Monday, September 7, 2009

A Lesson in Kindness

Horse Memorial Statue

Seldom does one see such display of compassion and tenderness for an animal , in a work of art, as that in the Horse Memorial bronze statue in Port Elizabeth, South Africa - known to be one of only three memorials in the world dedicated to horses.

In the main city squares of Europe and also in other parts of the world, there's always some statue of a man ( king or national hero) sitting on a horse in a domineering posture . Here it's the opposite. The man, a soldier, is knealing to allow the horse to quench its thirst from the bucket held in his hands. The soldier shows both kindness and responsability towards the loyal animal placed under his charge.

The Horse Memorial in the lovely city of Port Elizabeth commemorates all those horses that fell serving their masters during the Anglo-Boer war; The inscription on the base reads:"The greatest of a nation depends not so much upon the numbers of its people or its territory as in the extent and justice of its compassion." The base of the statue incorporates a drinking trough.

The story has it that a lady by the name of Harriet Mayer was the president of a commitee for collecting money to erect this statue. When unveiling the statue, The Mayor of the city thanked Mrs. Mayer and insisted in using a figure of speech about her: "she had worked like a horse" he said. I would say, she had probably eaten a lot of roughage too, to get the money.

37 comments:

  1. One's compassion does say a lot about a person or a place. What a nice tribute to those amazing animals.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have often used that phrase but never have I given any thought where it came from. Thank you so much for sharing and have a great day!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Man and horse, loyalty is rooted in kindness and compassion that is wonderfully illustrated in this monument.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Janie B,
    Indeed, compassion does say a lot, and this monument is a tribute to the great services of the horses to mankind both in times of peace and war.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Nezzy,
    I'm not sure to which phrase you're referring to, but whatever phrase supports compassion and kindness is worth remembering and using.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Angelina,
    Well said. This monument illustrates man's kindness in return for the horse's hard work and loyalty.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Nice photo and a good posting Duta.

    When I was a kid, (don't ask when that was!) there were quite a few horse troughs dotted around the town of Croydon and area. In those days our milk, bread, coal all delivered by horse and cart. Then there were the magnificent brewery dray horses, lovely shire horses with beautiful mains and hair fringes covering their hooves. Additionally, we had the 'rag and bone' men hawking around the streets with their horse and cart, ringing their handbell and calling out 'rag a'boney' and various other calls.

    There are still some of these drinking troughs here and there but sadly many have been demolished, probably to make room for parking meters!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I ever have been deeply impressed by watching War films or Western Films, because of the number horses that had been harmed or had been shot dead.
    I love the Statue and the idea of reference to animals suffers in a work of art.

    ReplyDelete
  9. PhilipH,

    Thanks for your detailed , informative and interesting comment. I know the British are very fond of their horses.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Rahel/Rodica,
    War movies and Westerns are indeed impressive testimony to the suffering and sacrifice of these loyal to man animals.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Good day Duta. I live in Port Elizabeth and was greatly surprised to find your post pop up in my daily Google Alert on the city. The Horse Memorial truely is one of the most special monument around and one that we are all proud of. Thanks for featuring our beautiful city on your blog

    ReplyDelete
  12. Firefly,
    The pleasure is mine, Firefly. Although the photo is not clear and sharp, I always like to have a look at it. You have good reason to be proud both of the monument and of your city Port Elizabeth.

    ReplyDelete
  13. What a lovely posting, Duta. As you say, the horse is so taken for granted, and it is good to see a statue which is the reverse of the norm. This also refreshed my husband's memories from childhood about Port Elizabeth, and a happy few minutes were spent revisiting those memories over our afternoon cup of coffee.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Vera,
    Thank you. So, I gather your husband is originally from South Africa. I'm glad my post brought back memories. Port Elizabeth, as I recall from my short visit there is a charming town.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I really like this post, Duta. Kindness, responsibility and loyalty, all good virtues to live by. So nice to hear the history of this beautiful statue too.
    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  16. you know what? God gave us dominion over the animals, but it did not mean we could do with them as we please...it means to respect and care for the beautiful creatures that He created. i love the statue. and sooo enjoy your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  17. TheChickGeek,
    The key virtues enumerated by you (kindness , responsability, loyalty) apply both to men and animals and to the relationship between these two categories. Thanks for your nice comment.

    ReplyDelete
  18. AngelMc,
    I totally agree with your opinion " to respect and care the beautiful creatures that He created".
    I'm glad and honored that you like my blog.

