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Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Listen: “The Cape Town situation is very dire” – Professor Larry Swatuk, author of Water in Southern Africa, on Day Zero

 
When it comes to water, we are fed a daily diet of doom and gloom, of a looming crisis: wars of the future will be over water; nearly one-billion people lack access to clean water; river basins are closed so there is no more water to be allocated despite ever-growing demand; aquifers are overdrawn to such an extent that a global food crisis is just around the corner and major cities, such as Bangkok and Mexico, are sinking. And let us not forget about pollution or vector-borne diseases.

The challenges for sustainable water management are massive.

Yet, as shown in this book, there are many positives to be drawn from the southern African experience. Despite abiding conditions of economic underdevelopment and social inequality, people rise to the challenge, oftentimes out of necessity and through self-help, but sometimes through creative coalitions operating at different scales – from the local to the global – and across issue areas – from transboundary governance to urban water supply.

This first volume in the Off-Centre series argues that we must learn to see water and the region differently if we are to meet present challenges and better prepare for an uncertain, climate-changing future.

Larry A. Swatuk is Professor in the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development (SEED) at the University of Waterloo, Canada; Extraordinary Professor at the Institute for Water Studies, University of Western Cape, South Africa; and Research Associate, Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC). Prior to joining the University of Waterloo, he was Associate Professor of Natural Resources Governance at the Okavango Research Institute, Maun, Botswana.

Listen to Swatuk’s recent discussion with Marc Montgomery on the “dire” situation of Cape Town’s water crisis here.

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Lees: Christi van der Westhuizen bespreek Sitting Pretty met Naomi Meyer

Christi van der Westhuizen se mees onlangse boek, Sitting Pretty: White Afrikaans Women in Postapartheid South Africa is pas deur UKZN Press uitgegee. Dié merkwaardige boek ondersoek onder meer identiteit, die konsep van ordentlikheid, en die Afrikaner. Lees Naomi Meyer se LitNet-onderhoud met Christi hier:

Christi, baie geluk met Sitting pretty. Ek het ’n onlangse kykNET-gesprek tussen jou, Kabous Meiring en Deborah Steinmair hieroor gesien en wil afskop met: Waarom het jy hierdie boek geskryf? Vertel my hiervan, en vertel my asseblief ook van jou ouma.

My vorige boek, White power & the rise and fall of the National Party, het vraagstukke oor ras, klas, politiek en ekonomie op die makrovlak getakel. Met die skryf daarvan het nuwe vrae by my ontstaan oor die vorming van identiteit, oftewel subjektiwiteit. Hoekom heg ons onsself aan onderdrukkende sosiale kategorieë soos ras, klas, geslag en seksualiteit? Ek wou sin maak van die kwessie binne my eie konteks van apartheid en Afrikaner-nasionalisme.

In my familie is ek grootgemaak deur sterk vroue wat in mindere of meerdere mate Afrikaner-nasionalisties was. My een ouma (gebore Viljoen en getroud met ’n Erasmus) was ’n veldkornet in die Ossewa-Brandwag. Daarteenoor het haar dogter – my ma – reeds in die ’70’s apartheid as stelsel al meer begin bevraagteken en dit uiteindelik teen die vroeë ’80’s verwerp as onmenslik.

Dit is die nalatenskap waaruit ek kom, en dit is belangrik vir my om dit te verstaan. Hoeveel agentskap het hulle gehad en hoeveel het ek? Kan ons as mense ’n meer etiese wêreld skep, of is ons oorgelewer aan ons omstandighede?

In die Prontuit-gesprek het jy gesê dat jy as Afrikaner identifiseer. Wat beteken dit vir jou?

My identifisering as Afrikaner is ’n etiese besluit, en wel om twee redes.

Die eerste is dat ek binne ’n Afrikaner-nasionalistiese konteks grootgemaak is, met al die gepaardgaande regverdigings van rasse-, geslags- en ander hiërargieë, en met die bevoordeling wat apartheid vir veral wit Afrikaanssprekende mense teweeggebring het. Deur steeds as Afrikaner te identifiseer, erken ek my verlede en die voordele wat ek daaruit getrek het. Dit maak dit vir my moontlik om nie net krities nie, maar ook selfreflektief met daardie geskiedenis en die voortslepende effekte daarvan om te gaan, ook vir my persoonlik.

