14 March 2011

Source of Laughter on Long Summer Nights

I spent the best weekend ever in Ocean View. Ocean View is a community made up of coloured people who were forced out of Simon's Town in the late 1960's under the rule of apartheid. The website for S-Town says this,
"...in 1967, Simon's Town was proclaimed a White Group Area and over the next few years the coloured people, whose family ties sometimes went back to the very early days of the Town's growth, were obliged to move away. Their houses in and behind the Town fell into disrepair and a lot of them were eventually bullozed flat: thus was part of Simon's Town's quaint attraction lost. The Historical Society's efforts in preventing such destruction were to no avail, yet at the same time "Studland", Admiralty House, St Francis Church, "Ibeka", Palace Barracks and the Martello Tower were all proclaimed National Monuments."
The couple I stayed with said that some of the coloured families had to leave most of their furniture outside their new houses in Ocean View because they were so much smaller than their own houses in Simon's Town. The furniture eventually ruined because of the rain and weather.
Regardless of the horrible circumstance that brought them here, my family were quite content in living in Ocean View. It was their home now, they said, and it was where all of their family was now. Harboring no resentment, my family lived, loved, and braai'd in the community.
The couple lived in the house that was built by his father 17 years before. A lovely house with a pretty ginger cat that slunk around the hallway, it was filled with noise from the son and daughter-in-law and their three little girls, aged 8, 3, and 1.
As you can imagine, I had a blast playing with the girls all weekend. After a giant breakfast on Saturday morning, the eldest girl took me and my co-student to a farm in town. The farm was called Imhoff Farm and featured a petting zoo (with bunnies and chickens!!!), camel rides, snake park, play areas, and loads of really nice shops. I bought a pair of wrap-around pants. You put them on like a diaper and tie them up! I promise they are so comfortable! More so than a diaper, I imagine.
After coming back from the farm, we ate mini-pizzas, meat pies, and chicken and veg samoosas and then went to the beach. The water was freezing but I gathered up my courage, bit my lips, and ran out into the waves with Aakifa, the 8yr old. I nearly screamed with the cold, but eventually it was all good because I couldn't feel the cold owing to the numbness of my body. Walking along the shore harvested no seashells as I had hoped, but instead plenty of good conversation with my American house-partner.
When we got back, our Ma had fixed us hamburgers and more snacks and plenty of juice, and we sat and ate with already full stomachs, wondering how on earth we would be able to stuff our face at the forthcoming braai.
Night fell, and people arrived at the house, all related somehow or another to Ma and Pa, our host family. We all sat outside on couches and chairs, a rug underneath our feet, and the tv propped up on a table against the side of the upholstery shop Pa ran. Cricket was on all day, but I paid no attention to it. I still don't know the rules and I still don't think it looks so fascinating. At least not a nice as rugby, which has all those lovely big men jumping and tackling and being ground into the dirt. Anyway.
Chicken and ribs were braai'd (yummm) and salads were prepared, and chips and nuts and biltong and chocolates were set out in bowls. There was such an abundance of food one wondered whether it was bad manners to fill one's plate multiple times. It wasn't, because I had a few more ribs and corn on the cob.
What was for dessert? One of the most underrated desserts out there- Waffles and icecream!
Such a delicious night. We chatted and ate with the family. They were all so kind to us, and included us in their jokes, some of which we didn't get due to the explicit nature of them (i.e. some dirty jokes in the Afrikaans language)and the next day, Sunday, we all met again by the roadside as the community gathered and braai'd together to watch and cheer the cyclists on in the Cape Argus Cycle Tour.
It was such a lovely time that we really felt sad to leave. I hope I can visit them again. And I really loved their cat. I have the scratches on my arms to prove it.

here is a laugh.


  1. Glad you had a great weekend! Sounds like you got a taste of the local life in S.A. - hope you have a great week!

  2. Bonnie, I am glad to see that you are reading All the Pretty Horses. I put it up there just below Huckleberry Finn for books about journeys and slower paces.

  3. sounds like a weekend to remember for awhile. glad you had the opportunity to explore and experience another culture.

  4. By the way, Five Iron Frenzy, huh? Wow, why didn't you like them when we were the right age and they were still a band? I cannot count high enough to name the number of times I have played the above song on the cd player.

  5. I was like, 10 when I saw FIF. I was still into climbing trees and Point of Grace.
    And I do remember you playing their songs all the time- I remember laughing at the Pants Opera
    Better late than never, right?
    All the Pretty Horses is great, btw.


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