Opkyk

“Belief is a wise wager. Granted that faith cannot be proved, what harm will come to you if you gamble on it’s truth and prove it false? Wager then, without hesitation, that He exists.” Blaise Pascal

Eergisteraand kon ek nie slaap nie. Dit was net daai kriewelrige gevoel, jy weet, daai een van hiernatoe en daarnatoe draai en later skape tel, en finally byna tjank van frustrasie want die brein wil dan nou nie die liggaam se tjaila tyd sirene verstaan nie, en boonop gil die genadelose rukwind hier buite allerhande obscenities en teken goed teen die mure wat nie so is nie vir ‘n mens en later gee jy maar op en lê net magteloos die donker en in staar. Om presies 04h30 gooi ek boedel oor, soos die oumense sê. Ek gaan maak koffie. Ek sluit die deur agter ons werkende jong man om 05h30, maar nie voordat ek sien hoedat die wind sy slender frame vooroor laat buig nie. Jirre, dié wind. Ek hou nie van die wind nie!

My foon vibrate so ‘n uur later en ek sien dis n video van my Suurbraak niggie. Dit brand!! In !Xairu. Dit lyk verskriklik. En ek hoor hoedat my oom, Jakob of Poisa soos hulle hom noem, se buurvrou Merc angstig gil vir hom om uit die huis uit pad te gee want die vlamme is byna op sy dak. Daai vlamme het so dreigend gelyk op die video, ek wou opspring en sommer soontoe. My lyf is vol adrenalien en ek drentel in die huis rond soos n besetene. My oom! Relax maar, laat weet my niggie later, hy is uit. Hulle het hom uitgehaal en na veiligheid geneem.

Ek wys vir my pa die video en hy betrag die storie in stilte, terwyl ek hom betraand staan en aan kyk.

“Waaroor skrie jy, ” vra hy vererglik. “Dis God se werk, ons kan daar niks aan doen nie. ”

“Ja, ma’ wat gaan ok nou met die Here aan, ” vra ekke kwaad , ” mens kry kan klaar nie lekker asem kry onder die maskers nie en nou stuur Hy dié wind en vuur en rook ok nog virie mense en ek praat nie eers van die binnekant se verstikkings nie – wil Hy dan nou mens binne en buitekant gelyk stukkend maak, dis mossie reg nie”  ek kry so vuil kyk terug laat ek maar defeated retreat kamer toe, terselfdertyd nou nog banger oor ek my aangekap het vir, volgens Derrie, die Great One se handewerk en ook my magteloosheid en vrees dat my oom dalk in die vuur kon omkom. Ek meen man, dis dan ou Poisa. Een van my heel favourite mense in die crazy wêreld waarin ons leef. Dis dan hy wat, as hy my sien vir my met sy dralende bry aksent sê, “djy moet R10 gie, djy, ek wil vir my ‘n pakkie twak koop.”

Dis dan ou Poisa wat sê my suster moet warm beesmis aan haar verstuite enkel smeer om die swelsel te laat sak.

“Djou pa weet dié goed, vig wat sê hy nie vi’ djulle nie?”

En dan die vererglike response wat my my maag laat vashou van die lag wanneer Derrie hom altyd aanspreek oor die kondisie van die bouvallige huis waarin hy wat Poisa is,  woon.

“Djy wil djou te vigbeél, djy”, sê hy altyd vies vir Derrie en sleep dan hande agter die rug terug na sy kaia toe, waar hy sy lockdown spandeer.

My niggie laat weet my heelwat later dat die vuur onder beheer gebring is.

Ek wonder later of my reaksie op die voorval, nie net ‘n side effect is van waar en hoe ons onsself bevind in die tyd waarin ons leef nie. Ek meen, maskers en geweld en moord op vroue en kinders en riots. Ewige vrees. Jy sit heeldag in palpetic adrenalic afwagting dat (nog) iets slegter op pad is. Jy is gebonde, mentally en physically.

“Dissie mee lekker om te lewe nie, ” het ek nou al twee keer gehoor my pa sê, veral wanneer hy sy masker moet opsit vir n trip dokter toe en ek het by die tweede keer byna hardop gesê, “I feel ya’, Derrie.”

Ek meen, kyk nou net. Die virus maak halfpad loonies van ‘n mens. Jy kan nie meer vryelik rond beweeg nie. Met oop gesig die vars lug en sonskyn geniet wanneer jy vir ‘n walk gaan nie. Jy’s permanent agterdogtig en vra “wat kyk jy” vir ‘n ou vriend as hy jou te lank aan staar van agter sy masker want jy’s nie seker wie dit is nie. Ouma Mary sê sy’s hartseer oor ons nou so moet loop nou die dag toe ek en Penny die doughnuts wat sy verkoop by die Munisipaliteit gaan deliver en ons ouma Mary daar raakloop en ek word toe ook verval met hartseer toe Penny my net betyds keer: ” Audrey! Jy kan nie vir aunty Mary n drukkie gee nie.” Jirre tog, ek is dan lief vir ouma Mary en ek kan haar nie eers ‘n drukkie gee nie! Woede vul my en verslae defeat.

“Vee af die goed met ‘n nat lap wat julle by die winkel gaan koop, ander mense vat daar aan en die virus sit dalk daaraan”, maan ek eindeloos die kinders en my ouers in die huis.

Die paranoia is psychotic. En dan die oor en oor vir Derrie verduidelik hoekom hy nie sy ander kleinkind nou kan sien nie, daai is ‘n ander saak.

Die captivity is ondraaglik. Ek mis my familie en vriende. Ek wil vir hulle gaan kuier en dominoes kap en sit en goeters praat met yskas terte en Jive koeldrank of Castle lite by die braai. Ek wil sit en ancient  love songs luister saam met Cathy en face to face maskerloos vir haar vra sy moet vir my stukke vertel van Heidelberg se mense. Ek wil vir my ytvat in my beste en mooiste klere en vir Marsha Armada Ross my make – up en naels laat doen beter as die beste artiste, sodat ek dan lyk soos daai mense oppie tv en dan gaan ons twee people watch by die Kaapse Waterfront en agterna uit die maag lag vir ons altwee se flirtasies met killer smile waiters en ons geskinder van mense wat ons nie eers ken nie.

Ek wil gaan park run. Ek wil ‘n rugby game van Swellies gaan kyk of ‘n netball game waar Gerald sy vernuf as skeidsregter vertoon wanneer hy soos n ballet dancer op en af spring om foute uit te wys en punte toe te staan, sy kuif wapperend in die wind. Jirre, wanneer gaan ek ooit weer dié goed kan doen? Meer belangrik nog, gaan ek dit ooit weer inderdaad kan doen soos voorheen?

Laatmiddag vandag ry ek en Derrie saam met ‘n vriend na Suurbraak om te gaan kyk of Poisa oraait is en oppad soontoe vergaap ek my aan die ongerepte natuur en landskap en besef ek ten spyte van al die gloom omni – present en die feit dat ons dalk nooit weer dinge sal kan doen soos wat ons altyd arrogantly aanvaar het is ons as mens se free prerogative nie, is daar nog veel om te sien en ervaar, so duplicatory as wat dit mag wees. Elke keer empower mens se inner soul, die groot Power wat jou menswees dryf, om elke ondervinding gloriously te relive – van nuuts af en natuurlik afhangend met watter oë jy kyk. En hoop en geloof, al hang dit soms aan ‘n threadbare flentertjie. Maar daarsonder, is ek sekerlik ‘n tandeknersende, bol van leè niksheid.

Geloof is vir my die palet van kleur waarmee die naartjies en lemoene aan die bome kompeteer en byna vir jou dare om te vra wie is die helderste. Dit is die geel van Canola blomme wat jou instinktief daarna wil laat uitreik om te voel of dit real is. Dit is die kleur van die berge waarvoor dit onmoontlik is om name te gee, want die refleksie is anders wanneer spierwit reënwolkies dit in so ‘n spookasemrige omhelsing toevou as toe die laatmiddag sonnetjie met ons terugwaarts huistoe, deurbreek en dit vir ‘n paar minute lank in die blouste shade van blou herskep.

Geloof is vir my die tydlose gemak en grasie waarmee beeste van die melkstal af drentel, oblivious van ons met al ons issues.

Geloof is vir my die peperboom in my oom se yard wat middeldeur geknak is deur die wind, maar binnekort sal herrys in ander vorm, skeef en krom albeit, maar regop sal hy weer kom, al neem dit nog 20 jaar, want sy wortel lê diep geplant.

Geloof is die spierwit water strome wat tydloos en onverstoor teen die beeldskone berge in !Xairu afloop en paadjies uitkerwe oor eeue heen.

Hoop is die angsvolle roep van Merc na Poisa om hom sy veiligheid te verseker teen dreigende vuur gevaar, te midde van sekerlik haar eie angs en vrees.

