Writing and music go hand in hand as far as I am concerned. For as long as I dreamed about music, there was a pen and a book at hand. This is the first part of a book I wrote. A slave novel…about the interconnectedness of everything and everyone. Part love story, ghost story. Written in English an Afrikaans, a story that jumps timelines. Read if you like…
‘If we can but, understand
Br ief pie c e s of real ity, that breaks o ff, Dr if ting through our s le ep
Enc lo s ing our mind,
With future understanding’
‘Ek droom van ñ vêrre land, Waar ek staande op gelyke voete,
Nie kruipend skuilend agter maskers van gesigte.
Ek droom van ŉ vêrre land,
Waar ek nie onder vertrappende voete is nie, Maar waar my siel swerfend vlieg.
Ek droom van ŉ vêrre land,
Die land van myne,
Waar ek nie lewensterwend is nie’ C Fortune
“Grace….he said…is for Men Like We….”
Can you see that plant over there? Yes, the one with the little orange flowers. You can use that plant when you have eaten too much and are in pain. Mind you, that has never happened to many people I know but just in case you have a need, there it is. I know about plants and how they heal. People think that I am just a slave, but on this farm I am Gariep die Tjommelaar, married to Susaana who cooks and brother to Grietjie who can sing. I talk a lot but only when I have nothing important to say!
Yes, I am a storyteller, keeper of my people’s secrets so they won’t forget. If you want to hear fairy tales and bible stories go ask the Baas’ wife to entertain you. My stories belong to the land. They can dance if I ask them to and turn with the wind. And they never stay in one place for long. So be nice and offer me something to eat, maybe then I‘ll talk.
Ah, I see you brought something sweet too. “Jy is slim sien ek”. Mmm let me think, yes, I was going to tell you about Kang and how everything in this world started, but perhaps you know that one already. What did you say? Speak up! Can’t you see I am an old man? You want to know where I learnt these things ? His name was Gau. He knew the names of all the plants, animals, insects and he could tell stories until the sun decided to show up or shut up. Ya, many called him a bushman. A Boesman, or worse names if they could. I called him Gau – and he was my friend.
He came to us one night and we hid him. I don’t know what he did or didn’t do and I didn’t ask. All we knew was that he needed a place to stay for a little while. Well, that little while ended up being a long time and in between he taught me many things. I know, I know… you want to hear a story. Young people are so impatient! But then don’t interrupt me okay?
I must warn you first. Don’t come back and complain. Just ask Doola who use to work in the Baas’ kitchen, the one with the extra set of eyes who drinks too much. Once I told her a sad love story, but she didn’t listen to my warning and since she hasn’t had one bit of luck finding love. What kind of story is it you ask? No, it’s not a story that you will hear about from the Baas’ fancy books he brought from far away. It is a sad story about wanting things you can’t have, taking love sideways if you must. Even if you brought me a nice piece of fish I wouldn’t be able to speak to you now. You will have to wait until the moon and i can see each other, eye to eye. That’s always a good time to start new things, but now the stars do not shine and the wind blows too much.
So wait and watch. Don’t worry, this is a story that wants to escape and know the world. I will find you when the walls aren’t as thin. When we are alone and not even the wind can listen. Wait and watch the sky! I will come find you