From time to time I welcome guest writers to join An Elephant in my Suitcase (here, on Facebook and Instagram) reflecting life through their eyes.

My introduction to Ralph, today’s guest, was through a fellow wildlife lover. She belongs to a hugely popular Facebook Blog, 1.5 Million followers, aptly named “Kruger Sightings”, where she first stumbled upon him. Back in 2019, when living outside Kruger National Park, “An Elephant in my Suitcase” was born and my entire life revolved around a husband – Chris, a gentle kitty – Scamper and all things wildlife / nature and game reserves in Southern Africa. On this platform like minded people share their gifts – be it photography, writing, walking trails through the bush, saving Rhino – to building Lodges .

Adele Du Toit writes, “Ralph Sibande your stories literally saved me when I was sick with homesickness! I taught English in Vietnam for 2 months. I learned that cultural shock is something physical that happens to your brain when your eyes don’t see familiar things for an extended time. I’m a child of Africa and your stories satisfied all my senses. You replied to one of my comments and it meant so much to me, sitting in my tiny little apartments without any windows”.

Recently Gary Mulder messaged the author of song-stories, “Ralph, You surely understand the Spirit of “THE SOUL”.

Ralph’s stories, which ring like songs, had me hooked, together with thousands of his followers around the globe. His writings are gentle, easy to read and encourage us to escape for 5 minutes. Perfect in this day and age.

George Roth writes “Hello Ralph, So pleased to get your latest news ” (returning to putting pen to paper post Covid worldwide news, shock, changes and the new norm) “because although photos of sightings are always great you bring a special life to them when you tell your stories attached to them. I have missed your stories recently especially we are no longer able to travel to the area. Thanks”

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Herewith his Biography;

“Hi. My name is Ralph; I’m a grandfather, a story-singer and bush word-spiritualist.

In Africa we don’t tell stories but we sing them – that’s because it takes as much love, care and wisdom in choosing and putting together the parts and words of a story – as in composing a song.

We are therefore going to travel together in the bushveld and meet it’s spirit – the purpose of our stories – to find the spirit of the African skies, rivers, hills, rocky outcrops, landscapes, roads, trees, and animals, and hopefully hear their stories first hand as we “sing” them together.

Ngiyabonga – thank you “

Recently resurfacing on Facebook he received a fond welcome back by 213 followers, who took the time to say they’d missed him. It is so warming to realise we mean something to other people and contribute positively to their everyday lives.

in 2020 South Africans could not travel for months (along with the entire world!), even into our own nature reserves close-by. How does one find inspiration during these times? You all know how it feels – been there, done that, got those damned Covid t’shirts!.

Although he says he has not had the opportunity to return to the bush yet, he has gathered momentum once again as have most of us. Well done for picking up your pen and song-writing once again.

Finally, in parting I quote Dorothy Marcus, “Love your story telling Ralph. So invigorating. Helps one get through the day during these tough times we are living through and transports us to a beautiful place where we can feel at peace with nature.

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