Wednesday, 31 October 2012


I have had someone walking away from me only once, and he has never noticed the loss created by that distance. Leaving does not always entail the option of coming back. Maybe it is the irony of fortune that my father chose to leave and never return, and my mother has to leave in order to return. Perhaps it is also a subconscious reassurance to the child in me that, without fail, she comes back to me, as I shall, without fail, return to her when I leave.

This poem by Cecil Day-Lewis, written for his eldest son, captures that letting go.

Walking Away

for Sean

It is eighteen years ago, almost to the day –
A sunny day with leaves just turning,
The touch-lines new-ruled – since I watched you play
Your first game of football, then, like a satellite
Wrenched from its orbit, go drifting away

Behind a scatter of boys. I can see
You walking away from me towards the school
With the pathos of a half-fledged thing set free
Into a wilderness, the gait of one
Who finds no path where the path should be.

That hesitant figure, eddying away
Like a winged seed loosened from its parent stem,
Has something I never quite grasp to convey
About nature’s give-and-take – the small, the scorching
Ordeals which fire one’s irresolute clay.

I have had worse partings, but none that so
Gnaws at my mind still. Perhaps it is roughly
Saying what God alone could perfectly show –
How selfhood begins with a walking away,
And love is proved in the letting go.

Thursday, 25 October 2012


via Lucky Pony
I'm not really sure what I got myself into, again, and it probably won't be as I expect it now, but this time I've got the Captain (Morgan) all to myself. The rice crackers are also just mine. Wonderful.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Keep it hid

I went to get police clearance yesterday. The gentleman in front of me was from Ghana and needed to renew his visa to be able to hand his PhD in January. He wore glasses and an ironed shirt and beige formal-looking pants. We waited in line to have our fingerprints taken by quite a tall police officer. They do strap a lot of things onto that belt of theirs, hey. The gun looked like a plastic one to me, but what do I know.

When the police officer had finished with the short girl he was helping by promising her he'd visit her in Lesotho, the Ghanaian gentleman has his turn. For the next ten minutes I could not stop giggling to myself, because the officer kept wanting to make conversation, to find bonding moments, and the Ghanaian man just politely nodded or shook his head, without really answering.

The first topic was the fact that there were no "traditional" women left in South Africa, that all the young ladies were "spoiled by the Constitution" and all "this 50/50 things". Gender equality is what was causing all these divorces, because the young ladies did not know their roles as "helper" to the husband and they were not willing to "clean my boots", as the policeman stated. Reading this in a CNN-serious voice would be wrong, because I do think the officer was joking, at least in part.

He then moved on to his desire to take a bus to Ghana, which takes about a week, because Ghana is "far", in order to find himself not one, but multiple wives there. The PhD student was a bit taken a back, simply stating that they were mostly a Christian nation that did not believe in polygamy. He explained that only the Muslim people in Ghana did on occasion have more than one wife. The police officer's first reaction was to say he'd convert to Islam. But then he changed his mind and said the Ghanaian people should accept their African traditions and religions and thus say yay to polygamy. All the student could do was smile and nod.

Finally it was my turn to get fingerprinted. One has to say that one has never been convicted of a crime, haha, but I said never being convicted does not mean that one has never committed a crime, simply that one has not been caught. So then the police officer was very funny and said that now, with my fingerprints, all the unsolved crimes could suddenly be closed and I would be sent to jail. As if I'd leave fingerprints.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Was ich lieb/das is n dicker Beat und n Bass/

This video, entitled Berlin speaks for itself by Emus Primus, is via Street Art Berlin, and the music consists of the words in the graffiti that was posted around the city.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Did I let you know

This is just to say

I have eaten 
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

William Carlos Williams

Summer holidays/ December holidays are all about doing nothing, tanning, reading and having no plans. But to me, they are also the time of fruit. Supersweet nectarines. Peaches. Plums. Grapes. Thick slices of watermelon with the juice running down your face. Ah, and the winner: Mangoes. Saving the pit for last and then, again, diving in with the juice all over your cheeks. Maybe I am just an excessively messy eater of fruit, but I like how tangible the flesh is, how fresh the taste, how much summer remains in a mouthful.

In France my summer highlight was to buy a bag of cherries, sit on the edge of the Île de la Cité, facing westwards, and having a far-spitting competition with myself into the Seine. We may be blessed with an abundance of tropical fruit, like mangos and pawpaws, but they have the berries. And purple figs. Hmmmmm. Purple figs. My kryptonite.

Friday, 19 October 2012

I'm coming up only to hold you under

They were mock-fighting. Pushing each other's buttons, because after a lifetime together one knows the other and what will drive them close to an edge of sorts. Both got cramps in their right legs. It was fun to observe a father-daughter relationship when mine ended about 12 years ago. I mean, we live, but they are lives apart that connect through the occasional forced phone call where nothing is said because I don't know (or want to know) his life, and he has no real interest in even remembering the names of people we have been friends with since school. Condescension towards what we do and where we live does not help. 

