The Spirit of Wembley College’s Founder will live on

The Spirit of Wembley College’s Founder will live on

Wembley College’s founder Brian Corbishley died this year

Wembley College founder Brian Corbishley

Trees are a part of our school landscape and heritage. Dot and Brian Corbishley valued planting trees on the school estate. Our twenty anniversary founder’s day celebration took place in September 2017 which is arbour month and the tree of the year was planted on the school grounds. Sadly, Wembley College’s founder Brian Corbishley died this year shortly before his eightieth birthday.

This year the tree of the year is the Buffalo thorn, Ziziphus mucronata, umLahlabuntu (Zulu), Blink-blaar-wag-’n-bietjie (Afrikaans). Historically the Zulus planted a Buffalo Thorn on the grave of a deceased Chief as a symbol of where the Chief was buried. The Zulu name means “that which buries the Chief”. Even today a branch from the Buffalo Thorn is used to retrieve the spirit of a deceased person from where he died.

A family member will go to the place where the death occurred carrying a branch of the Buffalo Thorn which the spirit is able to hold onto. This will be taken back to the deceased homestead and the spirit will be given a new resting place. During the transportation of the spirit, the carrier will not look backwards. He will pay for two seats on a bus or a taxi and communicate with the spirit explaining exactly where it is going. If they are to cross a river, the holder will tell the spirit, “We are now crossing the river. We will get a lift to the other side.”

Can we believe that Mr Corbishley willingly listened to the carrier? I think he told the carrier where his spirit needed to go. His spirit is now back on the hilltops of Wembley where he will watch over our school protecting us and willing us on. Dot Corbishley brought a number of Buffalo Thorn trees which were planted during our 20th Founder’s Day Celebration this weekend. Brian Corbishley’s memory will live on in the trees.

From left to right: Dederick Swart (headmaster), Eleanor Buss (20 year award), Joey Martins (20 year award), Dot Corbishley (founder and wife of the late Brian Corbishley), Julie Goble (20 year award), Ida Scott (20 year award), Kerry Taylor (granddaughter of the late Brian Corbishly planting a buffalo thorn in his memory), Amanda Taylor (granddaughter of the late Brian Corbishley planning a buffalo thorn tree in his memory), Michael Yeadon (new chairman of the school), Jan Van Der Merwe (head of ground staff), Louise Yeadon (chairman’s wife), Bettina Makhanya (20 year award), Dave Martins (20 year award)