Die tweede rede is dat ek binne daardie konteks positiewe persoonlike belewenisse gehad het, en dat daar menslik-bevestigende waardes met my gedeel is wat, paradoksaal, uiteindelik ook my kritiese posisie moontlik gemaak het. Deur as Afrikaner te identifiseer, erken ek hierdie emosionele en intellektuele bande, asook die bron van my etiese ingesteldheid van ontleding en selfkritiek.

’n Woord wat oor en oor genoem word: “ordentlikheid”. The done thing. Om iets in stand te hou, nie die bootjie te skommel nie, of ongemak te veroorsaak nie. Praat ons van vroue wat by mans langs die vuur gaan staan in plaas van slaai maak in die kombuis? Of deurtrek dit die samelewing, is dit méér as dit? En tog: soms kan mens nie anders as om binne ’n stelsel te funksioneer nie – dis tog orals. As die land se geldeenheid die rand is, kan mens nie betaal met die eenheid van jou keuse nie. Help my asseblief om die term te verstaan.

In my studie het ek gevind dat sommige wit Afrikaanssprekende mense nie meer as “Afrikaners” identifiseer nie. Ek moes ’n ander begrip vind om die identiteit te beskryf. Ordentlikheid is daardie begrip, omdat dit die verskillende dimensies van die identiteit die beste vasvat. Dit spreek tot ’n aspirasie om ’n sekere respektabelheid te verwesenlik deur ’n spesifieke stel reëls oor ras, klas, geslag en seksualiteit na te volg.

Om as ’n Afrikaanssprekende wit vrou “ordentlik” te wees, moet ’n mens jou na ’n spesifieke klasgegronde vorm van wit patriargale heteroseksualiteit skik. Jou gedrag word gepolisieer met idees oor beleefdheid en goeie maniere. As jy nie aan die vasgestelde norme voldoen nie, loop jy die risiko van stigmatisering, marginalisering en uitsluiting. Maar daar is ook ’n dissidente vorm van ordentlikheid onder wit Afrikaanssprekendes wat, met ’n etiese oogmerk, ras- en geslagshiërargieë verwerp en aktief daarteen werk, soos in my boek beskryf.

’n Mens kan sê dat die verdeling van Afrikaanssprekendes in twee groepe op grond van ras in die 20ste eeu ’n grootskaalse en eerste proses van stigmatisering, marginalisering en uitsluiting was. Dit het gedemonstreer dat om ordentlik te wees, jy wit moet wees. Bruin Afrikaanssprekendes het ordentlikheid uiteraard anders gedefinieer, soos deur die antropoloog Elaine Salo beskryf.

Klik hier om verder te lees.

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Christi van der Westhuizen, author of Sitting Pretty, on how the rationality between the two settler classes in SA reinforces whiteness

This article first appeared in The Conversation

By Christi van der Westhuizen

Sitting PrettyWhy is it that when the West was turning away from direct colonialism in the mid-20th century, South Africa shifted to apartheid, an intensified form of this heinous system?

One of the answers lies in the country’s history of colonisation by two contending settler classes. The Dutch, or Boer, settler class on the southern most point of Africa was displaced in the 19th century by the arrival of the British.

The Afrikaners – as the descendants of the Boer settlers eventually became known – constructed their identity in opposition to, on the one hand, black identities, and on the other to Anglo whiteness.

The reverberations of the contest between these two settler groups continue even after apartheid, as I argue in my new book Sitting Pretty – White Afrikaans Women in Postapartheid South Africa.

During apartheid a great deal of work went into justifying the imposition of inequalities on the basis of human differences.

In the end apartheid collapsed due to global opprobrium that was heaped on the Afrikaner government, with both material and symbolic consequences. It tipped Afrikaner identity into turmoil, not least because their sense of themselves as moral beings was radically challenged.

At stake was ordentlikheid, analysed in my book as an ethnicised respectability. Ordentlikheid is an Afrikaans word that is difficult to translate: apart from respectability, its meanings include presentability, good manners, decency, politeness and humility with a Calvinist tenor.

Today it works as a glue that holds the identity together at the intersections of specific versions of gender, sexuality, class and race. Ordentlikheid serves as a mode of identification that works as a panacea to Afrikaner woes as they struggle to cleanse themselves of the stain of apartheid and adapt to changing historical conditions.