Hoop is die lig van die hand in ‘n vriendelike groet, al ken ons nie mekaar nie.

Hoop is Layla, my 13 jarige susterskind wat vir my sê-vra hoekom waai die voëls op die dak dan nie ook weg nie? En ek met verslae verwondering besef dit is waar wat die kind praat.

Hoop is die katjiepiering boom in ons buurman se yard, wat haar man defiantly staan teen die kaalstropende stormwind en met leedvermaak haar groen blaartjies wys wat bly klou het in die aftermath van die wind se vicous onslaught.

Hoop is Monwabisi, ons blinde aspirant Mount Everest klimmer wat vanmiddag vir my sê: “Onthou, ek as lief va djou, né. ”

Hoop is ‘n vriend se ma en ek wat vir mekaar gemasker aanstaar in Checkers totdat recognition deurbreek en sy vir my vingerkie swaai in acknowledgement en ons met die oë vir mekaar glimlag en ‘n drukkie gee.

Ek besef om aan sceptism te succumb is futiel. Ek klou dan eerder vas aan dit wat ek verseker weet. En dit is dat niks, maar niks everlasting is.  Nie die virus nie, nie vure nie, nie vloede nie, nie wind nie. Net die amper blye kennis dat ek eintlik ook maar niks weet nie, en dat ek net met relieved verwagting die Force agter die stuur van hierdie lewe moet volg, want om alles wat in die lewe gebeur te bevraagteken is net vir my eie detriment.

Intussen is die lewe daar. Gebonde ja. Gemasker ja. Maar ek het nog oë, my ore en yes, my stem. Totdat dit alles weg is, kan ek lééf. En soos ou Poisa sê vamiddag: ” djy moet net opkyk waantoe spring die vieg.”

Peace unto you all.

Copyright.

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t forget to remember…

“We are born of love. Love is our mother. ” Rumi

A note or two before you continue reading.

*I detest telling of own good deeds done, but this time I have to include to pronounce the impact if this virus on my already cracked doorstep *

* I am sharing the post because all of it weighs too heavy, I do not want the weight of it alone and because I know there are other people feeling the crush of inadequacy too. *

* Main purpose of this post is to ask that we share. Also with those asking wordlessly. The effects of this virus is far from over. *

My phone ran out of data this morning, so early afternoon I took a walk to the shop down the street.

I don’t know what made me focus on her. My eye just caught her.

I kept the required social distance, but I couldn’t tear my eyes away from this young girl.  Dressed in the maroon and grey of one of our high schools. With pink pumps where her school shoes should have been. Hair tied hastily backward with the fingers perhaps?  A closer look revealed the grey trousers must have been thrown on in a rush, it has not seen an iron. No white shirt underneath the maroon top to complete the top half of the school uniform.

She was focused on the phone in her hand. Just looking down on it. I doubt any conversation going on, maybe she was just playing games on the phone, and in that manner keeping her head down turned, so as to match the curve her mouth made when she briefly looked up. Or to hide the infinite sadness lurking behind the surface of defiance.

I  went into the shop and got my data and cracked a joke with the shopkeeper, keeping my eye on the door, I caught her taking a left turn, but slowing down, almost as if she wants to come into the shop too, but her movements were hesitant, her head still bent towards the phone.

I stood watching her for a minute and then knowing my time for being in the shop is about done, I called out to her.

She came running, almost as if she knew I was watching her.

How many children are in your house, I asked her, thinking that the two packets of instant noodles I placed on the counter would suffice in assuaging my now hammering conscience to just “do something”.

Auntie, there is my ma and pa and my brother and my little brother and…I didn’t wait for the rest of her breathless reply, maybe because I could’t look in her expectant, sad eyes anymore and I told the shopkeeper I wanted to return the  instant noodles and instead bought a packet of spaghetti, an onion and a can of bully beef, putting together a meal that would feed the family for this day, owing the shop R7 after I paid with the R30 I had on hand. I gave it to her and said, give to your ma, telepathically hoping her mother would understand the recipe I hastily put together.

She feverishly said thank you with downcast eyes and abruptly left. Turning back to the way she came. As I was making my own way back home behind her, it came to me that she was on her way somewhere else when I first saw her. She was half running back now.  Strides much, more purposeful. The onion and canned goods were stuffed in the side pockets of the maroon top she was wearing. Where was the spaghetti? Hidden perhaps underneath the top? Why was she hiding the food? Scared of (hungry) thieves perhaps?

I took the turn back to my home and she disappeared from my sight. But I carried her with me. I felt heavy with her burden. Hers, and her mother and father’s. I couldn’t her out of my head. I wondered if they have a little oil to fry the onion in. Or mushroom soup to make a pasta sauce with. Or a kettle to boil water in. I wondered if they have an iron, because why was her pants so creased? I wondered if she has a hairbrush, because all of her hair did not make it to the scrunchie and were just protruding from all sides. Or was she late to go collect her food at school and didn’t make it in time?

I wondered about the young girl all afternoon. I couldn’t stop fidgeting. Eventually I settled on watching a movie. The lion king. (Don’t laugh, everybody I know loves Timone and Pumba!) And what I thought would make me feel childlike in my belief that the world is a good place after all, turned into a depressing mood when the movie started with the ruthless Scar chasing this helpless little mouse telling that it about life’s unfairness, how some are born to feast, all the while mauling the poor little mouse around with it’s big paw…I switched the movie off at that.

A wave of even more sadness hit me then. And guilt. I felt guilty that I never in my whole life was forced to know what hunger was / is. With no expectation of where my next meal was gonna come from.  I felt guilty that, hard as I grew up, I never had to fight for running water.  I felt guilty that tonight I will have a shower and soap and body lotion and sleep in my double bed with no seven other sibling breaths in my face. I felt guilty that I know she deserves better, but I am unable to provide her with more and so many others in her position.

I kept seeing this young girl in front of me. I regretted not getting her name. I regretted not asking her mother’s name. If she has the stuff that girls need that time of the month. I regretted not asking her where she was headed in the first place.

Then I envisioned myself in her shoes. The lady with the loudhailer yesterday afternoon announced that there will be food again at school today. The young girl went with her container, took her food home and she shared her meal with her family. But that it is obviously not enough to feed them all for a whole day. So maybe she decided to take a walk to just get away, from the wailing of her little brother crying for food, or perhaps other family matters. Maybe, by the time she gets home, her and her family’s troubles would have just magically disappeared. She might have been praying for a momentary miracle.

I don’t know. Just speculating.  I know that there have always been people far worse off than me. Excrutiatingly worse. And it has been the case since before the corona virus hit our doorstep. But sometimes we forget. And we carry on as if it’s only our problems that matter. We forget to care. We moan and groan about nitty little things. We take what we have for granted. I want to not look at the worries and pains of others because I have enough of my own.  And disaster strikes and sadly it becomes as Scar told the little mouse, some are born to be in the dark.

Today, I  thank this young girl for reminding me to be much, much more grateful for what I have.  And that, in sharing what little I have, I can make a huge, huge difference, whether it be a can of bully beef or just a simple word of encouragement or even just an acknowledgement of presence. Or just be an (unknowing) participant for someone else’s silent plea for a miracle to occur, temporarily albeit just to extend hope for one more day and,

All the time.

Peace unto you all.

Copyright

 

 

 

Van daar na hier.

IMG-20191002-WA0019“From there to here. From here to there. Funny things are everywhere. ” Dr Seuss

Vandag, presies n maand gelede, begin ek my reis na Nederland om vir drie maande hier by my vriendin en homegirl, Milly, te vertoef.

Ek verlaat my tuisdorp om 10h00 daardie Maandagoggend en reis na CT International om my vlug om 18h20 te haal na Dubai waar ek n change over moet doen om my connecting flight na Schipol, Amsterdam te kry.  Van my reisgenote is n ZA skole toutrek span, (o jirrie maar hulle kan babbel en nie eers die kinders nie, die pa’s is die ergste!) Ek stap  deur die hek om te board toe die call kom en oe! My blydskap, want hier sit Braam Du Toit ook😂, Swellendam se musikale genius en my nervs en trepidations oor vliegtuie wat gaan val en plane highjackers verdwyn. You are not alone, eggo Michael Jackson hier in my agterkop en dit voel ek kan die Bart Simpson begin doen! Ons klets die wagtyd om. Ongelooflik, sê Braam, ons sien mekaar beswaarlik by die huis, maar ons kry mekaar altyd aan’t reis. ń Bus of soos nou, op ń vliegtuig. En die tyd gaan vinnig om en ons board en ek het n centre seat en Braam sit twee rye verder en ek is toe sommer weer net òp oor ons nie langs mekaar kan sit nie, maar ja. Nou kry ek maar my sit, lang sit. Ek vind moeilik om te slaap, kan nie. Wie kan op jou mees vulnerable sit slaap tussen twee totale vreemdelinge, al is dit vroue? Wat van kwyltjies wat uitloop en windjies wat onderlangs ontsnap en snorre terwyl jy diep in droomland kuier, terwyl die medereisigers vir jou baie ge-irriteerd aankyk en dalk vir jou lag? Ek gaan nie. Ek slaap nie. Not a dém. In plaas daarvan sit en verkyk ek vir my aan die air hostesses met hulle se perfect make up en nog meer perfect lyfies. En net hoe hulle hul job doen. Verder luister ek na die geklets van die toutrek pappa met sy twee kinders.

