carine hartman 2021

By Carine Hartman

Chief sub-editor

A rhino blanket for Amanda

Let's knit a rhino blanket for Amanda, our beloved news editor who adored rhinos.

Let’s knit a blanket for Amanda. Well, actually for a rhino to keep that thick skin warm this winter but hell, our beloved news editor adored rhinos.

A week before her death I sent Miss Watson the irreverent little story of women in Pretoria – where else? – every year knitting ridiculously small squares sewn together to ridiculously throw it over some displaced rhino’s back. She loved it.

Amanda Watson: A tribute to a destiny helper lost to grief

But the 200-odd word story never saw the light of day because neither of us knew she’ll take her last breath three days later.

I never tell women I love them – apart from my daughter – but I unashamedly loved Amanda. And told her umpteenth times: “Did I tell you lately that I love you?”

And without fail I’ll get: “I love you too.” But the last time she added: “I’m not dying, I refuse to.” Only, she did. And broke my heart.

She died at 7 in the morning. An old lover followed her at 10 that evening, but she dimmed his light.

My heart was soaring with Amanda; I, in her words, tjiengtjieng her every night with a glass of red.

But I know her poison was hard tack. Like her façade of camos and unkempt hair and messy pony tail. And her love for rocks. She sampled them far and wide I heard by the way.

So when I pitched up with some crystals out of a bottle holding a door open, my three stones got pride of place – the photograph told me – next to her desk surrounded by her certificates and all things precious.

And she was precious. For me. I didn’t know Amanda. But I think of words like “reeling”, or Julian Barnes’ Levels of Life: “What is taken away is greater than the sum of what was there. This may not be mathematically possible, but it is emotionally possible.”

ALSO READ: Amanda Watson obituary

And as the last of the summer thunderstorm flashes across the sky tonight and tears fall from heaven (forgive me, it does; it’s Amanda) I do the mathematically possible and ask emotionally: let’s knit a rhino blanket for Amanda.

She’d love you for ever…

• Blankets for Rhinos is a registered charity. Full blanket size 1.2m x 1.2m. Or knit squares of 20cm x 20cm that Jenny Forrest of Charming Wool will stitch together.

There’s no deadline but winter is the perfect time, Forrest says. Contact her on forrest@ or 084-511-3016.

Or you can drop it off or mail it to her shop at Mary Lynn Square, 566 Serene Street, Garsfontein, 0881.

Now that’s a legacy, Amanda. You rest now…

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