The traveller’s joy, or Clematis brachiata, is a common climber plant that brings a silvery sheen to some bare thorn branches in the Magaliesberg at the onset of winter. A swathe of light leafy growth may envelop a tree or shrub, claiming a good share of sunlight from its host. The plant produces many small white petalled flowers with small brushes of creamy stamens from February to May.
Many indigenous tribes have handed down knowledge of medicinal uses for this plant to later generations since times immemorial. In the case of traveller's joy we know of chest ailments and "blood strengtheners" after difficult childbirth.
The African bush is full of plants thus utilised for all imaginable ailments. Retaining and studying this lore are the more manageable challenges. Tracing the real history of how this knowledge was created and what sacrifices and heartbreak lies behind its acquisition, is infinitely bigger. Maybe mostly never to be known again.