This historic rock, situated within Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, is traditionally where Swaziland’s criminals were executed. Once they were marched to the top, they could choose to either jump from it’s summit with dignity or be helped along with spears. Its African name is Nyonyane which means ‘little bird’ and poetically describes with horrifying beauty how these poor souls appeared as they plummeted to their deaths.
The rhythmic beat of drumming from the settlement below took on a sinister overtone as we reached the top. Absorbing the 360° panorama of the valley, we thought about the fact that this was the last sight that many people saw.
The experience reminded us of an old Chinese proverb about a monk who was chased by a hungry tiger to the edge of a cliff. He managed to escape over the side using a vine but when he looked down he saw another tiger at the bottom licking it’s chops and waiting for him to fall. Just when the monk thought that things couldn’t get any worse some mice began nibbling at the vine.
It was then that the monk spotted a strawberry plant growing on the cliff face. He reached out, plucked a red fruit and put it in to his mouth. “How sweet!” he exclaimed.
The hungry tigers represent our past and future, the mice are everyday niggling worries and the strawberry symbolises the present moment. All we truly have is the present moment and it is up to us whether we choose to find and savour it’s beauty.
We wonder if any of the men, who fell like little birds from the summit of Execution Rock, were able to appreciate the breath taking view…