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The Legend of Hole in the Wall

Legend tells the story of a beautiful girl who lived near the lagoon. She would sit on the edge of the cliff and stare out to the sea. Unlike her people who were land people and feared the sea, she was attracted to its power and the way in which each wave was different. And so, one night, she went beyond the cliff to the shore of the sea. Out of the waves came one of the sea people. He was as tall as she was, with silky flowing hair like the waves. He had supple wrists and ankles and flipper-like hands and feet. He said he had watched her often and admired her, and now he had come because he wanted her to be his wife.

The girl told her father about the man from the sea but her father would have none of it and shouted “We do not trade our daughters with sea people!” and forbade her from ever seeing him again. But the girl slipped away in the dark to meet up with her sea lover and told him of her father’s response. Her sea lover said she must wait until high tide to see how he would prove his love for her. This she did, with the suspicious villagers following her. The villagers saw thin willowy sea people on top of the cliff carrying a mighty fish that they used to batter the rock, carving a hole through the centre of the cliff and creating a passage from the lagoon to the open sea. With the force of the tide behind it, a great spout of water gushed through the Hole in the Wall, and on the wave came hundreds of sea people singing and shouting with joy. Riding the wave in front of them was the girl’s sea lover. He stretched out his arms and the girl moved to join him. As the wave retreated, foaming and frothing, the girl went with the sea people back through the hole in the rock wall and was never seen again.

According to Xhosa people, on nights when the tide is high, the sea people can be heard above the roar of the waves as they rush through the Hole in the Wall in their search for a bride.

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