My horlosie wys 03h00 am en ons touch down op “everything gold” Dubai. My en Braam se paadjies skei hier. Hy gaan na Venesiè vir ‘n film fees. Ook verlaat die toutrek mense my, ek het gehoor hulle is op pad na Ierland en ek weet nie of ek moet bly of sad wees nie, want hier verlaat my huistaal en self Engels my nou sekerlik totdat ek ses of so ure later in Amsterdam aankom, en dissie lekke nie hoor😐, maar ja. Ik ga verder, soos die Hollanders sê.  Ek  vervies vir my vreeslik vir die vrou by die entrance toe ek vra by watter boarding gate ek moet wees vir Schipol en sy vir my aankyk of ek heeltemal besimpeld is om so ń vraag te vra en ek wil vir haar sê: kykie goose, hoor hiesô… maar ek bedink my en ek sê vir myself, Audrey, jy kan nie nou kom @&#!$ makie, dié mense ga vi djou innie woestyn aflaai, en ek lig my kop op en ek stap verder aan, nes ek die owner is van ń prvate jet.

05h00 am wys Dubai se Rolex  muur horlosie en die call kom en ek board ń emirates airbus. Yaaayyy, ek het n isle seat. Kan na die ablusie geriewe sonder om elke keer te vra, askies kan ek verby kom. Die vlug is nog langer as die vorige en die staff ook baie vriendeliker, maar by nou is ek regtig gatvol van vliegtuie, vliegtuig kos en die aaklige vliegtuig koffie.

Vyf ure later land die airbus op Schipol en my verligting is grooooooot. Nou gaan ek my homegirl sien en ons gaan Afrikaans praat en ons gaan héppie wees. Ek gaan kry my luggage en ek kom uit en ek sien haar nie. O jirre, wat nou!!!! Ek gaan kry vir my n (slegte) koffie en dink. Sy soek vir my. Dit weet ek vir seker. Maar hoe kontak ek haar? MTN se reach het lankal verdwyn. O hel, kyk die klomp mense. Sy gaan my nooit kry nie. Oe jirrie mammie, wat ga vamy word!!!!

Ek staan op ‘n oop kol sodat sy my dalk kan sien maar na die koffie klaar is, stoot ek my bagasie trollie en begin rondvra waar kan ek n SIM kaart kan kry.  Recht door lopen, sê die vriendelike auntie van die koffie shop vir my en ek loop tot waar ek ‘n sellulêre winkel sien en vir die jong outjie agter die toonbank in futile dutch probeer verduidelik wat ek soek. Ietsie telepaties ontsnap hom en hy besef ek soek internet konneksie! Aha, sê hy en hou sy hand uit vir my foon. Hy connect vir my op die gratis wifi (ken jy dommer as ekke op daai moment!) Ek whatsapp my maatjie en ons connect en vyf minute later is sy daar. Oe jirrie die emotions is too much to mention. Maar ja. Ik ga verder. Ek whatsapp my fémilie om te sê eks veilig en my Dutch journey begins.

Liefmans (ń tipe rosé biertjie wat ek ken van my waitress dae op Swellendam by die Old Mill Restaurant) is my verwelkomingsdrankie en Jellie, my vriendin se jarelange buurvrou is die kok en maak vir ons hoender eenpot wat my alte veel laat dink aan huis kos en dis n vroeë aand en ek slaap soos n klip en ek word wakker om 07h40 die volgende oggend met Milly wat glimlaggend daar staan en sê ek het 15 minute om klaar te maak want ons gaan nou met haar seun na die skool toe fiets!!! My gees, my psige is nie voorberei hiervoor nie. Ek doen my ablusie en gooi vinnig iets aan en daar staan by rytuig, dik deurie slaap. Hart wat in my keel tamboer maar ek sè vir haar niks hiervan.  Ek het laas n bike gery sowat dertig jaar gelede. Daai dag het die bike my gegooi soos n perd wat meteens steeks geraak het en ek nie die brieke kon kry nie en ek anderkant die draad amper op die treinspore anderkant Theunissen straat beland het en my kniekoppe byna vergruis was en ek nou nog die scars van dra en een van die mense in die straat daar vir my water uit n jém blik gebring het vir die skok. En hier moet ek weer klim????  O Here, hou my hand vas, bid ek saggies.

Ons gaan stadig fiets, sè Milly. Alles gaan regkom. Maklik vir jou om te sê, dink ekke maar sê niks en na ń paar minute se wankelrigheid kry ek my sit en my trap en ek fiets, soos wat hulle hier sê. Sy begelei my. Haar seun, Jim, is fort, maar wag vir ons by elke verkeerslig. Ek is stom oor die aantal trapfietse op die paaie. Op meeste plekke het hulle right of way. En hier sit ek en ek word deel van die fiets massa. Hou net regs, sè Milly, en volg net vir my. Ek konsentreer egter te veel om net om die blerrie bike te bly, as om baie veel ander raak te sien. Op een kol, vloek twee meisietjenners na my kant toe, toe ek onbewustelik voor hul inswenk. Godverdomme! swets hulle altwee byna gelyk en ek voel ek ga nou regtag in trane uitbars. Byna by die skool en hier loop ‘n man houtmak voor die bike in en skree Milly, Audrey! stop en my briektrap, laat my byna weer n Fleur Van Eeden triek doen bo oor soos jare gelede, maar ek het mos !Xairu bene gekry oor die jare. Soos n Suurbraakse boom gaan staan my linkerbeen stokstyf langs die bike laat die onnoselike bliksem kan verby kom. Kan jy nie kyk waar jy loop nie, maak ek gereed om te skrie vir hom, maar Milly se hand op my arm keer my en sy wys af ondertoe na waar die skepsel geloop het. Voetoorgang. Ja, ok, en ek sluk my vernedering en ons fiets verder. En ek dink nie ek is gemaak vir dié stront nie. Maar ik ga verder.

Ons lewer vir Jim by sy skool af en ek en Milly fiets terug en ek survive my eerste fiets ry dag! Hoera vir my!!!

Dag twee en ons herhaal die vorige dag wat betref die fietse.

Dag drie en o hel, I am on my own met Jim. Milly verpleeg sien. En sy werk mos skofte. So nou het sy aan my gevra om saam met Jim te fiets want sy moes al vroeg uit. Maak my toe , Heer, onder die Bloed, sing-bid ekke, terwyl ek Jim se skoolbrood met bewende handjies voorberei die oggend. Milly het aan Jim verduidelik hy moet langzaam fiets – stadig! Want ek moet eers gewoond raak. En hy het vir my so ‘n laaaaang peinsende kyk gegee en sy kop geknik

Ek is skytbang. Maar gewapen met ‘n padkaart en my foon en baie gebede, vat ek en Jim die pad. En ek verbaas my oor hoe maklik dit is sonder Milly, my gids. Jim is ń considerate mede fietser. Hy fiets langzaam en wag saam met my tot die ligte groen raak vir fietse. Verby die stasie, verby die meer met die spierwit, grasieuse prentjie mooi swane, verby die klaarovers (ouers wat vrywilliglik die ergste kar verkeer beheer, sodat die kinders kan verby fiets, soggens voor skool) en dan links en ons is by die skool!!!!!!

Doei (koebaai), sê ek vir Jim en my terugtog begin. Maar ek het n clevertjie geword. Ek klim van my ysterperd af en ek loop langs hom. Nou kan ek mos beter sien en waarneem en my omgewing leer ken. Bussum is ń kleinerige dorpie. Naarden Vesting lê langsaan. Ook genoem Naarden – Bussum oor die dorpies so ineen vleg. So halfuur per motorkar vanaf Amstersam. En ek sien heelwat meer. Meer geskiedenis. Daar sit paar Amsterdammertjies wat mnr Mocke onlangs vir Ingrid Winterbach by Olykrans Kollege op Swellendam  laat onthul het. Kinders van niks ouer as vier jaar, begelei deur hul ouers op trapfietse! Mammies (en pappas soms) met waentjies met babas in,  Jinne! Wanneer val die tjenners nie uit nie! Oumense op fietse en bromponies. Die corporate tipe mans gekleed in Armani of een of ander designer brand suits op lendelam trapfietse. Vroue in stilettos in business soets met kort skirtjies op trapfietse, en die skirtjies sit al hier bo by die heupe. Dis dan n moeder! sal Kallie sê. Jinne vroua, maak toe jou poenjaap!!! sê ek woordeloos vir die ouerige dame wat hier digby my verby fiets, laptop sak oor skouer gegooi, maar sy kyk nie vir my of sy worry net niks oor ander rondom haar nie. Daar bike sy al aan.