My cousin has a mulberry tree in the back corner of the garden. There used to be one at the far corner of our school as well, and in the afternoons, before sport started, we would go and stain our white polo shirts with handfuls of berries. My cousin wanted to get some before returning to Cape Town, and I wanted to get some to make jam because the  last time I tried it wasn't that successful. It was dark already and we had only one flashlight and a very dim (almost non-existently dim) head-light. Is that what one calls it? I don't mean a car headlight, I mean those tiny torches you strap to your forehead and that make you look ridiculous. And others get irritated when you then proceed to shine directly in their eyes continuously. I assume my uncle thought we shouldn't be hunting for mulberries at that time of the night (haha, it was close to 19.00), but he came to help us. Sans torch I sort of felt my way around for the ripe ones, but my uncle kept dumping handfuls into our zip-lock bags, so we had quite the stash.

In primary school we used to get silkworms and feed them the mulberry tree's leaves. The end result of a worm was a little round silken bookmark. Don't really know where the bookmarks have disappeared to, but watching the worms' whole transition into moth was cool. These days I'm not that fascinated as easily any more. Well, no, that Consol Solar Light is supercool, in the whole "suck it silk worms, this is technology" manner.

Haha, and later, when the mulberries are done marinating in sugar and cooked, they'll probably be put in Consol jars for preservation. Ag I don't even know what I'm rambling about. It's one of those days of procrastination where I'm waiting for my conscience to kick in and tell me to start.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

everlasting light

I heard someone honking repeatedly but did not think it was meant for me. I mean, there is not a cow-bell dangling on The Gate for nothing. I decided I had to investigate. Maybe the robbers were back. Stupid robbers who make themselves known. Luckily it was some nice delivery man, who gave me my lamps! Whoooooohooooo! I told him it was like Christmas, and when he drive away he shouted "Merry Christmas!". Even better!

By lamps, I mean Consol Solar Lamps. They had some sms-competition and I entered and won two little lights. Consol is the company that makes glass, as in the jars my grandmother kept her peaches and jams in. Now they have integrated a solar panel in the lid, and LEDs at the bottom (as in inside the lid and jar then) and after a charge, the lights will last up to 6 hours. I'm excited because I didn't have to pay for them, because they work so nicely, and because I can imagine that for a lot of households that still use fire and paraffin lamps (see the farm), these lamps might just be an eco-friendly and easy solution.

And they are so pretty. I want more.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Après moi

via On the shoulders of giants on Pinterest

My meaningful distraction was putting all the books I have read under my bed and all the ones I have used for intellectual-fake-credit on my bookshelf to be read. If I am to be jobless and poor after graduation, at least I can pretend to be a writer who needs to work on what she has read.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Op die voetpad, o bokkie,

In die Kaap het ons die een aand voor die fees in Darling maar vir Langstraat aangedurf om met my niggie 'n burger te eet en bietjie die naglewe te geniet voor 'n mens sonder storte vir twee dae moet oorleef (wat toe nie waar was nie siende dat Daisies haardroers en straighteners voorsien). Ons het in 'n stegie langs die hoofpad parkeer omdat dit heel veilig gelyk het en daar 'n karwag uit die Kongo was.

Toe ons na die aand se avonture weer by die kar kom, betrap ons 'n baie maer jong man wat soos 'n sletterige dame aangetrek was (maar hy het die bene vir so kort rokkie gehad as ons nou moet eerlik wees) en wat besig was om hastig sy klere in een van daai gate in die straat met die metal deksels te versteek, julle weet, daai wat na die rioolpype lei of so iets. Hy't vir ons verduidelik "dis my cupboard dié, anders jaag die polisie my", en met sy vingers 'n kruis oor die deksel gemaak nadat hy alles daar ingeprop het om dit te beskerm.

Toe ons uitry het hy vir "'n paar bronsies" gevra en ons gehelp om nie in die ander karre vas te ry nie, donder maar die mense in die Kaap ken van parallel parkeer en in klein gate indruk. Is ek nie bly vir parkeerings wat groot genoeg is vir ossewa's (of die gunsteling kar van die ryk voorstedelik familie, 'n doublekajuit/ Land Rover/BMW X5) soos die in Menlyn.

