To blend in.
|I am at the back Blue suit. My ex Marinda is in front blond with black and red Jacket.|
|Trudy came running to drag me closer and I formed part of the throng of a wedding couple being welcomed.. Dee with the baby and Trudy escorting me.|
|I knew of nothing did not even prepare a speech.Monica's mother at the end of the table and her twin's daughter Palmira on her lap.|
|Mrs, Olwagen getting "churched" as it seems our magistrates court wedding certificate was not good enough. Palmira is sitting on my lap and that look is one of a nervous guy believe me.Monica's brother at the back of her.|
|My beautiful African Queen radiates on our wedding day holding my hand.|
|My Caddy in front of the Kkruger Park gate,|
Rebirth yourself, follow your heart reach out and change your life by touching the lives of others.I am going to tell you a story. I am good at telling stories.Talk to the children that know me and they will vouch for that fact.My first real job was being a journalist, that was many moons ago and I was young and adventurous.
My story will start more recently.Only two decades or so ago a white Afrikaner man went to live in a Coloured Township called Reiger Park.I shall tell you the story and be warned I am going to be brutally honest. I also know the consequences of being brutally honest as I first recorded and published the story on my Blog in Afrikaans.
I am not going to translate that story.I am writing it afresh.I ended up in front of the door of Flat G10 in Reiger Park because I was hungry and lonely and wished for a partner to share a meal with me.A Coleague,whom I gave a lift to on a daily basis,advised me to ask her sister as she did not want to join me.
The woman that came to the door was beautifull, she pulled the rug right out under my feet in an instant, by her mere presence.Unpretencious,bubbly well built and fresh.She did not wear makeup. I swollowed several times when she agreed to be my date and I must admit I swallowed to prevent me from drooling over her.
It was like hitting the jackpot.For months after my divorce I was looking for love. Big mistake do not look for love on the rebound.All you are going to do is compare every woman to the ex and that will be fatal. I know your hormones are boiling inside you and your lust is becoming the over riding constant in your life.So was I, it was burning in me to hold a woman close to me,to make love to her, to smother her in kisses but I remained rational and controlled my lust intentionally because I did want to scare her off like so many others before.
My ex Marinda was a blond bombshell and every young man in Pretoria wanted her.She was Marilyn Monroe,she was desirable. That was untill I arrived on my red motorbike in front of the offices of Perskor in Pretoria West.Before they knew it I ran of into the sunset with the object of their desire and returned after a few days with her as my wife.Short and sweet I came I saw, I conquered.
Her name was Monica, the one with the full breasts and thin middle .She was sweet full of joy and laughter, a little girl in the vuloptuos body of a woman. She was my date !. I could not believe my luck but did not show my excitement, I acted sauve, self assured and easy going. Inside me it was a boiling cauldron of desire and passion and I dragged deeper on the Chesterfield sigarette I was smoking.
I told het I wanted to go to a restaurant to enjoy a meal, asked her for her preference. “You choose, surprise me,” is all she said. I went with my gut feel and headed for Rocky Street close to Hilbrow. A Cosmopolitan place where I often drowned my sorrows in a double whiskey listening to jazz in a cosy pub. Always alone, always hoping for company it must have been written all over me.”He is Randy, He is in must, beware !”They avoided me.
There was an all night restaurant in the same street that I visited before. Their food was divine,the atmosphere electric and the service was top notch.It was an expensive place to dine but I did not mind at all,my date would be spoiled with the best.
I shall never forget that night as long as I live. We laughed and chatted like old buddies.She was adventourous and ordered snails as a starter and a sumptions pepper fillet.We had italian kisses for desert and then we went for shooters all the while chatting,all the while laughing and joking, thouraghly enjoying ourselves. My credit card was merrily clicking up a tab and I did not care.
Not once did I notice that she was not white. That was totally irrelevant I loved being with this woman and it showed.It was early hours in the morning when we finally headed out of there.
