Author Archive

A Farmer’s Family Holiday

October 15th, 2009 3 comments

NaturesValleyI love travelling; whether it is discovering new countries with its unique architecture or going to places in my own country where I have never been before, I love meeting interesting foreigners and eating local food, but I will never exchange it for the luxury of our family’s traditional holiday at the sea.

It is important to realise that when it comes to going away on holiday, there are two types of farmers – those who are happy to leave the farm for a few weeks at a time and those who hate the idea of being separated from their beloved farm for more than a few days at a time. I am the daughter of a farmer that falls into the latter category.

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In Memory Of The Farm School

September 17th, 2009 3 comments

farm_schoolWe started off on equal footing you and I. Things were never black and white, but a world full of colour changing with the seasons. You see, what made you and me different was not our race, but who our parents were. Mine, the baas while yours worked for the baas. A worldwide phenomenon that has nothing to do with apartheid.

Our days were filled with building our own farms yards and hide-outs and learning each other’s games, languages and customs. We played cricket and football and went horse riding together or joined our fathers in the veldt. But meal times and after hours were spent with our own families. Our milk and meat came from the same source and we both dreaded our inoculations from the sister in her travelling clinic. You were taught to treat me with respect, I was taught to treat you with the same respect. We were too young to understand that we were different because of our skin colour, but we understood that my parents could afford a car because my dad owned the land we lived on.

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Categories: Petty Apartheid Tags: ,

Afrikaans Is Plesierig

August 24th, 2009 6 comments

afrikaansdistributionEk is mal daaroor om Afrikaans te praat want dit is ‘n lekker taal, but I am more comfortable writing in English. As ek met my pa praat, praat ons Afrikaans, but the conversation switches to English when I speak to my mom. I hear Afrikaans on a daily basis in the most “English” of countries and have used Afrikaans to establish that I am not from England while traveling through Europe. I know nothing about linguistics, but instead a language is more about the people who speak it.

Some words and expressions just sound so much better/dramatic in Afrikaans – one of them being deurmekaar. That word sums up my attitude towards a language I grew up with.

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A Journey Of Discovery

July 20th, 2009 12 comments

I asked a couple of friends when they realised they were South African; most of them had a definitive moment (“when we won the world cup” being a popular answer), but my story is more an ongoing journey of discovery.

tubeI have been aware of my South African status ever since I was first introduced to the concept of countries and borders and I am constantly being reminded of it when I have to apply for visas. On the other hand, understanding what it means to be South African is a concept I am only now beginning to comprehend. For me, appreciating my South African nationality only started once I left South Africa’s borders. Comparing my culture, beliefs, values and heritage to other nationalities enables me to realise that I am South African.

My first introduction to my “South Africaness” occurred at Fishermen’s Wharf in San Francisco one rainy day just after I matriculated. I was trying to hide from a downpour in a warehouse when I heard somebody shout at me that this area is not open to the public. I apologised, but as soon as they realised that I’m a South African I got invited for coffee. I had to explain to Americans what it means to live in a young democracy such as South Africa and for the first time I started to realise that growing up in South Africa in the 80s and 90s was a unique privilege.

Not only have I realised that being a young South African means that you have been exposed to such a historical event, that you are part of the rainbow nation, but also that we, South Africans, are a unique bunch. I was traveling to work through London early one morning on a rather packed tube when I spotted a very pregnant woman standing in front of an occupied priority seat. I told the youth to get up for the lady and after a few moments of awkwardness he got up. A businessman then commented “only South Africans would do something like that”.

braaiA few years ago I found a small pub in a French village that was broadcasting the French Rugby tour to South Africa. Naturally when South Africa scored the first try I had to cheer, informing the entire pub that I was South African. We lost the game, but afterwards I got given a beer and received a huge cheers from the French patrons – “Au Sud Africains ”. While traveling through Europe I have realised that as a South African we have inherited so many traditions from other parts of the world, yet we also have such a rich African heritage, helping me to understand the European/African traditions I was brought up with. A white Christmas is so foreign, yet so familiar.

On a daily basis, while sitting on a red bus, chatting to a cab driver in Belfast, going through customs, meeting up with friends for a braai, hearing the expressions ja and now now, I am reminded of the fact that I am South African. Discovering my routes and heritage is a wonderful experience; so my only wish is that I will never stop discovering that I am a South African.

Categories: Realisation Tags: , ,