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Shame! Same Difference, the Rot Lies in the Egg

Shame! Same Difference, the Rot Lies in the Egg

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Shame! Same Difference, the Rot Lies in the Egg

277 Seiten
4 Stunden
Apr 25, 2019


Same difference, the rot lies in the egg, is a narrative account of South African events before and after the abolishment of Apartheid. Apartheid is an Afrikaans word; lit. meaning 'separateness/apartness'. It was introduced by white South Africans (National Party) in 1948. In essence it called for people living in South Africa to be separated according to racial groups, making racism part of the law. By implication, the state encouraged white people’s oppression of Africans, Coloureds and Asians living in South Africa. Collectively they were called black South Africans, and were excluded from all organs of state. This racist policy severely disadvantaged the majority of the black people, especially the African people.
The writer, throughout his early childhood, like in many other young black children, life was but normal. Many did not know what was on the other side of the colour bar. As a young boy growing in a black-only township, he knew no other life either than black life. So, he, like others had not experienced what was on the other side of the fence. His first face-to-face encounter with the hostilities and hard realities of the system of Apartheid started when he was a golf caddy. It is only then that he discovers that Apartheid was delineated into petty apartheid, which entailed the segregation of public facilities and social events, such as sports, beaches, parks and public toilets.

His eyes opened up to the realities of this country, when he was at high school. It was at the time in his life when he acquainted himself with South African politics and began questioning the status quo. What he began to understand was, black people hadn’t only been subjected to Petty Apartheid, but they were also not allowed to vote, had no right to land ownership, they had inferior education under the banner of Bantu education, their mobility was restricted under the pass laws, and in the work-place, they could not hold any senior positions in relation to those held by white people. The latter was at the heart of ‘job reservation’ along the colour line. Top-most in the list were whites, Indians, coloureds and then Africans.
That period, the early sixties to mid-eighties, marked a period of social upheaval in South Africa. It was however lacking in leadership. Many black political organisation had been banned, and many black leaders had been in exile, or, like Mandela, were imprisoned for life on Robben Island. The height of the struggle for liberation took place in 1976 when he was a student. The year marks the students’ uprising in South Africa, triggered by policies of the Apartheid government which forced black people to use Afrikaans as a means of instructions. A revolt against the system saw the system finally abolished in 1994. In the Aftermath, a new-all-inclusive government was then formed – a new generation was born. To the generation born post 1994, otherwise called, ‘the born free generation’, Apartheid remains but a word from the past.

What is the boom that let him to put pen to paper? “Grandpa, what is Apartheid?” This in the narrative kick-starts step by step connected sequence of events that lead to this authentic voice to express what he experienced, living in the Township of Tembisa, South Africa. However, he is disillusioned: the current government is lacking in sound leadership; there is utter lack of credible governance and accountability. Above all, economic legacy and social effects of Apartheid continue to be present till to day. To Mandela: The walk to freedom is not over yet, he alludes. What could have gone wrong!

“I am not a professional writer, and English is not my first language for that matter, but I can’t let go of the burning truth. It has to be said in a language that at least any one of us can read, English. My voice is a genuine voice of South Africa – a voice that must be heard.”

Apr 25, 2019

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Shame! Same Difference, the Rot Lies in the Egg - Malusi Letoaba

Shame! Same Difference, the Rot Lies in the Egg.

Shame! Same Difference

the Rot Lies in the Egg

By Malusi Letoaba


Published by Malusi Letoaba at Smashwords

Copyright 2019 Malusi Letoaba


Cover Design by Jo Naylor


Apartheid; lit. ‘apartness’ was a government policy in South Africa prior 1994. It encouraged oppression of other racial groups by white people. A revolt against the system saw a new-all-inclusive government formed. And to those born post 1994, called the ‘born free generation’, Apartheid remains but a word.

The book compares past and present governments. It leaves the author disillusioned. What has gone wrong! To Mandela: the walk to freedom is not yet over.


