Honouring a Special Friend – Wendy Brown

Wendy Brown – one of the most inspirational women I have had the pleasure of knowing.

At the hospital with Wendy  Cheryl and Anni, dreaming up the wild river trip.
At the hospital with Wendy Cheryl and Anni, dreaming up the wild river trip.

Wendy’s book – Light on a Dark Canvas – http://www.lightonadarkcanvas.blogspot.com/ is pure inspiration and reading this incredible account of survival will bring to you the realization that Wendy is a truly remarkable Soul.


Light on a Dark Canvas – Wendy brought Light to all our Paintings, her Life Journey was a beautiful piece of art x

Today, 30th November, 2012 our art group met for our annual breakfast celebration and Wendy joined us in her words of inspiration as she lay in bed forcing each breath so that she could see her darling children one more time.  She sent this letter to us.


EPHESIANS 2v6: Now Glory be God who through his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of – infinitely beyond our highest prayers, dreams, thoughts or hopes.

Please all know that this is true for every one of you!  Please never think you can’t do something just because you don’t know how!

Angus Buchan:  If your dream isn’t so big that it can’t come true without God, it’s not big enough.

Everyone of us is unique with a unique contribution to make.  Much more important to God than our abilities is our availability.

Beethoven’s prayer – remember he went deaf – “Divine One, Thou lookest into my inmost soul, Thou knowest that love of man and desire to do good live therein.  O God, give me strength to conquer myself, nothing must chain my life”.

Wendy quoted this from memory on the work of Maurice Escher:  

“It was written in a book on Maurice Escher as a quotation at the top of that page in the same way I wrote quotations at the top of my chapters…”

“Tell us master, what is art?”

“Do you want to know what the bleating herd thinks of as art or what I think?”

“No master.  Tell us what you think.”

“When I see the path that a soul has wrought, that to me is art”.

Now why I love this so much is that technical abilities we can learn, but the path that a soul has wrought is ART – that’s what it is about.  That is what we can express uniqely that no one else in this world has the ability to express.  Accept the UNIQUE US!

It means that a three year old’s painting of wind in the trees is as valid as an art work as anything done by a professional – she has told HER TRUTH.

“This is the end of what I’ve needed to tell the art group” – Wendy Brown


A week ago Wendy invited her lady friends to participate in a wish from her “bucket list”.  We laughed about this while Wendy was in hospital in Knysna and never would be have believed we would all do the crazy wish!

In hospital and planning the wonderful naked swim - four of us laughing and plotting - Anni, Joy, Cheryl and Wendy
In hospital and planning the wonderful naked swim – four of us laughing and plotting – Anni, Joy, Cheryl and Wendy

It was Wendy’s wish to swim naked in the sea.  From her sick bed, Wendy arranged for the hire of a ferry to take us up the Keurbooms to a little natural beach and there we shared in the happy madness of the naked-to-the-world swim.

Beautiful women who have shared some part of Wendy’s life both here in Plett and some from early Rhodesia days arrived at the ferry with cool boxes of delicious food and champagne.  All aboard and Wendy arrived with her daughter, Cheryl, her sisters and niece – plus a substantially large tank of oxygen.

"For she's a jolly good fellow ......." Wendy arrives and we all sobbed.
“For she’s a jolly good fellow …….” Wendy arrives and we all sobbed.

“For she’s a jolly good fellow…” sung by all of us, teary eyed, seeing this beautiful lady bravely climb on board with us all.  Russel, our guide took us up river, about 7 kilometres into the pristine waters of this ancient place.

Keurbooms Lagoon a ride into deep peacefulness and beauty.
Keurbooms Lagoon a ride into deep peacefulness and beauty.




All aboard for a trip that none of us will ever forget.



w Wendy Anni Cheryl 20 Nov 2012 (8) - Copy

w Wendy Anni Cheryl 20 Nov 2012 (9) - Copy w Wendy Anni Cheryl 20 Nov 2012 (15) - CopyHats, bags, towels, food and trepidation – what had our friend spoken us into doing ..


w Wendy Anni Cheryl 20 Nov 2012 (20) - Copy w Wendy Anni Cheryl 20 Nov 2012 (21) - Copy w Wendy Anni Cheryl 20 Nov 2012 (23) - Copy

Wendy’s sisters came from their overseas homes to spend some crazy time with us and quality time with Wendy.

