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magneto

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A few members of our club (those who managed to get time off work, travelled to Spion Kop outside Ladysmith in Natal. The sight of the famous battle that gave us the name of our famous Kop stand.

 

Here is there story.

 

Perhaps the setting itself is the greatest tribute that can be paid. Spion Kop bathed in a late summer sun, framed by the sheer majesty of the Drakensberg, mauve, through a translucent haze, in the background, and the vista that unfolds before you is one of the unspoilt beauty of the African plains.

 

It is sad in itself that this place of solitude is wrought with the images of death, the tombstones giving eternal memory to those who came here, many years ago, and never left.

 

SpionKop.jpg

 

In memory of the 96...

 

There is a purity in the passion with which Dave Walters delivers an oratory. Standing here, on top of the granite hill that gave it’s name to, perhaps, the most famous single stand in any stadium in the world, Dave Walters takes us through the tragedy, once again, the power of his words recall visual images of a day we must never forget, the passion and anger of the deliverance reinforce that which we know, our friends have died, but the battle is not yet won, and will not be, until true justice for the 96 is done.

 

To hear the emotion in Dean Davis' voice underpins the deep bond that exists amongst the supporters of this great club across the world, Scousey, he of bluff rebuke, driven to the edge of tears as he recounts the immensity of Hillsborough, and the indelible imprint that the events of that day left scarred into the core of his very being. And that this memorial occurs is testament to his desire that we, as South African Supporters, transcend the mundane into a realm of a deeper understanding of our role as supporters.

 

crew1.jpg

 

A poem, selected from an extraordinary collection of prose dedicated to Hillsborough, was read by Guy Prowse. and it highlighted the starkness of the aftermath, life stripped bare of comfort, and the pain, pain in sufferance, and pain as lives shattered are rebuilt.

 

Here, in the still of an African afternoon, the names of the 96 were read out, each utterance hanging in the air, the different tones and inflections of the speakers giving life to the diversity of those so tragically taken from us, and the six minutes of silence impeccably observed, the shrill call of a referee’s whistle book-ending the tribute.

 

When both ‘The Fields of Anfield Road’ and ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ were sung, it was not with the unbridled gusto of the terraces, but with a subtlety the memory of the 96 deserved, a tribute, in song, to their support of this club we all hold so dear, would lead them to so tragic an end.

 

bench1.jpg

 

Our permanent memorial in its new home, Spion Kop Lodge. The plaque behind the bench carries the names of the 96.

 

Earlier, those present unveiled a permanent memorial on the grounds of the Spion Kop Lodge, where Guy. gave commentary on how the Kop at Anfield, and the Spion Kop in kwaZulu Natal, are inexorably linked, how both edifices have withstood time, and remain dominant, majestic. The permanent memorial takes the form of a bench, custom-made for the supporters club, signifying the change in stadia insisted upon by the Taylor Enquiry, in the aftermath of Hillsborough, and has several design elements that enhance it’s applicability.

 

The mainstay of the back-rest is inscribed with the words: “In Memorium – Hillsborough 15th April, 1989” with two Liver Birds facing each other, the main supports are the two eternal flames, reminding us not only of Hillsborough, but of Heysel, and 96 slats comprise the seat area, signifying that the deaths of our 96 brothers and sisters lead, hopefully, to safer stadia for those who remain.

 

bench2.jpg

 

A close-up view of the inscription.

 

Eight supporters climbed to the summit of Spion Kop, each, in their own way adding to the memorial. The brotherhood strengthened by the unanimous respect shown to our brethren who now watch Liverpool Football Club from a celestial vantage. Eight supporters went up to the summit, 104 were present. You’ll Never Walk Alone.

 

crew2.jpg

 

Those who made the journey carried the silent tributes of many others, unable to make the journey, in their hearts.

Edited by magneto
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