Smashwords Edition, License Notes

This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment and may not be re-sold. It may be reproduced, copied or given away to other people provided that it remains in its original form. Thank you for downloading the book. Please enjoy!



Yes, my little angel! What’s wrong?

Nothing, I just want to know: What’s Apartheid?

Wow! Where do I start: When I was a Native? No! Perhaps I should start when I was a Non-European or Non-White. What about Bantu? Maybe when I was referred to as an Africa Southern, or could I just restrict it to Blacks.

The truth is: we were simply defined according to what they called us, and can you imagine how awful and appalling that was? Nonetheless, one could argue: after all, who cares to listen? Maybe we should have raised our concerns as it now speaks ill of us. Either way, we simply had to stay in our places because no matter what we said, it never mattered. Moreover, I also think I need to say this: We were seen as lazy, ill-mannered and uncouth creatures. We simply, could not be trusted.

Oh no!!! How crazy is it to start this way? Whoa! A hurting African boy still fights with me – he is the little boy living within the old me – and he still hurts.

In any case, shouldn’t I simply restrict it to blacks? After all, we aren’t who they said we were. My thinking can’t be misplaced. I am what I really am and not what somebody else says I am.

We black people of South Africa had to transcend, surpass or go through all those stages of being labelled who we really were, up until we were simply called, or addressed as Black.

At first, we were referred to as Natives. The term Natives, as was used, referred to indigenous people of South Africa. It was based on our ways of life, customs and social attachments. Yet, our claims to particular lands and political status or rights were seen as false. Under that guise, it was proclaimed as false that South African black people originated in South Africa and nowhere else. Understandably, because of those false historical claims, our civil rights became severely limited. And therefore, we were placed outside the major organs of state or systems.

The term Native which was adopted, and came into use, was later dropped, and replaced with another term: Non-Europeans. This too had some shortcoming, and so, a short-life span. In essence, the term in its strict sense included any person, other than those persons of European origin. As would be expected, it created major racial stir and conflict. It was therefore not surprising as it too had to be dropped because it blurred the sole intention of the government, namely: to exclude and discriminate only against people of African and Asian origin or ancestry.

After that, the name: Non-White was then adopted. It was thought to be appropriate to denote persons who are distinctively different from those of North-Western Europe, and especially those who have Black-African ancestors. And the reverse version, namely: Whites, referred to persons whose origin was predominantly European. As anyone might have guessed, it too became objectionable: one cannot define a thing no matter what it is, in a negative sense. The human mind simply cannot visualize negative inputs. One never defines success as being not unsuccessful, or a woman as someone who is not a man. It does not make sense.

Second last in the attempt to classify people, was the name: Bantu. Bantu is derived from Abantu, People in isiZulu. The irony is that those who were considered not to be Bantus, in other words whites, could not be humans. It was therefore deemed to have pejorative and derogatory connotations. Finally, to keep it simple, a compromise was reached to call us simply: Blacks.

Is that so, grandpa?

Yes, darling, it is true. You know, we were placid - easy-going; just like cattle.

Perhaps let me throw in something else: In the past, beauty competitions were contested in a different and awful way. Blacks had their own, while whites had theirs; and they were held separately. As a distinction, the winner from the white section was referred to as Miss South Africa, and the winning black candidate was called Miss Africa South.

Really, grandpa, was it so! How crazy was that? It must have been really awful to be black then?

Yes, it was.

Oops! That is the conversation I had with my granddaughter earlier, and it has come back to haunt me. Thanks God, this time it is a mere dream. And realising it is nothing short of it, I decide I could do myself good with a wake-up. So, swiftly, I jump out of bed like I have wet my blankets. And with no hesitation, I slip on my morning sneakers.