And then, the ferry pulled in at one of the beaches and we climbed off the ferry while Russel, our gallant guide, headed for the hills and stayed away to give the girls total privacy.  Wendy was the first one naked and then the panties and skirts flew and we all gathered on the beach in preparation for the cold water dip.Naked in our Truth


And the water was COLD and warm and refreshing.  The high tannin in the water made us all look tanned and young – not a dimple in sight


























If you think we look adorable with our clothes on - just wait ....
If you think we look adorable with our clothes on – just wait ….

IMG_0541 IMG_0624 w Wendy Anni Cheryl 20 Nov 2012 (18) - Copy






Dee - co-ordination Queen
Dee – co-ordination Queen
Wendy with her sisters
Wendy with her sisters







Naked in our Truth
Naked in our Truth
Oh it was so cold but if Wendy could do it, so could we.
Oh it was so cold but if Wendy could do it, so could we.
and when a chug-chug boat came by with fishermen, we welcomed them to the "secluded' spot with a show of excellence x
and when a chug-chug boat came by with fishermen, we welcomed them to the “secluded’ spot with a show of excellence x

DSCN2276 IMG_0601 IMG_0621

Our Private and "secluded" beach spot
Our Private and “secluded” beach spot
A rest for Wendy and on the lovely little beach.
A rest for Wendy and on the lovely little beach.
A circle of Love that we will hold in our Hearts forever. Bless you Wendy for being such an inspiration to us all. Our lives have been forever changed for Knowing YOU x
A circle of Love that we will hold in our Hearts forever. Bless you Wendy for being such an inspiration to us all. Our lives have been forever changed for Knowing YOU x



6 Replies to “Honouring a Special Friend – Wendy Brown”


    Thank you so much for sharing that Joy xx
    By now you will have heard that Wendy’s suffering is over. I didn’t get to know her very well but I loved her and felt drawn to her. She radiated a ‘specialness’.

  2. I first met Wendy Brown at Wendy Pretorious’s birthday tea early 2012. I had read her book, “Light on Dark Canvas”, about her life in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe. We had lived in Rhodesia during that time, early 60’s and 70’s, but had left in 1980, before it had become Zimbabwe. So we shared a lot of memories and friends.

    But we ran a guesthouse in Natures Valley, 30kms outside of Plettenberg Bay where Wendy lived, and our lives didn’t cross again until later in the year when we both took up the game of bridge, Wendy Pretorious being our teacher.

    We met regularly once a week for a couple of months, really enjoying this new exercise for our brains, and the new ladies in our lives.

    I was vaguely aware that Wendy had had cancer, but we never spoke about it, and she seemed very well, doing a book-signing trip to Cape Town by herself, and being very active and busy.

    So it was a great shock to hear, a few days after a fun afternoon of bridge, that she was in intensive-care in Knysna hospital with a collapsed lung. Wendy had gone in for a biopsy, and her lung had collapsed. She was gravely ill. Her family from all parts of the world, America, Spain, Cape Town, Zimbabwe, were making their way to visit her.

    Wendy’s husband had died earlier in the year, so Wendy did not want treatment to prolong the inevitable. She was quite happy to join him in heaven:
    heaven, a real place, a real destination for people with a living faith in the resurrected Jesus Christ.

    Last Wednesday, Anni Geldenhuys, one of the bridge group and I went with Shirley Hornby, our prayer group leader, to pray with Wendy. She was just coming off her oxygen treatment, but her vibrant personality was as strong as ever. It was then when Wendy repeated her wish to go up the Keurbooms River with a group of chosen friends and skinny dip. “I want to bare my body to God, even though I only have one breast, be naked before Him and the world, … here I am Lord…”

    Thursday I was laid low with excruciating toothache, had to cancel all my plans and take to bed with a pain pill. Someone phoned me and said I was invited to Keurbooms river ferry Friday, “be there at 9.45 with a bottle of champagne, a plate of food and a towel”.