I had to ask her for the way to Reiger Park and before we knew it we stopped in front of her flat. I thanked her for a lovely evening and she replied. “Come in you cannot drive all the way to Nigel now.”Those words “Come in.” hit deep and boy I was out of my skin with exitement. We devoured each other like hungry wolves in her bed, I watched the sun rise through her bedroom window while she was snoozing with a soft smile on her lovely face. I left quietly not wanting to disturb her and headed back to the place I shared with a Scott in Nigel.
The Dopomine bomb that exploded in my body rid it instantly from many months of stress. I was not tired even though I never slept the entire night. My eyes were clear and my mind sharp all traces of alcohol in me dissapeared in her bed and I drove slowly but my thoughts were racing. At last I spent time with a real woman in a real embrace one of mutual longing. There were others,quite a few after my divorce but I always turned away always feeling it was not the real “thing”. I could not honestly say I was bonding or even belonging just releasing pressure and I always felt unfullfilled.
So much so that I visited the Summit Club in Hilbrow. A “gentleman’s” club with naked dancers and extras at a price. I have this thing about respect for women and always endeavor to satisfy them sexually as much as they satisfy me and most of the time end up empty.I was respectfull to the prostitutes and treated them like ladies and many told me so. Their race and age and build did not bother me but I never thought that it counted.The sex did not count because it was arteficial in every respect and such is life becuase it only counts when there is mutual desire and mutual respect. So Monica, in my mind, was the first non white woman I had sex with because we threw our bodies at each other without inhibition or restraint.
As I neared Nigel,where I grew up as a child I remembered a little boy fascinated by images of half naked black girls in books that were meant for adults only in the library. Somehow the librarian allowed me to browse through books in the adult section as I spent many hours there. I was a bookworm of note and other than my school friends I preferred to read English books not Afrikaans.
I vividly recalled her body,her firm full breasts and flat belly. Her legs and buttocks and her sweet face glued to mine in pasionate kissing that left little time to breathe inbetween.There were no rules no preconceived rituals or methods just unbridled passion.I cuddled her afterwards and she drifted away sleeping peacefully in my arms. Our bodies still damp from exersion and I slowly released her and slowly and softly got out of the bed covering her giving her a kiss on the cheek so that she could sleep unhindered.
I remembered in my teens it happened twice. Twice was I touched by naked black girls. Once on the Natal coast in what we called Zululand.The other time on the Transkei coast both times on far off beaches were wild aninmals still joined domestic cattle on the beaches.It did not count because I was inexperienced and a virgin and remained so I believe after the first time when we swam naked together and held hands and she kissed me before I left. The second time something happend and I could not fairly say I was a virgin afterwards.We also swam naked together and she did things to me I could never have imagined. I always wandered around alone away from my pesky over baring steph father during my shool holidays. I was a natural naturist and loved walking and swiming naked. I did know their language and they did know mine and what happened was totally natural and we never saw each other again because I returned to school and they returned to their vilages. I never spoke about it,it was forbidden in the land I grew up in.Forbidden to mix with other races.Forbidden to touch private parts,forbidden to play and swim together. So in my mind it did not count.
I phoned her when I reached Nigel and she told me to come back as she did not understand why I had to leave as she saw no reason for it. I rushed back to Reiger Park after having a shower and change of clothes. I barely slept for two hours the entire night and dosed off a little when I reached the Scott’s home were I boarded.
She counted and boy did she count in my life. I raced back to Reiger Park to the source of my passion, I was like a love sick little boy totally overwhelmed by this beautifull warm creature. Her son Zayne,was told that I was his mommy’s boss and he could not undestand why his mommy’s boss visited so often and slept over every time he did so.
So I need to explain my logic on what counts and what not.In my book of life that is. In my book it only counts when you have bonded. When you have become one spiritual being through physical interaction.When both parties feel they belong and feel fulfilled in being in that state of completeness.It is when two bodies are lifted up into a state of spiritual bondage, when two souls intertwine and becomes one entity and share every function of their physical bodies and in so doing excellerate and heighten the purpose of their bodies.When two hearts beat as one with an ancient rythm only known to and understood by lovers.
We have been together for more than two decades and we have a beautifull girl child from our union. I am rushing ahead because the story I am telling is about my experiences in the township and there is a lot to tell. I found myself in a strange world that I was not accustomed to amongst people that secretly reviled my white skin because of the history in our land. It was breaking new ground and learning and sharing and I made a concious decision that I am going to make it work although a lot of my fellow South Africans and even some of my own family frowned on such relationships.