En ek stap kopskuddend in ongeloof verder. Ek word ook aangekyk. In die winkel wanneer ek gaan brood koop, of melk. En my gedagte toe ek en Milly na die winkel toe gaan daai eerste dag toe die mense vir hulle aan my verkyk, why do you look en kyk gelyk, am I miskien of gold gemake. Audrey, sê Milly. Jy kan nie die mense so lelik aankyk nie.  Nou vir wat kyk hulle dan vir my so, sê ekke. Ken hulle dan nie mens nie. Sê sy, hulle is fascinated deur jou looks. Jou bos hare (I came in au naturale sien  en my fro was die wildste en die coolste voor ek braid want al die kalk in die water hier gaan my lokke wegvreet. En sal die fro queen van Swellendam, Gwyneth nie trots wees op my😋). Ja, maar waar ek vandaan kom is dit lelik om so te staar, sê ekke vir Milly. Ja, sê sy, maar jy is nou hier en nie daar.

And that folks, is in a nutshell, my journey tot hier en ook biki van my bike journey. Elke dag word ek bietjie meer ervare, en Jim fiets al vinniger en try ekke om agter ‘n tienjarige seun met ‘n uit- die -nate – bars energie aan te jaag met die decades daar tussen ons en die gans bors wat ek het en my arthritic limbs en krakende kniekoppe. Elke dag is n nuwe leerproses. Ek sien bitter min mense hierdie kant wat soos ek lyk, maar wanneer ons mekaar wel raakloop, dan weet julle dit altyd en ek wens soms ek het n kamera teen my voorkop om daardie blye, blye weersiens, daardie glimlagte wat vir die res van ons onmiddellike company sê, we know something you don’t,  daardie “ek sien vir jou” vas te vang, of jy nou van Gambia is, soos Fatoe, of die beeldskone buurvrou van Cape Verde of van Sierra Leone of Suid Afrika, soos ekke en my Mildred, ons sién mekaar.  Soos Milly sê, dan het jy ń experience. Good or bad.

En dan dag ek dat ek dit kan opskryf in my book of memories wat ek aan die einde van hierdie drie maande kan saamneem na my daar. Want dit is ń maand later en ek sien dat my daar iets is om enorm na uit te sien, om soveel meer te waardeer,  terwyl ek my hier ervaar.  Daar waar die son selde nie skyn, al kruip hy speels weg agter die winter wolke soms. Daar waar jy nooit hoef te soek na ń bekende gesig nie, al bevind jy jou ook al waar in ons ruim land. Waar die onkendes jou fémilie is. Daar waar ons mekaar n drukkie gee en die know how to daarvan presies kan ken. Daar waar jy kan opstaan soggens en die blou van die Langeberge jou begroet en in byna mitiese skoonheid vir jou sê, well hello darlieng, kyk ons is jou rots vandag.  Na daar waar gatsbys is en créme soda Jive. Daar waar die bobbejane vir jou sit en aankyk asof hulle veels bored is met jou stront van vir hulle aankyk. Waar die beeste maak asof hulle right of way het, oral. Waar die Canola in volle bloei staan en die geel vrolikheid daarvan so aansteeklik is, dat jy by aanskoue daarvan, heeldag daarna loop en grinnik en jy weet nie eens waaroor.  Daar waar die kinders sommer net spontaan met mekaar begin speel en niks van ń geplay date het nie.  Waar jy spontaan begin kuier met vriende en aansluit by ń dominoe game op ń Saterdagmiddag en nie sien waar die tyd heen vlieg nie. Waar mamas met babas op hul rûe vas gemaak, met grocerie sak bo op kop en dalk nog groceries in iedere hand aanstap huis toe. Dis waar my hart is, doer is my daar. En soveel soos wat ek my hier geniet, net soveel sien ek uit na my daar. Om met baie, baie, baie meer waardering dit te geniet. My permanente daar. Maar tot dan, ga ik eers verder.

Peace unto you all.

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Hoe spel mens victory?

“When the fun gets deep enough, it can heal the world.” The Oaqui

Ek was nog nooit regtig n fên van rugby nie. Sokker ja, dís my ding. Go Bafana Bafana, go Banyana Banayana. Ja, whatever, lag ma’. One day the World Cup will come home. Of tennis, wanner ek my smart wil hou. Ek was laas by n game toe my !xairu mense so lelik pakgekry right here by my hometown se Swellies. Dit was meer as n jaar gelede. Seker ma die trauma van dai dag se lose lat ek nooit wee gegaan het nie.

So vedag toe ek van die winkel af kom toe sê my suster, Henna, ek moet klaarmaak lat ek kan saamkom want sy’t al gehoor hoe skree die skare hie oorkant oppie veld “lekke Kallie, lekke. Kallie is haar seun, sien. Os klong.  En hyt al twee driee gedruk!

Wag, ek maak gou klaar. Jirre, ek kom nie gou genoeg weg nie. Die derde span, Kallie se team, hulle is nog op! Ek gaan sit in die pawiljoen en sien dadelik vir Torres, een van sy besties. Fernando, (want dis sy eintlike naam) vra ekke ewe brag gat. Het Kallie regtag twee drieë gedruk? Toe kyk die kind my so asof hy vir my wil vra hoeveel biere het ek dan nou al gedrink! Nee, sê hy saggies en hy draai sy koppie so weg en ek sien hys dik vani lag. en ek is soooooooooo be#&@/!$ vir Henna. Sy het vir my ge-belieg!en da nog van my n fool ok gemaak met dié lat ek vi Torres gevra het. Jirre! Ma ja, ek is nou hie. Lat ek afkoel voor ek ma wee hystoe gan. Gatie heeldag hie sitie. Ek dink rugby is boring.

Ma toe vang ek gees. So yt die bloute yt. En ek kyk rond en sien baie mense wat ek ken. Kelouma en. Sarie. Daars Wilma ok. En Bekkies se meisiekindjie wat mos vir my Mister Fabulous roep, hehehe. En die mense sing. Wie het vir julle gesê, om in Swellies se boud te lê. Daar’s ouma Mary.  En hie agte my sit Dylan van Percy en Alna ok. En ek vang gees. Kallie hulle se team wen en al het hy nie gedruk vedag ‘ie, is ek bly vi hom hulle team het gewen! Second team ok. En boonop het hulle Montagu se rasta man ‘n paar keer laat lê. Da lê die ai, skree die kids hie agter my en hulle kraak vir hulle.

Toe is dit tyd virie first team. En toe is da so eerbiedige stilte aan os kant vani paviljoen toe die manne so met hulle een hand op mekaar skouers so in gelid loop. Nes die queen of Egland se proudest batallion soldiers. Dis snytyd, lem sê Kallie wa hy hie voor ons kom sit het. Wat’s lem? Vra ekke en hulle almal kyk vi my of ek vetraag is. Jirre, hie kry ek dano goosebumps. En toe Mannetjies so met dai groen pop so vorie team ytdraf, toe weet ek hie kom ‘n ding. ‘n Swellies ding. En ek kry my sit. En os eet pop corn en bubbles en vat elkeen n glas cream soda Juh – Vay soos Kallie sê (spelt JIVE on the bottle) en os settle en os wag virie game to kick off.

Da gaaat hulle.

En dis sommer so ń rush wat oor mens kom. Hulle het by dié tyd vi my gewys die lem is ń wie en nie ń wat nie. Neh wat bradder, sè Dylan vi Kallie toe die lem so bietji skeef vat. Die lem is noggie skerp genoegie.

Da laat loop hulle na homeland se goalpost en da ga druk Derwin! O gôtta!!, skree ekke en sien ekt wragtag ok opgevlie en ek spring ok op en af. En dit val by my wat ek nou geskree het en ek kyk rond of iemand my gehoor het en of daar nie dalk grootmense hie agte sitie, ma niemand worry ok va my nie want almal is te hèppie en die paviljoen se houtplanke dreun so. En os is net jolly.

Kyk hoe blom daai klong, sè my buurman skuins agte my. Dis mý klong daai, toe Anwar soos seep tussen die Montagu manne se deur hardloop. Hy blóm, sè die man en ek skud my kop of en af, yassssss. En ek vang gees. En toe slaan daai nommer 5 van Montagu mos vir Bolla op sy mond sè Kallie en die mense skree rooi kaart! En ek is onnosel orie rooi kaart en toe boo die mense en ekke ok  vi daai nommer vyf toe hulle hom afstuur en jirre ek willie nou hy wiesie.