    Friday morning dawned…..beautiful day….as only the Cape can give. I felt a glimmer of lfe.
    After our early morning coffee and usual Bible-reading, I prayed, “work in me Lord both to will and to do your good pleasure today, may I be in the right place at the right time”.
    Next thing I was out of bed, doing my Friday chores at great speed – the weekly staff wages, the invoices for our present guests, etc.etc. so that I could be dressed and ready in the car to get from the valley to Keurboooms river, a 30 minute trip, on time for the ferry. I took a pain-pill for my tooth on the way.

    Most of the group of 28 ladies, mostly late 60’s and early 70’s, were strangers to me; only familiar faces were the bridge ladies and Gill Woolfaart. After Wendy and her family were onboard, the ferry started down the Keurbooms river. Our driver and guide began his usual spiel, but we were too busy making new friends and adjusting to the situation than to absorb any of the interesting facts being sprouted.

    The champagne flowed, the food got shared around, the conversation became more animated. We all managed to get a special time alone with Wendy Brown. She made me feel like I was the most special person there. Everyone felt that aswell. We felt handpicked for this time. She explained to all of us that this was for her a second baptism, and a total surrender to God. A special hush fell over the group, a sheet of paper was handed out and we all sang a beautiful hymn. We all knew that we were in the presence of the Living God, and He saw each one of us, awesome.

    Way up the river, the ferry stopped at a secluded beach. Wendy and sisters disembarked, and took off their clothes. Most of us had expressed doubts about skinny-dipping. But as we saw how vulnerable Wendy was, lying there on the beach, with her battlescars of cancer so visible, one by one we joined them, leaving our pride and dignity, fear of man and insecurities behind us in a pile on the beach.

    The brown water was refreshing, the craggy rocks and bushes of the gorge surrounded us, the beauty of the blue sky, the wonder of nature and freedom of the moment was life-changing. We had all pushed through to a new level with our loving heavenly Father. We all knew
    We were His Beloved Daughters.

    Thank you Wendy Brown for this experience!

    Your loving friend and sister in the Lord,
    Pat Bond

  3. anni geldenhuys says:

    Dearest Joy! What a wonderful tribute! And Dearest Patti! You have said it all, for all of us! Wendy was an extraordinary woman who greatly enriched my life and opened my eyes to things I had never seen before. Her greatest legacy in my mind, is her extraordinary family: Sisters, son, daughter, in laws and grandchildren. They are unique and I feel privileged to have come along side them. Blessings on all of them, Wendy must be so proud!
    anni g

  4. Dee Pelham-Reid says:

    To follow on and slip into the slipstream of such eloquent and beautifully atmospheric words from Joy and others, is indeed a challenge.! Like others who felt that she was “My Wendy”, the chasm she has left behind has made me battle with my emotions the last few days. What depth, intellect, artistic talents in all the fields that are available to us is rare to find in one person.
    Her honesty and ability to say things to each one of us, that seemed inapplicable in their encouragement and observations felt a little like the mouthpiece of our loving Lord.
    Our experience with her on that trip up the Keurbooms, left a sense of deep spritual longing to achieve the same uncluttered and unfestered love and intimacy with our loving Father. Oh how shallow is our depth of understanding not only of one another but of Christ in our lives. Blessed and loved.
    To have had the honour and delight in organsing our trip up the river was just up my street. Wendy said I would ! The sense of being able to break down barriers and slightly take some aback when considering the impact this trip on some of our lives, was literally awesome and such fun! What a privilege to have been able to speak to her and tell her how her life has impacted on so many of us while she was alive and could hear it. Not too much too late!!
    Thank you too everybody for being so co-operative.