I did not know what to expect once it came out. How my employers and collegues would react.How my family would react because I did it without their knowledge or approval. Quite frankly it was my life and I was going to live my life as I deemed fit. We started a discovery of each other and of each other’s cultures. Mandela was not free yet and mixed relationships wre technically still unlawfull on the statute books.The church was not forced yet to swallow their develish doctrine in this regard. To be fair it was mostly Afrikaans churces who swallowed and promoted the state sponsored apartheid agenda and not christians across the board.
Monica comes from a big family. Her mother and father had ten children in wedlock and then some outside.She had eight isters and two brothers. She was part of three twins among her siblings. They were raised in a town called Utrecht in KZN . Her father was many years their mother’s senior and died while most of them were still small. He was a builder by trade and looked well after his family. Her mother should be a national hero to raise ten children and then some, mostly on her own and worked as a teller in a shop to care for her family after her husband’s passing.
I have a brother and two sisters. My father was an ordained preacher and died at the age of 37 and left his widow and children in poverty as both churches he served did not have pension schemes and did little to help his family after his passing. She used to go to work on a bicycle to support herself and children while he studied Theology.
It was not long before Monica asked me to move in with her. Me driving up and down between Nigel and Roodekop was taking its toll.So it happened that I moved into flat G10 with my woman. I agreed because I wanted to give the relationship a chance as I was madly in love and realised we both had adjustments to make to fully accept each others cultures.
She had a two bedroomed flat that was fully furnished and was always neat as a pin.She worked at Standard Bank head Office in Johannesburg. I was and Account Executive in the Parts division of XPS Couriers and had several In Houses at OEM’s in different areas across Gauteng.I drove a VW Caddy as part of my perks and was allowed to use it privately.Monica taking a taxi to work became something of the past as I dropped and collected her at work most days. I spent most of my time at Volkswagen South Africa’s Distribution warehouse in Roodekop where Monica’s sister, who introduced her to me, also worked.
We were in love and wholly so. Her son Zayne stayed with us in the flat and every second weekend I would fetch my daughter Hilda-marie,from my previous marriage from Randfontein to visit us.We were becomming a family and my daughter accepted Zayne and Monica as part of her family and had no problems with the fact that she stayed in Reiger Park every second weekend.
I started cooking for us partly because Monica worked a lot of over time and partly because I could not stomach eating curry this and curry that every single day. I banished curry out of the flat and redecorated the kitchen buying new utensils and an array of herbs and spices other than her beloved curry. She beame accostomed to walk into the flat to find a home cooked meal as I was quite an accomplished cook.
I was basically my own boss as I was allowed to work flexy time between my different accounts.I was responsible for the staff and operations and in keeping our customers satisfied and informed by monthly freight reports and liasing with their warehouse staff as and when required to implement fixes and improvements on service delivery targets.
We were becoming a family and I loved it, every moment of it though it has its challenges. Biggest challenge to me was the noise in the Flats.Secondly it was littering and overflowing drains and even overflowing sewage as a regular coccurence due to mismanagement of systems by the local municipality.Power cuts specially mid winter was a huge inconvenience and regular occurance.They also irregularly collected over flowing Skips.
The language was something different to get used to and although we both speak Afrikaans, Bushy Afrikaans is a language all on its own. I often had to ask her to clarify what she means when she used words and prhases that was Greeck to me.Likewise I sometimes used Afrikaans that led to a Huh,what do you mean ?. Off course it was a colorfull language with a hefty dose of swearing inbetween.I got so tired of people shouting their disdain wit a “Jou ma se poes”(literally translated your mother’s vagina), I once let rip from the second floor “Jou pa se piel”(your father’s penis.)
It is a tight knit community with family visiting each other regularly. It is a caring community where the term Ubuntu or good-neighbourliness.(meaning a man is a man through another man.) is thoroughly understood and applied.It is a community plagued by poverty because of the high unemployment figures in our country and because of blatant race discrimination by the goverment in this regard.The people are upset that they were discriminated against by the apartheid goverment because they were mot white enough and discriminated against by the democratic goverment because they are not black enough.