Dalk is dit taaldiskriminasie of iets anders wat negatief klink, maar dis lekker om te luister as kleurling mense uit die Kaap praat, omdat hulle goed anders sê as ons in die Transvaal. Of eer, omdat hulle nie elke tweede woord met 'n engelse woord vervang soos ons nie. In Beaufort Wes het ons die enigste kroeg wat oop was ingedurf, dit was nie juis opwindend nie, maar na 'n rukkie het 'n ouer dame, wat nogals 'n dop te veel ingehad het, by ons kom staan en gesels. Wel, eer met die twee jong mans wat met my was, ek was nie van belang vir haar nie. Na die tyd het ek gevra of hulle kon verstaan wat sy gesê het, maar nie een van ons het heeltemal gevang wat sy vir ons wou sê nie, behalwe dat "daai moffie" vir een van my twee vriende besig was om ogies te maak. Maar dit was nog steeds lekker om te hoor dat ons dieselfde taal praat en tog verskillende dialekte (?) as moedertaal sien.

Een van die petroljoggies het ook gesê een of ander iets "is bes", ek kan nou nie onthou wat nie. Dit was net koel (haha, ek voel soos iemand wat in die Huisgenoot skryf) om iets te hoor wat jy ook sou kon sê want dis deel van dieselfe taal maar dis nie uitdrukkings wat natuurlik in jou woordeskat bestaan nie.

My vriendin K het ook nou die dag so iets ouliks gesê, ek dink dit was iets soos 'n mens se seile na elke wind span? Hier is nogals 'n interessante lys met spreekwoorde in Afrikaans.

Friday, 12 October 2012

We will become silhouettes

Dit reen te heerlik hier vandag. Voorheen toe ek gery het en die druppels hoor val het, julle weet, daai sagte storting van water, toe moes ek dink aan my 6-jarige self en die geluk wat daai geluid saam met hom bring.

Toe ons klein was in Genève het my ma ons altyd saamgevat na die karwas toe, by die een spesefieke garage. Ons het in die kar bly sit terwyl die water van self oor die kar gespuit het en die enorme rollers hom skoon gepiets het. Daarna het 'n geheimsinnige wind die Merc drooggeblaas. Daai geluid van in die kar sit en die water hoor, van nie nat word nie as die buitewêreld net deur n wasem van druppels te sien is, is nog steeds vir my wonderlik. En na die tyd het ons altyd 'n Kinder-Überraschungsei gekry en kon die speelding in die middel uitpak en die sjokolade verslind op pad huis toe. Dis nie daai simpel eiers van vandag nie, waar mens twee balletjies in 'n sous aan die een kant het en die speelgoed aan die ander kant. Ne ne. Hierdie was nog in tye van ordentlike sjokolade eiers. Mens wens seker te baie dat goed nie verander nie, en tog verander dinge nie vinnig genoeg nie party keer.

Noudiedag was ek op my eie by die karwas, vir meer as twee ure. My ma hou van 'n skoon kar, so dit moes gedoen word voor sy weer terug by die huis was. Maar hierdie was nie soos Genève nie, hier was geen masjiene wat die kar binne 10 minute skoon gemaak het, alles word hier met mensehand gedoen. Ek was binne in die kar toe die water ons tref, ek toe moes ek weer dink aan vroeer, aan die gemak van die reuke binne in die kar en die reendruppels buite, en aan Kinder sjokolade eiers.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Sweet Disposition

I don't know what happened, but I felt like abusing the kitchen today.

First up, The Best Chocolate Ice Cream You'll Ever Have, and, ja, that stuff is so good that I just want to tap myself a bathtub full of it and live in chocolate heaven for-----ever.

Image via A Cup of Jo

Below is what mine looked like before freezing. Joh joh joh. It is rather rich, but worth making. And you don't need an ice-cream maker.

After that came beskuit, which is Afrikaans for rusks, the dough looks a bit dodge. I sort of combined whatever I felt like putting in them, so they contain All Bran flakes, coconut, sunflower seeds, oats and packets with the words 'wheat' on them. Normally my mom or sister bake the beskuit, or my grandmother brings us some, but for a first try they turned out well. I don't have a recipe, but this one looks pretty similar.

Then there was a special at the grocery store, R 20 for three packs of asparagus, so I made leek, asparagus and bacon quiche. I think after the road trip and eating only burgers + chips, today was the day I needed to eat food that didn't taste like it could be a year old. Again, no recipe, I pre-browned the leeks and bacon, used some instant shortcrust pastry, put the raw asparagus on top, then poured over a mix of 1/2 cup cream + 3/4 cup milk+ 4 eggs, and then grated some pecorino over it. Nom nom nom. 

And in between I baked these World Peace Cookies, because yesterday we went to this baking store and I got three different kinds of choc chips (white normal caramel) and instead of baking choc chip cookies, these had to be tried out. They are ok, but I don't think they are as fantastic as smittenkitchen writes they are. They're tasty, but not revolutionarily so. 