    It will be quite strange not to have some pretty deep chats about a wide variety of subjects,and slaver over peices of poetry amongst others, just at the other end of the telephone, nor the wise solutions to various challenges. The ridiculous humour which caused us to belly laugh and the several glasses of wine which accompanied it.
    So I intend to live life to the full and make sure that I too have a short and wholesome “bucket list”.
    What a woman and what a life!
    Dee Pelham-Reid

  5. Gill Wolfaardt says:

    Having just read Pat’s comment, all the wonderful memories returned. The doubts about the skinny dipping, Wendy’s vulnerability and humility and her desire to be totally yielded to Jesus, the sisterly solidarity as we joined her and stood together with her in her transition. It was an amazing moment…unforgettable and unique, just like Wendy. Back on the ferry after a few anxious moments for Wendy, her sisters settled her with her oxygen and one by one several of us spoke and it felt like a living memorial, a time to say some of the things that only get said at a funeral. It was a holy moment and I thank God so much for His amazing salvation which allows us to be real even in the face of death.”Oh death where is your victory, oh death where is your sting?” Thank God Jesus paid the price for us. All glory to Him for Wendy’s life and how wonderful to know we will all be reunited with her and all our loved ones in eternity. My heart wants to burst with gratitude!

  6. anni geldenhuys says:

    HOW to answer you, dearest Tinks?

    God works in the MOST extraordinary ways!

    A month ago, I’d never met you. Today, I love you like a sister ?
    How to explain that? I cannot, other than to say that Wendy and God together, are an amazing “duo” of love ?

    I do now so regret not standing up, and giving her tribute during the ‘open time’ at the service, but, there were many issues. Mainly, I did not trust myself. But let me share with you now.

    “ I am probably the newest of Wendy’s friends; meeting only a mere nine months ago at Wendy P’s birthday breakfast, to which she asked me to invite your sister. But Wendy Brown had a ‘quality’ that did not relate to ‘quantity’. We had instant rapport, for which I will be eternally grateful. I am not an artist or a Methodist, but we did so much other stuff together; from movies, to wine, to literary lunches. Ha, ha. We laughed. She enthused and criticized MY literary efforts, but taught me much !! The latest best times we had, were with Wendy P, who brought us ‘Bridge Babes’ together, to teach us the game ! What amazing we had! Great teacher! Great fellowship! Great love! Wonderful friends. How blessed I am to have Patti, Joy and Dawn in my life now!”

    When Wendy drove back from Cape Town, mere months ago, she was tired and suspected the worst. Scans proved she was right.

    I had also just returned from a five week trip away, and we agreed that we would spend some serious quality time with God, which included very early morning walks on the beach, where we discussed ‘Life’,’ Eternity’, ‘Purpose’ and the “Incredible Lightness of Being”…… She humbled me!…… I watched this amazing woman, leap into the air, clapping her hands, as a dog, leapt similarly, to catch a ball thrown by its master!

    We discussed a “bucket list”, which, because it was Wendy Brown’s, was brought fully to fruition.

    Wendy had an inner beauty that was so extraordinary that it not only radiated out onto many other spheres, it attracted them like a magnet!!
    She absorbed the Gift of the Creator, and then created herself! Through His power and might, she saw beauty, and translated it through art; writing; speaking; cooking; farming; family….The list is endless. Wendy Brown was EXACTLY what we are supposed to be. Not a single judgmental bone in her body, she loved with the love of the Lord and was the disciple that we have all been called to be.

    Personally, to me: She opened my eyes to things that I have never seen before, and gave me a glimpse of how God possibly sees things? I will always view people differently: and dogs: and skies.

    She left a legacy that is far greater than her books, her art, her cook books (which I tried to pack up), and every other tangible creation of her hands. She left a genetic profile which is quite exceptional. Pauline, Tinks, Scotty, Trish, Cheryl darling, Kev, Russel, precious Tam, Sharon, Deanie, Sean, lovely Emma!………. You are wonderful! Thank you for having me into your family, and allowing me to have a part in what Wendy had shared with me, in such a short, brief time. God’s ‘ time’ has no limits. I love you.

    Tinks, Your courage, Scot’s and Cheryl’s were inspiring at Wendy’s celebration, but Tam! Your gran would have been overwhelmed by the dance that you put together!! Remember how excited she was in the bedroom, when you danced that day before? Precious baby girl !

    Dawn, you are the best friend anyone could ever pray for. I pray that I have someone like you getting my back one day. You just demonstrated courage! Thank you!

    Dearest Tamsin, I will see you again, and look forward. Thank you for the time that we had together. I have been blessed.

    Love and God Bless you,

    anni g xxxxxxxxx

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