone boulder. Being a sculptor, Izak could only imagine what he could do with this piece of rock. After getting permission from Mr Roux, Izak set about carving the Mermaid and subsequently to that, the Sleeping Beauty. The Mermaid took Izak a mere week to complete. However, the Sleeping Beauty took about four years to finish as this was done in Izak’s spare time and with the only use of an axe, a rasp, a chisel and sandpaper - quite remarkable, when you gaze at the finished products.

Men at work – ably assisted by Dukes Construction to construct the plinth

Izak and Susan would stay in a small rondavel about 300 meters from the soapstone rock. During the day Izak would carve beneath a sail erected for shade, and into the night, by lamplight from the lanterns hanging from the make shift lean to. In 1969 Mr Roux decided to sell the property and offered Izak the opportunity to remove the statues from the rock. Izak decided to take only the Sleeping Beauty that first had to be cut in half for easier transport purposes as she is over four metres in length and weighs over a ton.

The Sleeping Beauty’s journey lasting 50 years had just begun. From Buffelsbed she travelled via Nelspruit to Brits, onto Ennis and finally came to rest in Andries Botes’ (son of Izak and Susan) garden in Hartebeestpoort Dam. That is where the Sleeping Beauty remained all these years until her final journey back to Ingwelala in July 2014.

The Sleeping Beauty now rests in a special alcove near the Member’s entertainment area of the new administration building. It is hoped she will remain there for many, many years, only to be admired, honoured and treasured, as a beautiful part of Ingwelala history.

It should be said that sandstone is fairly brittle and easily damaged through human indiscretion. Andries has kindly offered to restore the Sleeping Beauty to her former glory and will therefore be visiting Ingwelala in the not too distant future.

Ingwelala wishes to acknowledge and thank the Botes family for their kindness. 

The Mermaid –
carved in seven days, apt in a water setting.


Above text courtesy of Ron Hopkins from Bungalow # 168.