Posts Tagged ‘Santorini in Mamelodi’

Andries Bezuidenhout. Kort verslag oor Saterdagaand se gedoente

Monday, May 16th, 2011

Ek ry Saterdagaand om 23:00, min of meer, uit Mamelodi. Suksesvolle aand met gedigte en musiek. En bier en halwe hoenders met tjips. En die oorblufte gesigte van ANC-werkers wat in ʼn BMW met luidsprekers op die dak verbyry om propaganda vir die aankomende plaaslike verkiesings te maak. Vir ʼn oomblik het hulle stilgebly om die kognitiewe dissonansie te verwerk (neem ek aan).

Vroeër die aand het ek verdwaal. Google Maps het die verkeerde Kgomostraat aangetoon. Gelukkig het ek naby die huis waar Fabian en Florence Ribeiro in 1986 deur die regering se sluipskutters doodgeskiet is iemand gevind wat vir my gaan wys het waar Santorini is – in A3. Santorini is ʼn restaurant/kroeg waar die tweede uitgawe van Ek sê, Ziyawa – it’s happening gehappen het.

Die geleentheid gaan oor gedigte en musiek, soos ek reeds genoem het. Die vorige een was sowat ʼn jaar gelede in Steak & Ale in Lyttelton. Dis deur Abjater Ronkedoor (Andries de Beer se verhoognaam) en Yabadaka Shamah aanmekaargesit. Hier is ʼn video van die twee op YouTube. Dit was die eerste item vir die aand.

Aanvanklik was die oorgrote meerderheid van die gehoor die usual suspects – volgelinge van Afrikaanse musiek en poësie uit die suburbs. ʼn Hele paar het met ʼn bussie van Steak & Ale af gery. Hulle drink hulle bier uit groter bottels as gewoonlik. Stadigaan verander die gehoor van skakering, veral nadat ʼn band sommer voor die restaurant in die straat gespeel het – almal deur een luidspreker voor hulle op die grond.

Veel meer wil ek nie nou sê nie. Self het ek besluit om net gedigte voor te lees en die kitaar teen die muur te los. Daar was genoeg musiek – regtig uitstekende musiek, ook covers van mense soos Bob Marley, Warren Zevon (deur Piet Botha en Jacob Wulana) en Hank Williams (deur Bacchus Nel).

Piet Botha, foto deur Melanie van As





Jacob Wulana, foto deur Melanie van As





Bacchus Nel, foto deur Melanie van As





Deel van die gehoor, Yabadaka in die middel links, foto deur Melanie van As





Vir die rekord plaas ek die vertalings van die drie gedigte wat ek voorgelees het hier – die vertalings is deur my goeie Facebook-vriend Hermanus Watermeyer gedoen:


we are the tyres, the spark plugs
of trucks that transported
body and sideboard
life and drawer
bedstead and mattress
from District Six to Atlantis
from Sophiatown to Soweto
from Limehill to Ezakheni
from Vrededorp to Lenasia
from Lady Selbourne to Soshanguve
we are the cogs, the caterpillar tracks
of bulldozers that razed those walls
we are the axels, hydraulic arms
of front loaders that obliterated rubble
and we are the steam of the locomotive
between Hohales Hoek
Cofimvaba and Western Deep

you thought we were in scrap yards, rusting away?
no, all of us have parts to play
all of us part of a greater brood
grave tongues, lisping with guilt
licking their way through printing ink
also to these pages we’ve found our way
like cockroaches skulking in your library
inspect the spine where glue and lining
hold paper to account for our declining
to fade to white to fade to black

shut it! drop it! hold the book at bay!
ha! too late
by now we’ve infected your fingers with gray


Now which year was it,
before or after Dad won the dishwasher as a prize?
Our suburb was still an entire world map –
flattened and rolled out somewhere on the slope
between Highveld and Bushveld, an in-between place.
The church bell still rang centre pivot
even though it echoed from a shopping mall wall.

Which year was it again, before or after Dad
won the dishwasher as prize at the beer festival?
When Mom still cooked up dinner parties from books,
rivers peanuts and raisins on tinfoil.
When Mamelodi was dark Africa beyond the buffer zone,
Eersterust wedged between township and factory.
When Watermeyer Street broke the monotony
of suburban corners on a barbeque grid
and you crossed over downtown,
you always moved first,
could beat Dad at his own game of chess.

Remind me please, which year was it,
before or after that time when Dad
drank so much beer that he won the dishwasher?
Years stacked like plates in racks,
the machine sluices its mouth with foam –
left cheek, right cheek, gargle, gulp.
Now and then a broken cup,
dead people at Volkskas in Silverton,
what was the woman’s name again?
When Oom André complained about the cleaning women
who farted in the lifts at the office.
When the kafferboom decided to change its name
and the tipuana tree embraced the wind and capsized,
roots ranting at the African sky.

Years later in Potchefstroom
for a hasty date on the court roll,
you listen to the reasons of others in the queue:
“We’re not in love no more.”
“For a year now we don’t live together any longer.”
“He kicked me out.”
For your reasons I don’t pry,
but sometimes I wonder whether you’d already escaped then,
before or after Dad won the dishwasher as prize.
A Bosch, I think, appropriate for a German festival.
Mother so glad, only later hears
he actually wanted
the single ticket overseas.

(Dedicated to Anton Schoon, whom I met over the barrel of an R4 rifle outside Club Monaco in Mamelodi, 1988)

Early dawn, military base on a hill,
get up to relieve your morning glory.
The soot blanket smouldering below
was weaved for heat from wood and coal.

Township panorama, the Magaliesmoot –
thrifty planners took care when designing
asphalt spine, gravel ribs,
blue gum forest, denneboom station,
zozo’s assembled from corrugated iron.

Put on your uniform, put your crime novel down,
your orders for the day:
You’re the eye in the sky –
perched on a reservoir, through telescope lenses
you observe the township of Mamelodi.

Scrutinise movements,
anything out of place
and hearts and minds.
(Conventional wisdom has it
that if you’ve got them by the balls
their hearts and minds will follow soon…)
Men drink beer from quarts
in a backyard below
they look up and laugh… perhaps at you?

Sway the telescope in a different direction,
aim for that window on Silverton ridge
where you kissed your girlfriend
as a youngster at school.

Three buses arrive in a queue
for some or other funeral.
“What are the whites doing in that car?”
“Send down a patrol. Where’s Echo Six Platoon?”
“They’re playing soccer with the kids.”
“Get their asses on the Casspir.”
“Radio HQ.”

From clouds up above, eyes look down
to you unbeknown,
the eyes of Stanza Bopape,
Florence and Fabian Ribeiro.