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Good morning, master!

   21 April 2017   l   Johnny Masilela    l   Views: 128   l   12 months ago  


If you are the politically-correct type and sensitive to racial humour, stop reading right here.

Alternatively, count up to three and take a deep breath. Good, very good.

Back in the farmlands of Kleinfontein, my half-brother Ouseun and his boyhood buddy, the farmer Joshua, travelled together to Brits.

Joshua stopped the bakkie at a downtown store, leaving Ouseun in the passenger’s seat.

Suddenly Joshua’s mobile rang from inside the car, with Ouseun scooping the phone and rushing into the store.

“Joshua, jou foon,” declared my brother, handing over the phone.

On the way back Joshua winked and wanted to know why Ouseun did not call him baas.

“What, baas with all those black and white people watching?” retorted Ouseun. “Look, I promise to call you baas only when I am broke and need some money from you, broer!”

Joshua and his wife still laugh a lot about this particular “promise” by Ouseun.

Nearer home at Bela-Bela, a retired downtown hotel barman remembers with nostalgia the many white friends (customers) he made.

One such customer — let’s call him Van der Merwe — entered the bar, and the township barman winked and told him that in his “other” life as a white man, he used to hate black people.

Van der Merwe winked back and declared that in his “other” life as a black person, he too used to loathe white people.

And the two men would have a good laugh about their weird joke.

Very recently, I somewhat blushingly, engaged the services of a poor Bela-Bela township Afrikaner to shovel out weeds in my mother’s yard.

The pink-cheeked boy arrived, also blushing, his brown hair hanging above his eyebrows, dressed in navy blue overalls.

A character right out of a Charles Dickens’ classic!

We first had rooibos tea and I tried to break the ice by chatting about my favourite holiday destinations, Groot Marico and the upper Karoo’s Orania.

My less-travelled pink-cheeked friend (nearly said “garden boy”) had no clue what the heck I was talking about.

On seeing the white fellow, my elderly mother bent one knee and clasped her palms with dignified respect and declared: “Good morning, master”.

Oh, like a character from Athol Fugard’s “Master Herholdt and the boys”.

  • Johnny Masilela’s novel We Shall Not Weep is on sale at PNA at Bela-Bela and Oude Werf Antiques and Décor at Modimolle.  




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