From the mystical to the culinary, FABIans went on a sensory trip down memory lane and around the world in celebration of their living heritage as South Africa marked National Heritage Day on 24 September. Thirteen FABIans submitted stories and poems on their connections to plants, pests and pathogens for a collection titled “Picking the Fruit of the Heritage Tree”. PhD candidate Josephine Queffelec spearheaded and edited this initiative in celebration of 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health, which you can read here.

The narratives were as diverse as the origins of the contributors, spanning Chile, Colombia, Ethiopia, France, India, Japan, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. From trees that connect the dead to the living, insects that are welcomed with ceremony and traditional beer to aphrodisiac “big bottomed ants” and plants to keep in your “herbal first aid box”, FABIans revealed fascinating glimpses to their ancestry, childhoods and the richness of the idioms in their languages and cultures in their creative submissions.