Examining “Afrikaner” identity through the lens of ordentlikheid reveals it as a lesser whiteness in relation to white English-speaking South African identity, which in turn draws on global Anglo whiteness.

Continue reading here.

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A collection of Zakes Mda’s non-fiction to be published in November

Justify the EnemyThis book is a collection of non-fiction by the prolific author Zakes Mda. It showcases his role as a public intellectual with the inclusion of public lectures, essays and media articles. Mda focuses on South Africa’s history and the present, identity and belonging, the art of writing, human rights, global warming and why he is unable to keep silent on abuses of power.

Some of his best-known novels include Ways of Dying (1995, MNet Book Prize); The Heart of Redness (2000, Commonwealth Writers’ Prize: Africa, and Sunday Times Fiction Prize); The Madonna of Excelsior (2002, one of the Top Ten South African books published in the Decade of Democracy); The Whale Caller (2005); Cion (2007); Black Diamond (2009); The Sculptors of Mapungubwe (2013); Rachel’s Blue (2014); and Little Suns (2015, Sunday Times Literary Award).

Zakes Mda was born in Herschel in the Eastern Cape in 1948 and studied in South Africa, Lesotho and the United States. He wrote his first short story at the age of fifteen and has since won major South African and British literary awards for his novels and plays. His writing has been translated into twenty languages. Mda is a professor of Creative Writing at Ohio University.

J.U. Jacobs is an emeritus professor and senior research associate at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He is the co-editor of Ways of Writing: Critical Essays on Zakes Mda (2009) and author of Diaspora and Identity in South African Fiction (2016).

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Jeff Opland awarded the Order of Ikhamanga: Silver for his contribution to history and South African literature

Jeff Opland has been awarded the Order of Ikhamanga: Silver for his outstanding contribution to the field of history and an impressive body of works in literature. The award read: “Your work exhumes stories of the dead and brings them to life so that the living can continue to learn and benefit.”

The Ikhamanga flower (more commonly referred to as the strelitzia, crane, or bird or paradise flower) is one of the world’s most recognisable flowers and is indigenous to the Eastern Cape. The Ikhamanga is the central motif of the Order of Ikhamanga and symbolises the unique beauty of the achievements of South Africans in the creative fields of arts, culture, literature, music, journalism and sport.

The Opland Collection of Xhosa Literature is the academic library of Jeff Opland assembled in the course of his research into Xhosa folklore, especially praise poetry, and the history of Xhosa literature. Its contents include field recordings of Xhosa poets (1969–85), books and pamphlets in isiXhosa, and copies of literature published in ephemera. The Publications Series draws on material in the Collection, and presents diplomatic editions with English translations of significant works in isiXhosa, for the most part previously unrecognised or unavailable as published books, and studies of material in the Collection.

The ceremony will be held at the Presidential Guest House on 28 April 2017.

John Solilo: Umoya wembongi

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‘How I Write’ – by literary legend Lewis Nkosi

Lewis Nkosi in Command
Image: Victor Dlamini

 

Writing HomeUKZN Press has shared an excerpt from the recently released Writing Home: Lewis Nkosi on South African Writing, edited by Lindy Stiebel and Michael Chapman.

Lewis Nkosi, who died in 2010, was a writer and essayist who spent 40 years in exile. He returned to South Africa, intermittently, after the unbannings of 1990, but his critical eye never left his home for long.

Writing Home showcases Nkosi’s wit, irony and moral toughness. In it, he assesses a range of leading writers, including Herman Charles Bosman, Breyten Breytenbach, JM Coetzee, Athol Fugard, Nadine Gordimer, Bessie Head, Alex la Guma, Bloke Modisane, Es’kia Mphahlele, Nat Nakasa, Njabulo S Ndebele, Alan Paton and Can Themba.

The following excerpt is taken from a chapter titled “How I Write”.

Enjoy!

* * * * *

How I Write
from wordsetc: South African Literary Journal, First Quarter, 2011

It is not so long ago that European modernists, especially in France, used to say that when we read literature writing is everything. When we read books or listen to stories, we have access to the world through words or the word made flesh, as the Bible put it. The mystery, of course, is how something that seems as immaterial as words can be made flesh.

