The Flower Lady Of The South

19 Aug 2015 10:50am
By Patience Smith

KEETMANSHOOP, 19 AUG (NAMPA) – She’s easy to spot every morning on the Keetmanshoop main street bridge leading to the west of the town.
With her blue Toyota Corolla sedan parked on the shoulder of Sam Nujoma Avenue and with a jerry can filled with water, Delaryn Smit moves to quench the thirst of the 30-odd plants on the island in the middle of the road.
Smit planted the flowers and vegetation herself almost three years ago.
Her motivation is simple - “I love flowers, I love nature, I love beautiful things.”
With eyes glistening and bright, she says the establishment of the foliage on that small stretch of land is her little way of giving back to herself, the town and the community she loves.
The 51-year-old butchery owner describes herself as a happy and optimistic person, and says what she does is very easy.
“There were already holes on the island, so all I do is plant and water the flowers. It takes me 30 minutes a day,” she states simply.
Chatting further, Smit says her motto in life is to be proud of what she does, to love it, and as a result for it to be beautiful.
“If we do things for ourselves, we will not wait for others or wait for acknowledgement or for money – it will be a reward to ourselves,” she says.
Previously, she also cared for the town's cemetery free of charge.
“I had to give it up when the young man who used to help me left,” says Smit.
The pleasant mother of three adult children believes that it is unrealistic to expect their municipality to do everything.
“If each of us keeps his or her little area clean and maybe plant a small tree, then it will be a nice, beautiful and enjoyable place to live in for all.”
She relates how after every weekend, they’d find alcohol bottles, human excrement, ash from fires, used condoms and litter all over the cemetery.
It is the only time she frowns.
“Why would we do this?” she asks.
Smit is convinced that Keetmanshoop can be a beautiful town if each person lends a hand.
“People often say the people in Keetmanshoop are difficult. That is true to a certain extent, but what I have also experienced is how supportive people here are in times of difficulty. That’s why I think that if we just pull together, this town can be an absolute beacon.”
She enthuses further: “Our town is exploding with growth at the moment; jobs, new developments, shops, people … all we have to do is appreciate it.”
Upon waving goodbye, she laughs, “Don’t write everything, I'm just a silly old lady with a bit of time on my hands…”