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"I can only tell you things that happened as I saw them, and what the rest was about only Africa knows." – Oom Schalk Lourens

People queueing in South Africa

The license, the queue and the photocopy machine

I’m thinking, “Ag crabs man—I don’t have a copy of my ID.” If I go all the way to school to make a quick copy, it will take too much time to get back and then also queue, and that’s the morning canned. The officials, seeing the consternation in my expression, point to a guy across the road…

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man-eating lion

Man-eating lion

The ndumba was not hunting as it normally would—the beast had already nabbed a couple of people and was likely to target more. Maybe it was hungry.  The boy wondered if a lion had a big enough stomach to hold an entire human—maybe a child but surely not a grown man, like dad or like Chesiwe.

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The koppie

More than nostalgia and the sweet ache that comes with remembering. It’s the blatant lack—snowflakes in place of scorching sun, sparse winter trees instead of rocks and dry scrub, and the peripheral murmur of medieval architecture rather than crickets, barking dogs and hum of traffic along Roberts Avenue. It’s like looking at a strange copy of home through the lens of another life.

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mopane worms

If Trevor Noah can eat mopane worms…

We were visiting my grandpa Ray at his plot in Ashburton, Natal. And it was raining worms—thousands. No, millions. Look down and a worm could drop on your head, look up and you’d burst a bunch underfoot. I’m from Joburg, the suburbs—we have parktown prawns but mopane rain…jislaaik.

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South African wedding

A tribute to Linah & Phineas

Linah and her husband Phineas lived with us all those years. My black mama and pop. Sick children who had to be taken to hospital in the middle of the night… there I was, in my pyjamas; Phineas driving my car whilst I looked after the child who was ill, and Lina staying with the other one at home. That was our normal.

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