Recently, I twice broke into tears over the death of two fictional characters during a re-reading of a novel and a play; first over Anna’s death in Anna Karenina, Tolstoy’s famous novel, and then over Cleopatra’s suicide in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. In both works the two women commit suicide over love affairs that have gone badly wrong. Shakespeare’s character is, of course, supposed to be based on a true historical personage, but reading about her in a historical textbook had left me more or less indifferent. So what was it about reading the play about ‘The Serpent of Egypt’ dying defiantly in the throes of love, and trying to avoid humiliation in the hands of the Roman imperialists, that so moved me to tears? Cleo’s pride, her revulsion at being dragged triumphantly through the streets of Rome, achieves a height of sublimity in her self-induced death by the bite of a snake.

Some modernist theorists have sometimes gone so far as to suggest that writing is all, and they claim that beyond writing itself, there is nothing. Maurice Blanchot, then Roland Barthes and, certainly, Jacques Derrida became famously associated with the view that there was ‘nothing outside the text’.

In these discussions, society and the material world are sometimes grandly referred to as the real. The material world is seen as the very ‘outside’ of writing. But is it really? Is the real world that ‘outside’ of what we do when we write and are the effects that writing provokes so beyond comprehension?

After all, my tears shed over two women at the very limit of their despair, over Cleopatra’s suicide and Anna’s death, ground under the wheels of a railway train, were real enough; but how does the creation of illusion manage to produce such real effects? Sympathy, you will say. Empathy. A bit of psychology that goes some way to explain the mystery of the effects upon us of artistic representation, but psychology finally explains nothing.

When it comes to wielding a pen or a brush, how does the manipulation of words or paint finally bring them into contact with the real? It remains a mystery. The mirror is often used as a metaphor, but it is an inexact, even a misleading, metaphor.

The problem of ‘an inside that searches for an outside’ is not confined to art, but extends to questions of political representation. Not surprisingly, critiques of modernity, as two political scientists have told us, reside ‘where the blackmail of bourgeois realism is refused’, going beyond what already exists. Writers certainly and the world or the real resistant to any attempt to capture it through words.

I imagine the same is true of painters and sculptors. In artistic representation, ‘mirroring’ reality became a political issue with the arrival of modernity and the question of political representation. Consequently, what is called ‘true’ representation of reality is linked to the question of ‘authenticity’.

In black America and black South Africa what became prized above everything else in literature was referred to as ‘truth-telling’.

The joke and the irony is the attempt by white South African writers to ‘authenticate’ their works by trying to capture the reality of township life, of which they knew very little, while dismissing the parables of fellow writers such as JM Coetzee as far removed from this ‘reality’.

Nadine Gordimer’s rise to literary pre-eminence was based primarily on the perception in London and New York that she was able to describe life as it was lived by ‘real people’, black and white, in South Africa, but most importantly by black people in the township. When being questioned on Dutch television whether she felt comfortable about describing life in the township when she did not live there, she angrily retorted that she had at least slept for one night in the township!

Gordimer’s problem can thus be seen as the reverse of the black writers who created the so-called ‘township novel’. Not all but many of them began to think it was enough to have lived in the township to produce good novels about township life; craft could look after itself.

For me, writing is primarily a struggle with language; words refusing to be made ‘flesh’. When Shakespeare writes: ‘Full fathom five thy father lies / Of his bones are corals made!’, while I know that English people in the sixteenth century did not really speak like this, I find the lines true because of their music: that alliteration of the ‘f’ sound convinces me that a certain man lay in the depths of the sea as truly as if his body had been detected by laser beams.

What is Anna Karenina to me that I should weep for her? Why do I mourn Cleopatra?

A lot of it has to do with how words are put together. The rest is a mystery.

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Quality academic work recognised and celebrated – UKZN Press authors honoured with awards

Book awards play an important role in the recognition of the quality of books published, especially in a market where book stores may be constrained with the range of books they are able to stock.

UKZN Press is proud to announce that two of its titles led the way in the recent inaugural National Institute of the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS) Book, Creative and Digital Awards.

Class in SowetoWorld of LettersAntjie Krog and the Post-Apartheid Public Sphere

 
Submissions opened last year to honour outstanding, innovative and socially responsive scholarship that enhances and advances fields in the humanities and social sciences. The books categories celebrate members of the Humanities and Social Sciences community who are undertaking the vital work of creating post-apartheid and postcolonial forms of scholarship.

Peter Alexander, Claire Ceruti, Keke Motseke, Mosa Phadi and Kim Wale took first prize in the Non-fiction: Edited collection section for their book Class in Soweto.