Their anger blowed over into full on rage during the time I lived there. It was after a series of power cuts due to non payment of electricity and the community retaliated by burning down power boxes.It was during winter and it was grossly unfair to children,old people and people who were ill.The anger spilled over into the streets and gangsters got involved. The community took out their wrath on the Municipal building and Police station and burnt both down and also looted and damaged shops.The criminality was mostly due to gangsters getting involved as there were a few known gangs operating in the township.
I shall elaborate more on the gangs and drug lords at a later stage.It suffices to say that it remains a huge problem in many communities. The authorities seems helpless and often the police are either involved or do nothing about it.I soon found about gangs after moving into Monica’s flat. She warned me about certain areas that needed to be avoided.It was an open secret who the gangs were and where their territoriies or turfs were. Fact is one of her relatives owned a shebeen known as “One must die”, that was frequented by gangs and many a young life ended there, true to its ominous name.The owner himself was killed later and was waliking around with a bullet floating inside him for months after a similar attempt. Fact is I had protection when I ventured there due to the fact I was considered to be family.
Monica was a mother to all the children in the neighbourhood and many children came to our flat for assistance because of that.She has a big heart and loves children unconditionally.I used to collect block G kids in my Caddy and take them to the sports fields to play kricket over weekends. Monica and I would pack a cooler box with drinks and ice for us and coldrink for the kids. I would go buy a couple of loaves of bread and slaptjips (potato fries) with masala for the hungry children after the game.I supplied bats and balls etc.
The family knew there was a “boer” staying with their sister but nobody commented on it.I met some of them visiting with her starting with her twin sister and her Portuguese husband. Her brother often came to the flat to wash his car but it was acctually an excuse to partake in my huge anti-babalaas(anti-hangover) breakfast that I became famous for.
We decided to get married after living together for some time. It was done in secret and we swore not a living soul would be told. All exept for her Cousin Trudy and her jongetjie(boyfriend) who were regular visitors. We got married in Boksburg magistartes Court and our two younger friends were our witnessess . The party of all party’s ensued in the flat after tying the knot. Just the four of us nobody else. I bought a ring weeks before and Mrs. Olwagen loved showing it off with her ringfinger under her chin without saying a word.Zayne was with an aunt that weekend and he was also not informed of our marriage neither was Hilda.
It was during this time that I convinced my wife that we must start saving for a family holiday in the National Kruger Park.Every year it was part of my “duty” to help organise an outing there for our clients.It was an all expenses paid outing and no costs were spared. Off course we were just men and whe camped with the resulting overindulgence with booze flowing like water.I bought books and maps and we involved the children in planning our trip to their huge delight and anticipation.
I was left with huge debt after my divorce and decided to enroll at the Rand Afrikaans University for a three year National Diploma course in Road transportation to further my career.I worked hard and played hard and was soon promoted and it continued specially after I passed well and was awarded accordingly. Studying while working in a place like Reiger Park is not easy but I persevered.
The family decided in secret to make a honest wedded couple out of us. We were not informed as we never oficially admitted to any person we were legally married.One day I was invited or rather instructed to go to her brother’s house dressed appropriately meaning I must wear a suite. I waited on the pavement outside his home sipping whiskey from my cooler box in the boot of my third company car.I was nervous as I do not appreciate surprises and my wife was nowhere in sight.
I sat there waiting for what seemed to me to be hours. Eventually another family member arrived and I was told to follow his car. He stopped in a street not far away and motioned I must park my vehicle. He came to fetch me and we walked together. He said nothing just that I must follow him and on asking where my wife was I was curtly informed.”You will see her.” When we rounded the corner I noticed something was going down, there were cars parked everywhere. Then all hell broke loose.
I heard singing and they came around a bend, Hordes of ulilating singing women with brooms sweeping in font of my bride singing. Vul'indlela wemamgobhozi !! they were dancing and celebrating. Trudy came running to drag me closer and I formed part of the throng of a wedding couple being welcomed.