Tweede helfte en die kerrie vetkoeke loop. En die slaptjips en daas n oom net ń video camera en Henna sê dalk is hy vani tv en os waai en hoop hyt vir os gecaptcha. En my ander sus, Daneel laat skud net haar kop van skaamgeit vi os wat niks ken nie. En die game begin wee.

En dis so bietjie stadig, ma da ga die lem. En Kallie vryf sy enkels só en hy sê vi Dylan neh my broe, die lem is skerp, sy trim is nou in en ek breek vi my vi hille. Somme so van excitement. Hie’ kom ń ding! Ek sê vi jou.

Da ga druk Montagu se manne en os raak stil. En die ref word gevloek. En Kallie verdwyn, not to be seen again want hy’t gesê asit so gaan begin neuk da kan hy nie naby os sitie want die goed wat by sy mond yt ga kom, isie nice nie.

En da ga maak Anwar wee game vir nog ń try. Dai klong va my het vedag nog niks verkeerd gedoen nie, sê die buurman. Hy blom, kyk da, hy blom! Kry julle sit kinners, sè hy kortaf virie klomp kids met die slap tjips inie hand oppad na agter toe.

En toe gaan druk Collie. En os is mal, bevoetsek, mal!

17h15 en Swellies is agter, ma dit makie sakie. Hie kom nog altyd ń ding want da breek die lem wee deur en byna amper. O @^#$@¥, ek ga nou loop, sè ek vi niemand want niemand hoor vi my nie. Ma ek bly sit. Da kom Anwar af en die ons almal klap vi hom en dreunsing Annie, Annie. En Jack Van Wyk lyk soos of lat hy ń pyl is binne ń boog hie langs os oppie reserve bank. Die skieter moet net sy vinger trek om hom te lat skiet. En Jack ga warm op en ek en Henna is nou van os voete af want ek onthou hoe os vir Jack geskee het toe hy nog naellope op skool gedoen het en net weggeraak het onder die ander atlete yt. Jirre! Goosebumps.

Die lem maak so n fake pass na sy opponent toe en toe lag hy vi hom en da lag hy nog saam ok, die Montiekkieēr oor lem hom vir ń pop gevat het en os lag ok ma dis nou meer n nervis laggie want n mens se hart klop hie in jou keel en jou vingertoppies bewe so en ek wonner hoe voel die arme manne wat nou eintlik die game speel, want Swellies is agter.

Dai man is darem blaserig, sè Henna oor die ref en ek wonder of sy weet wa van sy praat ma ek sè ma niks ma ek stem saam al weet ek ok eintlik niks vani game se technicalities nie. Ek wens net sy wistle fail, ma okkie want dans da nie mee rede om te bliksem en donner nie. Askies Liewe Jesus.

En da ga druk DJ. Yaaasis, my nervs!

Oeeeee die pressure. Dit end nie. N jy gil en jy vloek like never elsewhere want die opponent, die Montiekieërs becomes somma jou baas vi wie jy heelweek wou vloek al, of jou man watie wil horie, of jou tjènd wat okkie wil regsè nie of jou ma watie ha meds wil drink nie. Jy let go net!

En da gaan DJ deur virie laaste Swellies drie en alles is kla. Eindtelling 30 -36 Montagu. Oh what a fight Swellies put up.

Dit was een vani dae wat ek vi n baie baie lang tyd sal onthou. Today, I had the best fun in a long while. All thanks to Swellies Rugby team en my mense, ál my mense in die paviljoen. Ên die manne wat saam met my geloop het en gesè het daai ref wou gebribe wees.

Swellies, julle het n nuwe fèn. A proud one at that. En ek kom virie first team se winning game!!!

Natuurlik het ek nie die game in sy full glory hie gecapture nie. Die ink is op en my kennis vani game is limited. Ek wiet net hoe om te skrie en te spring as die manne n drie gaan druk. Victory. Hoe lekker is dit as daai drie kom. Daai victorious feeling want jy weet julle is agter, ma da is nog tyd. Altyd nog tyd. En sometimes, soos vedag se game vi Swellies se first team, time ran out.

Ma nou is da ń next game en n next time. Always something to look forward to. Always a next game to win.

Ain’t life bitter sweet!

Peace unto y’all.

Mirror, mirror on the wall..

“At a distance you only see my light, come closer and know that I am you.” Rumi

Most times, while on a road trip and you are riding shotgun, the driver can’t converse as animatedly as you’d like. So then, I for one, would just admire the landscape and what catches my eye often times, are the ruins of mostly little houses somewhere deep into the bowels of the landscapes. Some with only foundation remaining, some with only the windows out, some merely abandoned, covered with weeds that would eventually make it part of the landscape and of others, broken askew, roof gone, windows gone, cut assymetrically. Cracks running in zig zag formation down the walls, almost like tearful worry lines. Seemingly father time in battle with mother nature for the preservation of the relic.

Who lived there, I would ask myself. Were there children, how many, what did they keep themselves busy with? Did they go to school? Where are they now?

It was on such a trip recently, that a friend quietly shed some light on just one of these mystery castles.

His grandmother lived in such a house, he said. In Riemvasmaak, way up north. Born in 1914 and of Nama;Damara lineage, her mother a mystery to be further explored, she was sent to live with her father and his then wife, who for some reason, did not take kindly to little Trien. At the age of 9, she was given the task of sheperding goats and sheep. School was a far off, unthinkable concept and she never was literate, at least not in our our understanding of the latter. After her father passed on, she was given two goats, one male, one female and told to go off on her own. That she was no longer welcome.

She was all of 14 years old then and settled on the outskirts of Riemvasmaak, in an old ruin, only her with her two goats. She was lucky to have found shelter near the river there. She traded goats milk for material to build a shack with the help of the townsmen. She lived off wild veld plants, shown what was edible and what not by her father,for whom the veld was a second home too. She also had goats milk. The goats later grew to into a herd. She was well off. When 19, she met and married a Zimbabwean man. A handiman. He could do every and anything with his hands. And so he built a clay brick house with his bare hands and over time it became the home that ouma Trien has longed for, I would imagine, her whole life long.

They were rich in those years’ terms of money and having it all, they had milk, they never lacked of meat, trading some of this for other things around the house. They had six children. Four girls and two boys. They all went to school, all up to standard six, equal to matric in those days.
Then her husband passed on, in the late 50’s, and although this was a devastating blow to ouma Trien, she carried on, just like the warrior woman she was.

Then one day in the 1960’s, she found herself and her whole universe encircled. Wire blocking her herd to go out in the veld and feed. The animals, and she and her children were cornered, trapped within the confines of the wire fencing and although she put up the bravest fight ever against this unrequested intrusion, this ruin of what was her whole life’s existence thus far, she eventually lost the battle against the fences.

She was forced to sell her herd. And abandon the little red clay brick house which was the legacy buily by her late husband’s very own hands. Her children grew up here. She labored all of them inside those walls. Love lived here. Laughter and safety lived here. Now she had to leave it.

With her daughters, she set up house in extension 6 in Keimoes. Her boys set off to find work and thus help sustain their mother and other siblings.

Ouma Trien herself never stopped going to the veld, extracting the plants that made up such a hugh part of her own diet and of which she developed medicine for her own and that of other’s aches and pains and then made income of that as well. She was “smeer ouma”, and she could cure you of whatever ailment you had. Her entrepeneurial spirit always on the move. Always pioneering. Always alive. Always living.

She lived almost 100 years. Six years shy of that.

The whole time my friend was telling me this story, all kinds of images popped into my head. I went on this journey with him and ouma Trien. He told me she was very dark of complection. Almost like coal. I imagined her eyes then, full of wisdom, the kind that no amount of schooling could ever teach. Eyes filled with indecipherable mysteries. And sadness. And kindness. And love. And peace. And a tranquil regality, for if you can survive what she did, if you can conquer all she did, if you can heal all she did, if your legacy is as compelling as hers, then you are nothing short of being a royal. A warrior queen.

I felt a profound sense of kinship then, with ouma Trien. It was as if I could smell her. All herby. And see her. There is comfort at her bosom, almost as if I too had shed a tear or two there. Copper bangles dangling as she strokes my braids, rubbing away at aches and pains not always tangible. Always a consolatory sweetie in her apron pocket. Her hair two braids plaited sideways in the most luminous shade of black and white ombré.
What is this I feel? Nostalgia? Longing for times gone, never to be recaptured? Never treasured more than now? Of woebegone truthful tales of so many like her never to be retold by anyone?