Pre-baked, the dinkbeest version

Baked, the smittenkitchen version

Also between it all, I made more cordial because we don't eat the oranges from the tree in the garden and I didn't want to waste them. Booooom! Being a housewife is exhausting.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

I heard the party's here

And I'm back.
I previously stated that roadtripping to Rocking the Daisies could be at either end of extremes: awful or awesome. Maybe it was a bit of both, a bit of loneliness and fun and happiness and depression and incomprehension strewn in between just to mix it up. Maybe it was better this way.

When going to Koppi, I remember groups of people, camping together; making a fire; chilling in front of the stages and enjoying the music; and, partying at night together. The camp site there is an important place, since it is where you spend half of the time. Also, it is not unusual to just pitch up at some stranger's camp site, be offered a drink and make new friends. Oppikoppi is gezellig.

By comparison, RtD is not. Since it purports to be some kind of hippie-hipster-eco-festival, camping and cars are kept separate, and no glass is allowed in. Also no fires are allowed. Therefore, there is no reason to have a camp site to chill at, and the tents are just pitched at random. At Koppi you try to get a few trees, here you don't give a f*ck since you'll probably just be sleeping there. What neighbours? What sharing a beer? Not these cool kids.

Shock number two came after queuing for two hours to shower for a full five minutes. To me, showering at festivals is nice, but it is optional. You are there for the music, not to make sure you look your best. Again I was very wrong. These girls have ghd-straighteners and hair dryers. They also don't leave the shower-tent without putting on their made-up face. And I'm not talking just some mascara here. Hells no.

The outfits are also worth mentioning. I am used to taking semi-old clothes so that if something happens I don't mind throwing them away. Ahhhhhhhhh non. All these girls appear to be in dire need of nourishment, and they all wear their mother's high waisted jeans, but cut off just short enough to show the rounding of the gluteus maximus. The crop top, angle boots and large hats were also a staple. The gentlemen all looked like they weren't trying to look cool but that they were secretly spending quite some time on getting their hair looking just messy enough. The boys I went with spent more time in the bathroom getting ready than I did.

I mean, this is not necessarily a negative thing, but I felt as though at RtD the festival is a constant fashion show, and that music is just something happening in the background. Except for when Bloc Party played. They are INTERNATIONAL, after all. Rocking the Daisies was somewhat of a disappointment. No one seemed to respect the local bands, like the Dirty Bounce Collaboration (with Mr Cat and the Jackal contributing members), Machineri or even hip-star of the moment, Jeremy Loops. This festival felt as though it was more important to be seen, to tell others afterwards "Ja, bru, sorry I missed you at Daisies, hey, Ja, it was awesome", to have been there without really caring about any band past Bloc Party.

A festival is definitely not the place to be lonely. At Koppi, even when I went only with my friend Sliv, there were always others around to go party with, there were always random people that were willing to meet new people and just have a good time. Here, the cliques were already established, and no one new was cool enough to break into the established order of coolness. The Capetonians were constantly remoulding themselves to be more avant garde, more advanced, more hipstamatic than even the app. Me? I was stuck, rigid, a piece of unwanted, a Nokia 3310 in a sea of iPhone 5s.

Perhaps it is my own fault. I was pretty pissed (not the drunk pissed, the pissed off one) because my homeboys had their own agendas for the festival, which is fine. But it wasn't my fault that things had changed, that the original party was not going, and after three days of being supportive and understanding and adapting to other ways of doing things I just felt a bit die moer in.  If I could try to be understanding, so should they. On Saturday we had a tent-round-table, and sorted it out, which was great, since after that the last night of RtD was quite fun despite the rain and the cold. Nothing a bit of Havana Rum and freshly squeezed orange juice can't fix, hey.

The roadtrip, the Daisies, it was all an experience, neither best nor worst. Like gezellig, I am trying to find that one word to describe the festival, the one that will capture its essence. Beautiful? Eco? Different? I'll settle on oppervlakkig.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Get on the road

Lark. Not sure if it was at Koppi though. 

The only festival I've been to is Oppikoppi. In the years when Easter Oppikoppi still existed, we went on a bi-annual pilgrimage to Northam to freeze at night and die of heat during the day. Also to spend most of the time in a state of semi-inebriation, watching bands you knew well and discovering others. I learnt that cucumbers last really well, that chicken viennas and buns for three days aren't the worst idea, and that showering is not essential.

Now we're leaving for Rocking The Daisies. Which is in Darling, in the Cape. Which is like five times as far as Oppikoppi. The group that was supposed to go was reshuffled due to a break-up, which to me means it can either be really awesome or rather awful.

On verra bien.


Monday, 1 October 2012

wake (...) up

I want to write about going to the farm again and hating doctors and especially their secretaries and people separating and Rocking the Daisies and and and.

Instead, here is a US election campaign, with Samuel L Jackson.

via The Guardian