At sunset we erected a simple monument, on the escarpment above camp, overlooking the Mbaragandu River; it was our tribute to Brigitte. We spread her ashes on the ground, covered them with sand; and added warthog tusks, snail shells, lucky beans and porcupine quills – all staples of the African bush. Then we toasted to her memory with French Champagne and said our last goodbyes.
Brigitte Klineburger, wife and partner of the famous international hunter Bert Klineburger, was a dear friend of the family and passed away quite unexpectedly in June, 2013.
She spent a considerable amount of time in Africa, first as a safari operator in the C.A.R. with her husband Bert and later as a booking agent. My wife and I enjoyed the company of Brigitte and Bert on two different safaris in Tanzania and a couple of fishing trips to Alaska. She was a joy to be with.
Africa is a mysterious place, in terms of the impact it has on the human mind. Dr. David Livingston spent much of his life there (in the mid-19th century), in search of the source of the Nile River. He died in Africa, but made plans for his body to be returned to England for burial. It’s said today that before one begins the long flight home, from the first trip, they begin planning their return. So, I guess it isn’t surprising that someone would have a last request to ‘spread my ashes in Africa’. Interestingly this is the second time Brenda and I have been asked to do just that.
Many years earlier Brigitte had sent Brenda a poem called The Exile. Following are the last two verses:
Oh! How I long to lie by a rivers edge
One starry velvet night.
There let me dream of days gone by
Until my soul takes flight.
Then should I wake in Africa
I'll hear the Bul Bul's song.
And know that I am home again,
Back home where I belong.
When the news came of her death, we were just five months from our scheduled safari to Africa; that Brigitte had booked for us. It was her husband Bert who suggested we spread some of her ashes in Africa, as she would have wanted that – and so we did!