I glanced at my friend and the sharp contrast of ouma Trien’s dark beauty against his peculiarly light complection and I questioningly frowned inward. Then suddenly the sideview mirror caught my own reflection and what came to mind then was such a revelation, a dazzling display of love and misery and of light and dark and hardship and wonderment and questions and answers and forgiveness.

I will treasure the story of ouma Trien forever.

Because now I know that she is me and I am her. Whether the boundary is a fence, a river, a mountain and ocean, it could never contain the galaxy I and hers share with ouma Trien, because she and mine like her, they are the gravitational root that my soul, my being, my life, my star sprung forth from and I adore the galactical combination of colour and shooting stars. And although no one except themselves would ever be able to fully relay everything they conquered to survive, I will keep on orbiting, the origin of my journey firmly attached to the lure of their magnificence, a remnant of their luminous combustion, I am a constant reminder to other galaxies that they were here and indeed still are.

Peace unto you all.

Copyright

Bail is set.

Copyright

“The caged bird sings with a fearful trill, of things unknown, but longed for still.” Maya Angelou

There is a man here in town who intrigues me tremendously. He is always neatly dressed. He is always alone, at least I’ve yet to see him with anyone. I sometimes see him with knees buckling under the weight of the load of empty bottles he carries to the reclycing shop. He doesn’t seem to be doing anyone any harm. And he lives under a tree. Almost on the N2. I just drove past there and I could see his bed was neatly made. A couple of blankets neatly folded on a single bed of grass, cleverly arranged to catch the warmth of the sun. I wonder about him a lot. Who is he? Who feeds him? Where is his family? Why does he choose to sleep under the open sky when the old abandoned station building can clearly provide better shelter against the elements, if he has got no other place to go? I have yet to round up the courage to ask him, but he has me thinking all the time.

I sometimes wish I had his sense of freedom and fearlessness, of almost reckless abandon. He clearly does not have an inch of conformity to the trappings of what society binds us to. I wonder what he thinks his future holds. Obviously not much, because else he would never have exposed himself to such danger out there, sleeping right next to a road where a car might swerve and crush his head or the deadly bite of winter may clasp it’s crusty hands around him and swallow him whole. Or just fear. Is he not scared of the unfriendly darkness of the bitterly cold winter night?  The way I am when I, even sheltered as I presumably am, jump when I hear the nocturnal, mysterious call of the night owl to it’s mate? Or the BOOM! sound the ceiling makes when the elements of warm and cold clash at nightfall?  Does he not feel lonely?  The loneliness that even the company of loved ones cannot assuage. That loneliness that echoes through the room when upper and lower jaw meets when eating dinner in eerily quiet solitude? Who does he think he is? Does he not care about what people say about him?  The snickers, the stares, the lips turned up in disgust, the ridicule, the humour at his cost? Has he lost all hope? Has he lost his mind?

Does he not wonder about where his next meal will come from? Where will he take a bath? Where is his bathroom? Who does he visit on a Sunday afternoon, when most people are with family and friends? How did he get here? Will he stay here? Or will he move on in search of better? Does he think there is better? Does he have no direction? No purpose? And overwhelmingly it comes up, does he talk to God? Does he have a relationship with Him?

I think that I will prolong talking to him a little while longer. And I will hold in my mind a picture of him where at last he – and I – thinks he should be. I think that I will silently admire his audacity.

He does not have to worry about paying the rent. Put out the garbage on a Monday morning. He does not have to worry about dealing with the mindsets of the likes of us who are constantly thinking about how to shove each other out of the way, even those much smaller than us, paying no mind to what it may have cost the other person. He does not care about the pre-conceptions of a mean, brutal world and the trappings it brings. He does not care about saying the right words to people who will twist and conform it the way in which they believe it to be true anyway. He does not care about the motives of others. He does not care who is having an affair with whom or who fathered a child woth whom, perhaps he just figures that ain’t none of his business. He does not care who was locked up for drunk driving last night, cause he figures he is not the one who has to stand before the judge and jury.  He does not care who closed another billion dollar deal or who or what the latest “it” thing is. For him it is a matter of surviving yet another bitterly cold, wind swept night. He cannot give an inch about the trust, that we, in a state of panic sometimes realise we have placed in the wrong hands, because who else does he have to rely on but himself? He does not fear death, else he surely would’ve taken more care about his physical surroundings. Besides, I like to think, his reasoning must be that death can befall anyone of us at anytime. And then, what then will he take with him? Absolutely nothing. Nada. Zip. He will go to eternity with just that which he had on his back, that is if some vulture will not come and rip that off too, crazily thinking that he, the vulture, has had the last laugh, but the essense of that man will be long gone by then, that which had made him come here in the first place. So who would be the winner, eventually?

The man, the vulture or the caged bird who lived within the soul of the man?

And how do we know that there would be no Great Reception for the soul of seemingly lost bird?

Are we just blindsided by what has become just a cage of all things trivial and oh so absurd?

Just asking. Just thinking.

Peace unto y’all.

 

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Die Here het gaskommel en die dice het verkeerd geval vi’ ons . Daais maar al.” Adam Small

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Saterdagoggend met die morning koffie raak ek en my sus aan gesels.

Ek se haar kom ons stap dorp toe, dis nie ver mos nie, net om die draai, want ek bly mos nou dorp side.

Toe se sy vir my maar jy sal nie dorp toe loop as jy in Railton bly nie ne, toe se ek soos Dylan van Alicia se, is jy mal, hoekom moet ek so ver loop? Ek het dan ‘n kar!

En toe glip my gedagtes sommer baie ver terug, na dae voor Bluebird.

Na die dae toe wat my mens gemaak het.

Na die dae toe jou Babysoft 2 ply, softer than soft gevryfde koerant papier was, nee ek kan self getuig, my broe’, soos Kallie sal se.

Ek het altyd by Poppie en Titter, die 2 oujongnooi susters met die katte wat in die smart huis gebly het op die plot wat ons by hul gehuur het,  gevra om die toilet te gebruik en dan het Titter eendag gevra, Audie, hoekom wil jy dan altyd net hier toilet toe kom? Ek so geskrik, ek het haar nooit wee gevra nie of vir haar gese dis oor hulle badkamer so lekker ruik en so nes die mense s’n oppie tv lyk nie. Ons het dan ‘n buite toilet. En nie eers n yskas nie! Mammie maak in die winter jellie en dan sit sy dit buite tussen die gras, laat die ryp dit kan stol.

Oeee lawd have mercy, toe mammie mens met die gas pot gestuur het dorp toe om te gaan volmaak agter Spar. En bliksem, eks 15 jaar oud en die mooiste mooi, dink van myself die wereld: het die vrou nou regtig gese ek moet R5 se bene gaan koop by oubaas Manie se slaghuis! Wag, laat ek dan maar my hare indraai en my madonna outfit aantrek, sjoe, imagine man, ek kan mos nie my naam so laat val nie. Dêmmit, R5 se vleisbene, but at least het sy nie gese vaalpa ok nie. Of afval. Ek kan nie deal nie, want ek eet nie eers afval nie – as my ma dit kook, kry ek peanut butter en jèm brood. Daai reuk is nie vir almal, verals as die pens nog eers gekrap moet word en jy sien hoe doen aunt Lottie, wat daai tyd langsaan gebly het, dit.

Wanneer die tv screen se twee lyne begin wys het, en jy het dit gesien kom , my suster, jy moet nou die battery in die kruiwa laai en gaan volmaak by die oubaas daar op die stasie. En jy eers check of daar baie ouens in die pad loop, laat jy kan die kruiwa begin stoot, want anderkant my pa, wat werk, is daar nie ‘n man in die huis nie en jy moet maar stoot, want jy soek dan vir Trompie hulle en Rustelose jare vanaand! En watter sexy ou wil ‘n goose he wat moet battery laai en self die kruiwa ok nog stoot, van armgeit.  Jaaaasssiiis, my broe! Maar dit maak okkie saak nie, want my ma sè n mooi gevreetjie is almal sinne.

‘n Mens sit nog so lekker, hier roep Mammie alwee. Die vrou is mos lastig vandag jong. Gaan order by oom Daan ‘n vrag hout. Jirre, all the way Truestraat toe om ‘n boodskap te gaan afgee, my broe’, want daai dae was daar nie fone nie. O bliksem , hier sê Oom Daan die pêrrekar is stukkend. Nou moet ek ‘n drag hout huis toe neem, anders kan mammie nie vuur maak nie en dan eet ons weer meelpap vanaand. Die meelpap issie lekker as dit op die gaspot gemaak is nie, die klonte vorm nie so lekker nie. Wag, laat ek maar die draggie saamvat, anders is daar ok weer pêrre.