    ReplyDelete
  19. How nice to see compassion for the loyal steeds. And to think it was a woman who made it happen. The previous post took me back somewhat with the statement "the woman only section". The womans movement did not make it there. Peace

    ReplyDelete
  20. Lady Di Tn,
    How true it is, and how observant you are. It's "cherchez la femme" in everything. In the religious sector,however, women have a long way to go.
    Peace and happiness to you too.

    ReplyDelete
  21. This post really touches my heart. There are animals, be it pets or service animals, that are truly our most loyal friends. In the case of these horses, they can also be our most trusted comrades. This is such a fitting tribute to these loyal and brave horses, some of whom made the ultimate sacrifice.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Bica,
    Thank you.
    Pets usually get the right attention, but with working animals like horses it's a bit different. In many cases they're just exploited.
    You're right - the statue is "a fitting tribute" to these brave and loyal man's partners.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Just wanted to stop by to say how much I enjoyed reading this post & to say hello. You have a great blog and really interesting photo's too. Best wishes and thank you for sharing...

    ReplyDelete
  24. Elise,
    You're welcome. Thanks for your kind comment. I'm glad you like my blog and that you've enjoyed reading this post.

    ReplyDelete
  25. That is a lovely statue. My grandfather was a Captain in the British Army, and fought in the Anglo-Boer war. He talked about his horses as if they were his best friends. :-) I still have his spurs and bits that he used during that war.

    You have indeed travelled to many interesting places!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Jo,
    How interesting your south- african background is! I'm reading all your posts and you mentioned South-Africa quite a few times in connection to your mother, and now - your grandfather.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Duta, Your site is so interesting. You have been to so many interesting and beautiful places. I am so sorry for the pain your Mother suffered. I share your feelings of sadness for the plights of our Mothers. Mine was one of eight children and a twin. She was separated from her twin and other siblings and given to her grandmother following her mother's divorce. She was only seven years old. She was sexually molested by her step-grandfather over many years. At age 16 my Father married my Mother to help her escape her terrifying life. My Father was eleven years older than my Mother and while I don't know if they loved one another in the true sense, he was devoted to her and took as good care of her as he could during their 46 year marriage. My Mother died on Mother's Day in 1985. She was 62 years old. I was unable to accept her sudden death and felt somehow as if I was betrayed. I was not ready to lose my best friend. Only now, can I weep for her. I will always feel a part of me died with her. She was so good and kind to everyone and she loved her children without condition.

    Perhaps it is good that you can expell the feelings you are having through the music. It seems it would be a way your Mother would approve of.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hummel Kornell a/k/a C Hummel Wilson,

    You're referring to a previous post of mine that tells about my mother's loss sight and hearing.

    Your mother's story is very sad. Indeed, it's only years after that we realize the big hole left in our lives by the passing away of Mother, and only now could we allow ourselves to weep for her.

    Thanks for sharing your story of your mother.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Another wonderful post Duta! So informative and touching. It's a beautiful photograph and I love the way your give us little insights into the history of the statue and how it came to be. You are a great story teller Duta, or maybe a great historian?

    Take care and be well. May you never spend money on medicines :-)

    ReplyDelete
  30. Alicia,
    Your comment is very flattering. I'm glad you like my post and my way of telling a story.
    Thanks for your very kind words. Have a Happy Day!

    ReplyDelete
  31. DUTA, it is a wonderful statue, and as usual you've highlighted a truly fascinating part of the world.

    As wonderful as the spirit of the statue is, I can't help but wince a little bit at the subject matter. Bad enough that throughout history men and women have had to fight in wars, it's so sad that trusting animals were pulled into the fracas.

    Still, the tenderness, and thoughtfulness of the act is very touching. The soldier and the horse have a lot in common, both being used as tools of something larger.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Land of Shimp,
    Thanks for your beautiful comment. Your language is hypnotizing and your arguments are strong.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Sorry you left my blog. Your blog shows that you are a very interesting woman. Keep on visiting those places with character. Best wishes, Valerie

    ReplyDelete
  34. Valerie,
    I'm sorry too. But you must understand, I believe in reciprocity. As there was no comment and/ no follower from your side, I stopped the following as it gets crowded in the update section. Best wishes to you too.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Hi Duta, I am just wondering if you are aware that there are also two statues to donkeys in South Africa. One in Upington in the Northern Cape and one in Polokwane (Pietersburg) in Limpopo. The one in Upington is of a donkey driving a bucket water pump and the one in Polokwane is to commemorate the donkeys used to haul rock during the gold rush.

    ReplyDelete
  36. A human kind of human,

    Thank you for the information. I was told that this memoruial in Port Elizabeth is one of three memorials in the world dedicated to horses ( and I mentioned this in the opening paragraph of the post). I didn't know where exactly these two other memorials were located.

    ReplyDelete