“Only if it’s got gunja…”

Frik was a large, rugged Afrikaaner with a fag hanging from the corner of his mouth. He sat down on our cooler box, evidently unconcerned by the streaks of tomato sauce and boerewors juice spewed across the surface. He tore a corner from the lid of his cigarette box and, using it as a plectrum, began to play. The guitar looked more like a ukelele against his belly.

When he finished, I offered him a skottel-braaied crumpet for his efforts. His response, and in fact the entire scene, could not have been scripted better.

He coughed. Then in the same gruff voice with which he sang, replied, “Only if it’s got gunja…”.

Frik, in all his glory

Photocred: Ernst van den Akker

“It’s not my children I’m worried about…it’s the grandchildren.”

There was a sadness in her eyes, one that I couldn’t ignore as I left the train. I felt guilty for being white. Guilty for being privileged. In South Africa it seems that the two cannot be separated – not yet at least. I left the station only to have a black (for lack of another word) man spit at me. It seems he knew what I was thinking. Apartheid isn’t over – not yet at least.