Boy oh boy was I surprised. Monica’s family organised and paid for a fully blown wedding ceremony with a Pastor and a wedding cake and champagne etc.Monica’s mother was fetched in Utrecht to attend her daughters wedding.Guests were invited and everybody was sworn to secrecy.If our wedding party in the flat was something this was huge.I did not prepare a speech, I did not know I was formerly being betrothed and my wife was equally in the dark.
Just recently I bought Monica an expensive formal outfit for a company function we were invited to. She was wearing that dress and by sheer coincidence I was wearing the new suite I bought for the same company function, where I was acknowleged for being nominated for the Chairmans Award of our holding company.
Mr. and Mrs. Olwagen was properly “churched” as this Magistrate wedding certificate we held was simply not good enough.Thad day I secretly wished it was my father that married us and that my Mother would be welcoming my new bride with my sisters and brother. Alas that could not be. They knew nothing of my wedding and my father was in heaven and I never knew him as I was to small to recall him when he died.
You get to see things and do things that white Afrikaner men like me will never see and do. Like marching against the authorities. Like being called in the middle of the night by a gangster with the name Honne that the boer must come and march. Like having a neighbor uncle Riebie asking me to go fetch a live goat in my Caddy and then being invited to feast on the beast, he slaughtered that animal inside his bathtub and I did not know and prefer not to know how he dispensed of the intestines. The skin was hanging on the palisade fence next to the road.
There was a shebeen in H flat across the open area. Aunt Margie was well known to everybody and she knew Monica’s family well. You could buy beer on tick fom Aunt Margie all hours, day and night and pay when you have money.One day I heard a guy saying that the boer is stuck up because he does not drink with the gents. I promply walked over to Aunt Margie’s flat and bought two cases of courts. Half a case of Castle for me, and a case and a half Black label for the gents and carried it across to the steps by our flat. I went and sat on one case and called a boy to get the gents to come drink beer.We sat their drinking and smoking untill I finished my six courts and carried the empty bottles and case up to the flat. The gents carried on drinking and promised to bring the other emties and case when they were done. I explained to them. I do not drink with you because you cannot drink like me, meaning I had a big capacity and that day I proved it.
One early morning the phone rang and Monica sounded upset when answering it. “What is it,who is phoning early houurs of the morning,” Shain was killed he was stabbed by gansters,she was in tears.” Shain was Trudy’s boyfriend, a differnt one to the one that she dated when we got married and was the father of her son.We got up as it was the custom that family must immediately gather at the house where death occured. We left for excuse Me to her sister,my collegue’s house wher the family was gathered. Two wide eyed teenagers told the story how he got stabbed in the back repeatedly by a gang and was totally over powered. He tried to fight back but they were to many and extremely violent.He got stabbed very close to where we were gathered and left in the street to die.His only sin was that he crossed their turf and they were out hunting “dogs to kill.”He was walking home after visiting Trudy’s home.
It was bitterly cold and I boiled water to make tea and coffee as more family members arrived and others left to watch over the body untill the mortuary van arrived.They knew who killed him by name but nobody dared talk out of fear of retribution and knowing the Police were friends with some gansters and would not react at all and in many instances those that reported cases, names were given to the perpetrators by the men in blue and the “spies”would be killed in turn.
Later I talked with a family member who dated a ganster and she told me how his boys used to force her to wash their knives they used to kill “dogs”. She could not refuse,could not talk and untill this day the perpetrators have never been brought to book. Imagine you are a young woman that had to bury the father of your child who was brutally and senselessly murdered and you know his killers by name but cannot tell becuase your life and the lives of your son and your family would be endangered.
This is the brutal face of gangsterism in the township and everybody knows and no one talks.I had a personal friend that was a policeman,one of the few good ones that reacted on reports of gang violence. He watched this person giving his son a weapon and telling him “Finish him off”,while he lay in his Van wounded after responding to a call.He is confined to a wheelchair today as a reult of this and was under police gaurd in hospital for a long time.He left the force and he reported what happened but his shooters were never arrested.