Dan stap jy maar met jou drag hout, en jy draai sommer  so ongemerk by Ashtrid Twigg in onder in Truestraat, gooi jou draggie hout neer dat sy as consolation vir jou Richard Clayderman vir jou oppie klavier kan druk, so beautiful dat Richard haar self sal kom haal het om hom te accompany, so mooi het sy gespeel. Dan stap jy begeesterd aan en o hel,  hier staan daai klimeire met die lang hare by die winkel –en jy weet die sturvy bliksems lag seker nou vir jou maar dan loop jy maar so dignified moontlik verder met altwee arms om die hout, want besides, Mammie sê ‘n hond skyt ok hare, but still man, vir wat het die Here dan nou besluit om vir mens so taaikop te gee. Dit kan ook nog gaan maar ‘n plat neus ok nog! Hulle, die smart mense gebruik mos sjampoe, maar ‘n ander mens se hare word met Sunlight seep gewas, masekind. En dan boonop eers met roosmaryn vet uitgesmeer voor jy so styf gevleg word, dat jou oe sulke fyn lyne langs die kant maak en jy wonder of jou ma nou try om jou Chinese by force te maak, en in that hopes te dink jou hare word dalk straighter.

Wanneer Derrie se geld inbetaal word op die 15de van elke maand, trek jy en jou ma enerse jerseys aan en kan jy maar jou stokstywe pas- uit – die roller uit hare, los dra, en al lyk dit na ‘n kar se bonnet bo op jou kop, worry jy nie want jou pa het gepay en jy is daai goose, soos Vanni Kaap se mense se, want jou pa het geld vandag. En besides, vandag dra jy net niks swaar aan sakke nie, want die hele se niggies kom om te kom help dra aan die sakke, want daai tyd was daar mossie taxi’s nie – die nefies dra die pockets aartappels, die gaspot wat alewig moet vol en al die swaar goete – en jy, jy is net daai queen – dra niks want as die ander kla, kry hulle nie daai R2 betaling nie, daai is wilson toffies en chappies vir ‘n week, masekin.

Saterdae aande djol die mense met die langspeel plaat speler en dit lyk of hulle mekaar gaan doodmaak langs die dominoe tafel, for real. Veral as die dop begin trek.  Die gesingery begin by Diana Ross en daai ou Percy Sledge nommers wat DJ Brandon sometimes, maar very seldomly op KFM Love songs speel. En dan is dit kerk gesange en die dop sit diep. Het jy al gesien, vra ek nou die dag vir iemand anders, as dit by die gesange kom, dan gaan le hulle sommer, die Gees begelei hulle seker dan kooi toe. Aha ha ha, ek lag sommer nou baie lekker. Ha! Kante blank! se my hoogs bekeerde, dominoe obsessed uncle, die enigste nugter siel langs die tafel en hy slaan sy maaila, maar sy victory is nie so sweet nie, want sy team mates is diep in die dronk heaven waarvan hulle nou so pas gesing het. Dominoes nog so in die hand.

“Blaas dood die kerse, ” skree mammie uit die kamer uit en dan gaan almal maar le.

Sondae gaan ons na Mams, my ouma, toe. Die onreg sien jy daar wanneer daar eers vir die mansmense sulke helse borde kos geskep word met byna al die vleis in en dan die 40 kinders, party nie eers fêmilie nie en dan eers die groot vroumense. Dis g’n wonder party mans is vandag nog so entitled en ongeleerd nie. Maar Mams het altyd gese die mans moet baie eet en goed, want hulle gaan werk glo vir die geld, maar vandag weet ek darem nie.

Van die beste tye was wanneer die fêmilie uit die Kaap uit kom kuier het. mens kon jou so op verkyk aan die lang hare en jirre, die mense praat almal Engels, het karre, bring vir Mams sakke vol groceries wat jy net oppie tv sien en beste van alles, is dis hulle met die goue tanne. my broe! Party van hulle het ‘n hele ry gehad. of rubies ok nog. Ja nee kykie, daai mense het die geld gehad. weet okkie vir wat daar pal vir hulle spesiaal moes kooigoed uitgewas geword het nie, en dan moet mens nog jou bliksemse kooi ok afgee en oppie grond slaap.  Not ayoba, masekin.

Almal het ‘n piesang jersey gehad, is ja! En as jy nie een het nie dan maak jy en jou beste bestie beurte om haar een te dra, maar jy hier moet jy versigtig wees, want jy soek nie ‘n bliksem wat agte jou rug gaan skinder van jou wat haar jersey aangehad het nie…

Jou beste en most prized possession was ‘n paar wit Converse tekkies en jy maak skoon en smeer met mieliemeel om die kleur te hou. Toe kom die afro’s mos in die fashion en ek se ek was happy. Dan rock jy en al jou nefies julle afro’s en as jou style uit raak, dan leen jy jou cousin se afro kam wat hy permie in sy kop gedra het, utility times two, masekin, want jy het jou kam by jou en dit lyk cool en funky, veral as die ouens almal bymekaar gekom het Saterdae en die met die mooi stemme ‘n impromptu show gehou het innie pad by Mams en jissis, Jannie Lukas op kitaar en Hammel se base saam met die res van die choir en dit klink complete soos die Commodores, Jesus is Love en hulle sing die King’s Messenger’s se There’s No Place Like Heaven en dis so mooi dat jy so seriously verlang na Liewe Jesus en dan gryp iemand ‘n handvol afro van agteraf en ruk jou so terug na jou current situation – innie straat by Mams, waar die son nou water trek en daai voëls wat so raas en die hele wereld vol stront, aankom en dis tyd vir wolf – wolf hoe laat is dit en jy sien jy het nog net ‘n rukkie speeltyd oor, dan is dit Maandag.

My upbringing was nie die glamorous type wat mens deesdae sien nie. Wanneer jy in ‘n huis gebly het wat ‘n badkamer en toilet binne gehad het, was jy ‘ n smart mens, sturvy. Of die lang hare en wit brood skool toe gebring het met kaas.

Maar ek verruil my kinderjare vir niks, want nou weet ek vir seker hoe lyk alkante blank en dit is hoe ek geleer het om my maaila te slaan. En dan te sorg dat ek die Here vra om my game so te speel dat die dice nie meer vir my verkeerd val nie.

 

Peace unto y’all.

 

Of pearls and tiaras

“…And ain’t I a woman…?”  Sojourner Truth

Copyright (c)

 

Soooooo, last year around June I was asked by the inimitable Ms Ruby to write and recite a poem for the Ladies Morning in Swellendam, an event part of the annual agricultural festival. She asked that I write with the focus on the disabled. Sure, I said. I can do that. The guest speaker would be Dr Marlene Le Roux. Wow, I thought, what a huge honour!

So, somewhere in October, after giving up my fight with insomnia at around 00h30, I wrote the poem and e-mailed it to the Gratitude Goddess aka Ms Ruby aka Moira Ann Seal Odendaal.

She loved it and then that was done. I would also host my own table at the event, with the responsibility of own table decor and ticket sales. And life carried on. Until the day…

2 March 2019.

The morning started as follows: My sister texted me to say they have no water. So I filled a 10L bucket and delivered it at home.

Then, I was off to a friend for chair tie backs to add to my table’s decoration. She then told me her 5 year old nephew has disappeared. They looked for him throughout the night. After having her ensure me that she would keep me updated about him, I left. It was now 08h30. I rushed to town to buy two more feathers for my Great Gatsby themed table and i dashed home to bath and get ready.  Mostly concern for the boy at the back of my head. I got done with fervent haste, grabbed the wine and feathers and I arrived well ahead of time. And then, oh lawd, I forgot my ticket!

I spun Bluebird around like I  was the female Lewis Hamiton and she one of those supercars and I returned in a flash!

Aaaah relief! There’s my table. Then proceedings started. It was a beautiful event in all. Everyone dressed up. Tables beautiful. There’s Vanessa! Oh look, there’s Emmie, my cousin. And of course Ms Ruby with her outwordly grace and beauty manning the event. And there is Marlene Le Roux, and I took a gulp of the sparkling wine, nervs now on end. And all the while thinking about the boy. Has he been found yet? I just checked my phone. Nothing yet. I wonder if they have water yet?

Then it was time for Marlene’s speech and then for the next hour I was taken away into a world I know and yet don’t know. I forgot every worry I had . Even the boy – for that time. A world of challenge and obstacles neverending and of simple victories taken for granted by most of us. When she spoke of Adam, her boy, I remember the angelic state of my own little sister who had cerebral palsy and had since passed heavenward- to where we all hope to end up one day. And when she spoke of how she was carried on people’s backs, and I remembered how we used to take turns carrying my sister up the long trek to my grandma’s house when we overnighted there. I did a lot of  the carrying and felt the weight, but I was not the carried and I felt not the fear of being dropped to the ground. She spoke of being raised by a single mother and gran. She quoted Adam Small and I couldn’t have felt more euphoric. But then she started singing and I thought is there anything she can’t do? Song was The Greatest Love of All. And she was done. And she was beautiful. Perfect. Entirely worthy of the standing ovation she received.

