Author Archive

Away In Romania

October 20th, 2009 2 comments

There was no Patrick Swayze to whisk me away from the corner of my room to teach me dirty dancing after twelve that Old Year’s Eve at the Blue Marlin Hotel in Scottburgh.

I was too young to go – by one day.

My birthday falls on the day after New Year – then I would turn sixteen.

We’d spent fourteen years of Decembers there.

With the same families and their children.

When exams started, pre-Blue Marlin anticipation intensified – comparable to the pre-birth anticipation parents feel, memories mysteriously wiped blank of previous Births of Death.

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Categories: Holidays Tags:

Do You Think I’m Fat?

September 8th, 2009 13 comments

fat“Am I losing my hair?”

“How old do you think I am?”

“Isn’t my baby beautiful?”

Is your epiglottis in danger of being swallowed?

Not mine.

I’m expected to answer questions like these all the time.

I get asked these questions because I’m a freak of nature – like one of those people who attract lightning bolts, and I’m forced to answer them.

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Categories: Petty Apartheid Tags: , ,

Speaking In Code

August 2nd, 2009 91 comments

codeChapter 1

Go ahead.

Ban it.

Strike it from the school curriculum.

Take every Afrikaans page that’s ever been penned and burn it in front of the Voortrekker Monument.

Change the name of every Afrikaans-name-bearing city, suburb, town, highway, street and residential driveway.

Gag the mouths of every remaining Afrikaans-speaking South-African*.

You’ve been trying to crush Afrikaans into all kinds of zero since 1994.

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I’m A South African [and I feel fine]

July 12th, 2009 6 comments

Chapter 1

And there it fell – the square peg through the square hole.

It was lucky, because at any moment, after the years of grinding, its corners had so worn away it was almost about circular.

The problem of my low self-esteem was my puzzle.

I’d always used my father as the answer, and tried to work my way backwards as to why this was so.

But, being forced to rewind here has revealed a different solution.

Because my father was a racing driver, we never saw much of him when were kids, and that unexpectedly vaporized him from the equation.

The actual reason is this:

One day my father took us to America.

Chapter 2

tvWe stumbled off the airplane, jetlagged and disoriented, like little drunks being carried out of a bar after a Big Night Out.

We were dumped out of our cab on the sidewalk outside the New York Hilton – a hallucination of the tallest building we’d ever seen in our lives, so real our ears popped in the elevator on the way up to our floor.

We fell into our room not knowing what to do first – cry, sleep, vomit, or spinaroundincirclesanddropdownontheflooranddie!

But suddenly, something cleared all that up for us.

Everything else in the universe warped backwards into the vacuum of a giant black hole…

Out of its centre emerged a super-terrestrial object we’d only read about in comics…

We stood there in a catatonic stupor… at our first close encounter… with a television of the first kind…

That was the beginning of a six-week race for the remote control.

Which in retrospect is probably the reason we never came home morbidly obese – until then the only food we’d been exposed to was home-cooking and the Airport-Star Roadhouse before Friday night’s Drive-In movies.

We went to Hamley’s Toy Shop.

All four stories of it!

We bought so much stuff.

For so cheap!

Because two American Dollars cost one Rand.


We acted like wedding guests at a buffet.

Where had we been while all of this had been going on behind our backs???

How could the world have hidden this from us all of this time???

Chapter 3

newyorkhiltonBut I also remember seeing a fruit stall with pickings we’d only seen in illustrations of Eden.

It’s sign read: ‘…from South-Africa’


And I remember a restaurateur running to summon one of his staff that hailed from our ‘home town’.

He was from Kenya.


I remember my father’s acquaintances asking how we “got around what with all them lions and tigers in the streets and all”.


I remember the Disneyland Parade – that was really a storm cloud in disguise, which would eventually come to rain heavily down on ours.

Chapter 4

We cried ourselves to sleep almost every night back home.

And awoke every morning to the soundtrack of ‘It’s A Small World’.

But I realise now that it was not.

The only world that was small, was ours.


Now, with my self-respect restored, I realise that America’s like the A-Team – great when we were young.

I’m sorry, that’s realiZE.

I’m South-African.

Categories: Realisation Tags: , , ,