Corinne Sandwith, author of World of Letters: Reading Communities and Cultural Debates in Early Apartheid South Africa was shortlisted in the Non-fiction: Manuscript category.

In her pioneering study, Sandwith recovers a rich historical tradition of public and cultural debates about literature and communities in early apartheid South Africa and this book was also honoured by her winning the Vice-Chancellor’s Book Award – University of Pretoria. Before Professor Sandwith took up her position at the University of Pretoria in 2014, she taught for many years in the English Studies Department at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Antjie Krog and the Post-Apartheid Public Sphere: Speaking Poetry to Power by Anthea Garman was awarded the Vice-Chancellor’s Book Prize at Rhodes University. In her book, Garman looks at how Antjie Krog became known to English speakers for her opposition to apartheid, especially at a time when South Africa was not only looking for a humane and just resolution post-1994, but was also establishing itself as a new democracy.

UKZN Press is proud to continue striving for excellence through the books that we publish. We congratulate our authors on their commitment to their writing and look forward to celebrating awards like this in the future.

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Writing Home: Lewis Nkosi on South African Writing – new from UKZN Press!

Writing HomeUKZN Press is excited to present Writing Home: Lewis Nkosi on South African Writing edited by Lindy Stiebel and Michael Chapman.

Lewis Nkosi’s insights into South African literature, culture and society first appeared in the 1950s, when the “new” urban African in Sophiatown and on Drum magazine mockingly opposed then Prime Minister HF Verwoerd’s Bantu retribalisation policies. Before his death in 2010, Nkosi focused on the literary-cultural challenges of post-Mandela times.

Having lived for 40 years in exile, he returned to South Africa, intermittently, after the unbannings of 1990. His critical eye, however, never for long left the home scene. Hence, the title of this selection of his articles, essays and reviews, Writing Home.

Writing home with wit, irony and moral toughness, Nkosi assesses a range of leading writers, including Herman Charles Bosman, Breyten Breytenbach, JM Coetzee, Athol Fugard, Nadine Gordimer, Bessie Head, Alex la Guma, Bloke Modisane, Es’kia Mphahlele, Nat Nakasa, Njabulo S Ndebele, Alan Paton and Can Themba.

Combining the journalist’s penchant for the human-interest story with astute analysis, Nkosi’s ideas, observations and insights are as fresh today as when he began his 60-year career as a writer and critic.

Selected from his out-of-print collections, Home and Exile, The Transplanted Heart and Tasks and Masks, as well as from journals and magazines, Nkosi’s punchy commentaries will appeal to a wide readership.

About the editors

Lindy Stiebel is a professor of English Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and visiting professor at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Michael Chapman is affiliated as a senior researcher to the Durban University of Technology. He is also an emeritus professor and fellow of the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

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Mugabe does not rule alone – Read an excerpt from Power Politics in Zimbabwe by Michael Bratton

Power Politics in ZimbabwePower Politics in Zimbabwe by Michael Bratton is a careful analysis of one of the most controversial presidencies in the world.

In this preeminent book on Robert Mugabe and the ZANU-PF, the author looks at the political settlements, roots of repression, colonial political settlements, the Zimbabwean period of crisis (2000-2008), the power-sharing experiment (2008-2013), and the power politics at play in the country.

Bratton, a distinguished professor of of political science and African studies at Michigan State University, also reflects on the rewriting of the constitution, improving the electoral conduct, a security-sector reform and tackling transitional justice.

The first chapter takes a look at the power politics in Zimbabwe and gives an outline of the book. US publishers Lynne Rienner, who first released this book in 2014, have made an excerpt available; giving readers the opportunity to sample the first chapter in its entirety.

Read the excerpt:

Power Politics in Zimbabwe – Excerpt

 
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Read ‘The Room of Family Holidays’ from Kobus Moolman’s Glenna Luschei Prize-winning anthology

Read “The Room of Family Holidays” from Kobus Moolman’s Glenna Luschei Prize-winning anthology

 
A Book of RoomsUKZN Press and Deep South Publishing have shared an excerpt from Kobus Moolman’s poetry anthology A Book of Rooms, which was announced as the winner of the 2015 Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry this week.

The Glenna Luschei Prize is a pan-African poetry award worth $5 000 (about R84 000), overseen by the African Poetry Book Fund in partnership with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s literary journal Prairie Schooner.