Some time later a person came to me asking me to hide him because”they were looking for him and they are coming to fetch him.” That night I witnessed two vans full of men that I did not know as it was too dark to identify them. Much later,in the early morning hours Monica was called again and she was happy but angry. “They killed Shain’s murderers”. I was shocked that she was so elated about a murder but the hurt runs deep and she lost many family members due to gang violence. It turns out these guys arrived at a place where the gang was hanging out and opened fire killing killing them. Earlier this year a family member was killed in cold blood because of Taxi feuds.He was a chairman of the Taxi Association and got killed becuse of his stance on a rival Taxi association. It was a hit during broad daylight witnessed by many but the perpetrators were never caught.At the funeral his brother spoke saying that there would be no revenge from the family.
It was reported a month ago that the person that ordered the hit got killed in Vosloorus but it cannot be verified and nobody will talk or enquire out of fear.
These deaths are a regular occurence and the communties are hamstrung because of lack of support and adequate policing.I witnessed a killing fist hand in a block of flats across from our bedroom window. I heard a girl screaming late at night “dont go, dont go out “ and I peered out of the window and saw a guy walking ap calmy to the foot of the steps of the flats across us. He was about 30m from where I was. I saw a door opening on the second story and this guy pulled out a gun and shot the person coming out of the door. He stumbled and fell rolling down the stairs and hit the ground where he lay dead. His body lay there untill late afternoon covered with a blanket when the mortuary van finally arrived.The shooter calmly walked away. He did not run he was no scarred he knew the law of revenge of the township safegaurds him.
Sometimes family takes the law in their own hands. My wife’s younger sister reported that she was raped and a family member called me to go with him. He gave me a weapon and we went looking for the perpetrator, He told me to watch the roofs of the flats because criminals use it to hide on the roofs scanning for police or people following them. We found them, I covered him, while he approached this guy who was sitting on his haunches and brutally attacked him. His friends fled and on dragging the perpetrator he threw him at the car and the guy hit his head against door frame and was bleeding profusely. I helped him bundle the half concious guy into the back seat and watched him while we drove to the police station. On arrival Monica’s sisters were waiting there and the policeman, known to them, allowed them into a cell where they kept him. These women gave him a brutal beating again.
When we buried Poppy I cried because I liked her and she was always friendly towards me. I could not forget that day and when shed died of Aids related complications I helped carry her into the hospital after we transported her back to Utrecht where the family hoped they could save her life. I picked her up like a baby and lay her softly on the bed all the while tears rolling down my cheeks because I could see she was close to death.
I got shot at when I stopped at a scene where a girl,we knew, was assaulted by her boyfriend. I stepped between them knowing she recently had a back injury and was operated for it. This guy pulled a 9mm and I grabbed his hand, the shot went off right next to my foot, he then ran around the car gun still in hand and sped off.I followed him to the Police station in Boksburg and on ariving they threatened to arrest me hiding him.I calmly told the cop that I am an experienced journalist and know my rights and that if he dare arrest me the consequences would be dire for him and his station commander.They never made a case against that guy for assaulting his gilfriend and refused to take a statement from my wife and I concerning what I gathered was an unlicensed firearm that was fired at me.
Yes I know about drug lords and gansters and criminals in reiger Park first hand. I lived there and met many people, the majority who are good god fearing people who uphold the law.They do not talk because the fear is real and the consequences, if you do is real.The stakes are high because the income out of criminal activities like drugs,prostitution,illegal alcohol sales high jacking and armed robbery is very high and they protect their income by intimidating the people through fear and violent retribution.
I experienced these things and lived there with my family. I also experienced washing a young man’s corpse who I barely knew because the “Old people” asked me to help them.I attended weddings and funerals and court cases. I knew it was a dangerous place but my years of journalism hardened me and I was street savvy. People can smell fear and violent people will sense it in an instant and you will become a target.
I did take my family on an unforgettable holiday in the kruger Park and the next year we toured Zimbabwe, Finally after two years I decided to take them away from all the danger and we bought a house in Primrose where we are still living.
The people of Reiger Park are fighting back. I know I often visit there and still know many good prospering people that care about their community and work hard to bring about positive change.I will always feel an affinity for the Kasie and its people. I met the love of my life there and we had a lot of good experiences and happiness in that place.