There is an old African saying that goes: “The wise eagle that wants to see tomorrow’s brightest day must be brave enough to shake the great reptile of the Past awake.”The saying means that if people wish to create a bright future they must look closely and clearly at their past.
So says the forward to a fascinating lady’s website. Brenda Wintgen ‘Nozindaba’ Sullivan’s is a proud supporter of NSRI and in 2004 donated her McGregor house to us for the crew to use for relaxation.
Below is an edit of a piece that appeared in the Capensis newsletter of January 2011.
In April 2011, Dr Brenda Wintgen ‘Nozindaba’ Sullivan will be 83 years young.
The Zulu name “Nozindaba” was given to Brenda by Sanusi Credo Mutwa and has the meaning “The Messenger, The One with Many Stories, who brings people together to listen and to learn.” After completing her boring and uninspiring school years, Brenda worked as a temporary topographical draughtswoman at the Trigonometrical Survey office in Mowbray.
During the war she served as a VAD nurse, caring for merchant navy seamen. In 1951, after traveling and working in the UK, she returned to Cape Town, where she spent some time as a diamond salesperson.
In 1953, she joined SAA as an air hostess and in 1954 met a passenger, Harry Sullivan and settled into life as the wife of a highly qualified accountant.
During this period, for four years, she served as a volunteer running the Citizen’s Advice Bureau in Johannesburg. She soon realised that Harry was a 3rd generation diamond digger, with incurable diamond fever.
In 1973, Brenda and her 3 daughters relocated to the then ultra conservative town of Bloemhof and later to the diamond diggings at Boskuil. During this period, she single-handedly started a country- wide Books for the Troops action that raised millions of books.
Then, bored by life on the diggings, she became intrigued by the number of Stone Age artifacts unearthed from alluvial gravels including many ancient rock engravings. She began exploring rock engraving sites, her first photographs, of which, were taken in 1971.
Self-motivated, she began researching archaeology and to better understand the ways of the ancient ones, she included studies in mineralogy, geology, sociology, indigenous medicinal plants, para-psychology. theology, paganism and historic trade links across and to and from Africa. The learning path she stepped into meandered in many directions, taking her to ancient engraving sites and sacred standing stones in many parts of the world. In 1978, she met Prof Barry Fell, founder of the Epigraphic Society, Boston, USA and brought back their publications to S.A. After the death of her husband, at his diamond claim, Brenda was left virtually destitute. To survive, she managed the Outspan Hotel, then took on running Hospitality Holidays for First Avenue Hotel – both hotels being in Fishhoek.
She qualified as a SA Tour Guide and ran her own touring company in Pretoria. There she met her second husband Peter Wintgen. During his lifetime, they commuted between his home in Kiel, Germany and her home in McGregor.
During this period, Brenda studied and went on to obtain her Masters degree.
She was awarded her PhD by the Mashigo Institute for the Interpretation of Symbols, for her interpretation of the symbolism of 30 South African rock engravings – a first in this field. She is currently working on her 11th book. Her pet charities are the NSRI and the Darling Angels.
Sea Rescue volunteers can book the house through Krista Lazzari at Head Office.