In her comments, Judge Gabeba Baderoon called A Book of Rooms “electric, visceral, brilliantly experimental, and profoundly moving”.

Moolman was a guest of the Winter Warmer Festival in Cork, Ireland, last year, and his reading of “The Room of Family Holidays” is available to view on YouTube:

YouTube Preview Image

 

* * * * *

 

Read the poem:

 

The Room of Family Holidays
Bright sunlight. Fat smell of frying.

 
There is a long

window with thick metal burglar bars painted white The window
runs the length

of the room and looks out across the deep blue Indian ocean on
the south coast of

Natal It is a long narrow room with three single beds One bed is
perpendicular to the

room, in the middle, with its head against the back wall facing
the ocean (This bed is

reserved for his sister) A second bed is directly underneath the
window, and horizontal

to it, at the far end of the room The third bed is in the same
position but up against

the back wall The second bed is a source of continual dispute
between himself and

his brother Because both boys always want to sleep right by the
window so they can

be the first to see the ocean and to see the sun come up This
dispute is finally solved

by their father (with the help of his strap) who decides that they
must take turns to be

at the window on their annual Christmas holidays Although this
still does not prevent

them arguing over who slept there last and whose turn it is this
time About to go

into his final year at high school he feels that such squabbles are
below him, and he

magnanimously allows his brother access to the bed by the
window without any

argument, and with only a superior smile He feels that he is on
the brink of something

very significant in his life, something almost adult And though he
will perhaps feel

this same overwhelming power again For example when he buys
his first car, a 1982

white VW Jetta Mk1, or when he publishes his first – and only –
piece of writing, a

rhyming poem on Mother’s Day in a consumer tabloid distributed
free from local Spar

supermarkets It will never be with the same absolute confidence
in his ability to get

what he wants And what he wants now is to find a way to talk to
the long-legged blonde

girl who stays in the big cottage at the top of the road, with its
own private access

to the beach via a long flight of steps made from old railway
sleepers And so he

doubles up on the arm and chest and leg exercises he does with
his expander springs

(the thick ones with the blue handles, not the red ones which are
too easy) Even

though his mother warns him not to strain himself And he swims
in the surf directly

in front of her house even at high tide (when his mother warns
him not to because of

his weak legs and the strong undertow) And he tans himself at
low tide on the flat

black rocks in full view of her pathway So that she has no choice
but to notice him

And when she smiles at him on the third day and says hello how
are you on the fourth

he knows with a certainty as firm as the black rocks that he is
chosen And that

he will always get what he wants Just by willing it And on the fifth
day she invites

him to her house and into her small bedroom (with a big blue
teddy bear on the bed)

and together they listen to a stretched tape of the Beatles’
Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely

Hearts Club Band (I’d love to turn you on) And on New Year’s Eve
they walk hand

in hand as the white sun sets behind them, along the beach to a
party on the wet sand

where he drinks Spook en Diesel (just like his father’s policemen
friends) out of a

polystyrene cup and the blonde girl is asked to dance by an older
boy, a university student

he assumes, because of his long hair, who comes to the party in
a red beach buggy

with a surf board tied to the top, and who makes the girl laugh by
whispering something

in her ear And he (the boy with a hole in his heart, at the heart of
this story) feels everything

crumble and slide away beneath his small feet in their differently sized
orthopaedic boots

And he leaves without saying anything to the girl And stumbles
home along the cold

moonless beach He knows that if he goes home now his mother
will want to know

What’s wrong? What happened? Are you alright? And she will
want to kiss it all

better (As she always does) But he is much too old for all of that
stuff now So he

hunches behind a dune smelling of damp vegetation and rotten
fish-bait and dog turds

and he sniffs his right hand repeatedly, the hand that held onto
hers (and smells of

coconut oil and Simba Puffs) and he licks it and puts it inside his
trousers and he waits

until it is midnight and the fire-crackers have died down and he
can open their back

door and creep into the sleeping house And in the morning his
mother spoils their

whole family by frying bacon and eggs for breakfast (sunny-side
up) with white toast

This is a special treat Just for holidays she says smiling at him
Because apart from

his father who eats mielie pap every morning for breakfast
everyone else always

has Pronutro, regular or chocolate flavoured, with milk and no
sugar And that is

that Finish en klaar That is the morning when he learns how
much easier it always is to pretend than to admit a painful truth.
 

* * * * *

 

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