And how on earth would anyone want to follow her up on stage? Carol, I said to my sister – friend, please fill up my glass! Maak gou. Ooooooh, my nervs!

Did you see her sexy arms? I asked Carol in wonderment. Michelle Obama got nothing on that girl, I said, gulping down before Ms Ruby called me up. Feeling anguish at my own bube tube dress. Wonder if my arms are ok – ish enough…checked my phone and there was a message that the boy was found unharmed!!!

Relief and joy hit me and I was still rejoicing silently when Ms Ruby called me.

I am telling you that I stood on that stage and still cannot recall anything. And no, I was not drunk. Darn, all that champagne did was to make me palpitate even more. Besides, like an ex colleague told  me on the day: jy ken mos mens. And although nothing could truly calm my apprehension at following up this queen – like creature I stood there and did my thing. And then, while reading I thought how perfectly aligned this was. Because while Marlene’s speech focussed mostly on the physical disabilities and of course the psychological limitations that brings, my poem was about the unseen disabilities that life brings. That is in some or most of us. How perfectly in sync. I never spoke to the lady before and look at this! The perfect order of it all. Almost Devinely ordered, I dare ask myself after.

I finished and kneeled down before her to give her a copy of the poem and then she kissed me on the lips and said: jy was pragtig. Ek gaan dit raam.

I almost fainted with the gratitude I felt for the appreciation she displayed at my words.

But my heart leaps with joy more everytime someone I meet in town tells me: those words were beautiful. It made me think. A month later and I still get it and I am overjoyed because I know all too well what it is like to be unseeingly disabled.

When I first met up with Ms Ruby, I told her that if only one woman tells me that the words of the poem touched her heart in some way, or that it made her think differently about herself, then I would have succeeded.

Because, ain’t that what words are supposed to do? Build up, and not break down?

Oh thank you, Dr Marlene Le Roux, I wish that I could be a pearl in your tiara and thank you Ms Ruby,  for telling me that I put one in yours.

From this experience I take away the confirmation that sometimes life hands you situations that would make you want to bolt like a deer in front of headlights or armour up, like the armadillo, but if I ran away because of my fears, I would’ve failed my mother, my sister who was sitting at the table, my friends and Ms Ruby. And Monwabisi, the blind man, always full of joy despite his disability, who inspired me to write the poem. And most importantly, myself. Because the greatest love of all is loving yourself, fears and faults and insecurities and flabby arms and all.

The above is but a nutshell of all I experienced on the day, but the rest will be food for another thought, another day.

Peace unto, y’all.

 

 

 

 

Just listen to your heart.

“If you can’t fly, then run, if you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl, but by all means, keep moving.” Dr. Martin Luther King, jr.

I have something to share again.

A day before my baby sister, Daneèl’s birthday, which is on 30th of December, we decided that since it was also the last Saturday of the year, we will do the local parkrun. Just to celebrate year end. Kallie, my nephew, would join us.

So on the day we did the necessary prep and arrived at Marloth, all groggy and bleary eyed from not being used to getting up at 06h30 on a Saturday morning.

There were a couple of hundred other participants and after a few announcements, we were set off.

I walked at first, letting the biggest crowd pass, so as to create space for myself. And after a 100 or so metres, I started a slow jog. Keep in mind though, I was as unfit as they come. Not having been on a run for six months.

I put that thought aside, can’t be beaten by people who are almost twice my age, now can I, because after the first throngs have past, those older ladies and gents were who remained. And me.

So I ran. Slowly, but I ran. After the first kilometre of mostly flat surface, and very proudly I say, I passed a lot of those runners who were amongst the first group, But here was a very steep downhill, and now my socks’ top seam was curling just around the edge of my toe nails and was becoming a very irritating obstacle, but I ran, slowly but I ran.

Then, after one and half kilometre, uphill. By now I was was too out of breath to run, so I walked. I remember the official, an elderly gentleman,  standing on top there, and empathically telling me:  ” you are not the first, but you are one of the prettiest.” How’s that for an ego boost when your toenails got caught up in your sock seams, your shins are on fire from the fast paced downhill, you’re all soaked in sweat, jogging in 35 degree sunshine and you can barely lift your hand in a thank you gesture, because you’re too breathless to even whisper one syllable! But I carried on. Walking now, of course.

After that, there’s approximately 50 metres of flat surface again, and then BOOM! An upper than uphill. But I did like an olympian highjumper and stretched forward and backward and with my eyes, measured the distance from bottom to top, and I took on that climb. Man! I was so hunched over, my calves feeling like earth bound piranhas are eating away at my calves and the sock seams, oh my word! They were like knives now. Eating away at my flesh, but I climbed.

After 50 metres of climbing, I reached the top and I was elated! I made it! And besides that, the roadmark tells me I’m halfway.

I  punched the air. Yes! And walked for for another 50 metres and then , oh heaven help me!, a climb even steeper than the last one, with a turn to boot, and after the turn, another climb. I wanted to start crying. Feeling frustrated and angry with myself. Why the hell did I let my siblings talk me into this. Why didn’t I just wait for them at the starting point.

Well, I didn’t have much choice now, did I. I was in the forest. My sister and nephew were long gone. People were stretched, so I started climbing. Limping, but I climbed. Hunched over, arms almost touching the ground, but I climbed. Then I was halfway and so out of breath, it felt like my lungs would jump out of it’s cocoon. My heart felt like a bomb just about to explode. I aimed for the tree I saw up ahead, just so I could catch my breath, away from the angry stare of the sun, I was standing there hunched over, throat feeling like I’ve been roaming the dessert like the shepard boy, Santiago,  in Paulho Coelho’s, the Alchemist. Parched, on fire and tired. And so so demotivated. I honestly wanted to turn around. Then, out of nowhere, there was the slighest touch on my left shoulder and a voice that said, just listen to your heart. And you’ll be ok. Standing hunched over, Hands on knees, mouth wide open , I stared after the man, of whom all I could see, was the flash of his second skin white top and I heard the swishy sound his sweat pants made. Yoh, mister! My heart is ok again, wait up. I’m comin!  But by then, he was long gone. Keeping his steady pace with loooooooong strides.

So, I made it up those hill(s). And down. And passed the road splitting the dam in two, lush green and endless horizons on both sides. Another downhill, which with legs now jellier than actual jelly, I contemplated conquering on my backside, but last minute decided against and rather walked the egg in spoon walk. Then, another ” just listen to you heart” climb and flat surface and less severe climbs, but I decided rather to get lost in the beauty of nature surrounding me. Sights and sounds.

Then, last 500 metres and I tell you it’s funny. I could see the finishing point, but this was the hardest part. Slowly , slowly I made my way. And arrived.

I did it! I finished the gruelling Swellendam parkrun, which some people say it is one of the toughest.

Back at home, over coffee, we contemplated and I got the following advice.

From my 20 year old nephew, I got this. Don’t look up when you encounter the hills. Go one foot in front of the other, until you are on top.

From my sis I got, switch your socks wrong side up. Then the seams won’t hurt you. She, being an avid athlete,  got this again from a lady colleague who has run thousands of miles.

This made me think. Isn’t life like this race? Full of ups and downs. And people who will help you along your journey.

Who will give you just that little bit of encouragement (the man who mentioned that I was pretty when I felt at my most horrendous). The lady who told me, just walk. You will get there. We all do, at the end.

I couldn’t walk properly for days after. When needing the bathroom, I would support myself by clutching the wall.  My hands trembled on the steering weel of my car and my feet on the pedals like someone with Parkinson’s disease.  But it passed and I’m about to do my eighth race!

The parkrun – and life has taught me that whatever you do, don’t stop. Not even to switch your socks wrong side up, because once you stop, the urge to stay down would be all overpowering and you will quit. So embrace that pain for that time, you can treat it after and it may scar, but it will heal. And the next time you set off on a journey, you go prepared. Switch your socks beforehand. Then its one less obstacle. And do not look at the hills, but envision in your head that victorious feeling when you reach the top of your mountain, your hill. See how you will your brain to let one foot move in front of the other, even if your feet feels like two blocks of lead. That is power. And even when you encounter those steep downhills, you look up. Because that gives you the power of acceleration, of flying. Because it is so, like a fellow runner breathlessly told me one day, I can’t believe the downhill is worse than the up!

Embrace your climb. Your uphills. And value everything the mountaineous terrain teaches you. Therein lies your ability to win. Not in other competitor’s time, but your own, because everyone’s race is unique.

The one thing though that I always remember about this parkrun, everytime I do it. Everytime I encounter an obstacle in life, are the words of that gentleman: just listen to your heart. Allow the rythm of it’s beat to determine how fast or slow you will go. As long as your heart beats, you keep moving. By all means necessary.

 

Peace unto y’all.