I keep thinking; oh dear, what a dream that was. It’s here again - it has come to haunt me. I wonder, did I do something stupid last night? Oh my Gosh! You know, this young African boy is really hurting. He is living right here – right within the old me, and still feels the sting of pain and hurt. Guess what? He is really mewling and puking with a frenzy of anger. Full of scars from the past, as he rears his ugly head which I can’t stand – not anymore! Maybe I should hold the young boy tight on the leash and unleash the old me; that way will give the old me free reign to life.

And as I sit here in bed trying to wish him away for his frenzied, compulsive attacks, I recall my vows and ponder: If I had my life to live again, I would lull him to sleep - put him to sleep forever. And I would always put on a smile, and never again have a go at people. Justly so, I will shed off the predisposition towards getting carried away when issues of race are brought up. Instead, I will show a lack of feeling, emotions, interest or concern. I definitely need to do this:

I’d relax, I would limber up. I would take fewer things seriously.

I would eat more ice cream and less beans.

I will travel much lighter – much lighter indeed, and I promise I will. Next time, I will be here for a big time. For most parts, I will take a shirt or two, just a few pairs of trousers, maybe short pants, underwear and a small toiletry bag; otherwise, no umbrellas, heavy coats, sweaters and mosquito repellents or fly traps. Truly and honestly because most things we worry about, seldom happen. I would gladly, in truth and beyond doubt, do so. If I appreciate autumn, spring will definitely come again.

Firstly, I now know I’m no longer young. On 16 June 1976, I was still a youth. The date marks the students’ uprising in South Africa, triggered back by policies of the Apartheid government which resulted in the introduction of the Bantu Education Act in 1953, just a year before I was born.

In those days, it was always them - those white people; and never me. Never ever did I take it upon myself to own up to any of my wrong-doings. I thought, or, was made to think that to apportion blame to others was the right pill which would heal all our ills.

It was the era of: sizo ba bulala (we will kill them), and that we would overcome. Deep in our hearts, we believed we would overcome someday. Whenever we sang those lyrics, our spirits were affected - our wholeness, togetherness and Amandla (Power), were all affected. It was tough being Black and Straight, in that White and Crooked World. Hence in a frenzy of rage, we fought every obstacle in our way.

Now that I have these doubts, I wonder and ponder if I have all of a sudden eaten more ice cream and less beans! Even if I did, I would have no single bean to blame for my constipation. We are all to blame.

Apartheid has past and gone, and I now know how it feels to be black in a black and crooked world. Nevertheless, we still pray: Change this country, oh Lord- Change our leaders, oh Lord. Lord, teach them and reveal to them what they should do. Teach them not to Outsource Government, but to have full control and sound governance in their attitudes and minds. For we all have control of our attitudes, and know how to be in command - how to react proactively and appropriately. Of course, they know, but knowing and doing are two different things. The two are as far apart as hell is from heaven, or as ice is from fire.

It’s not the end, though. But this should be the sorrow for which we need to find sweet uses. Indeed, sweet are the uses of adversity.......Bad things in our lives are here to stay; they should not break us, but make us better people. Ask me what makes us strong- what makes us tick. It’s all the hurdles we had encountered – they spurred us on to live every moment of our lives to the fullest.

Before, it was whether I would to be a boy or a girl. Now that I’m not both, I had to contend with whether I would be able to sit on my own without any help, be able to crawl, stand up and ultimately be able to walk. When I did all those, then it was whether I would be a man, get married and raise a family. I have jumped over all those hurdles – the more I jumped over them, the more hurdles were put on my way. And they made me stronger and stronger. The last I would guess, will be placed before me when I’m gone and dead. This thought however, should not haunt me at all; I can assure you, I’ll haunt no man.

As I flip through these thoughts in my mind, my conscious thought tells me another day has dawned, as the sun emits the morning light. Oh, what a beautiful and bright day it promises to be! How sweet and how lovely; though no one can tell us much about it really. It’s truly and really everyone’s guess. However, though I can’t say much, not for now, much will be heard and seen as the day unfolds. We just have to wait. Nevertheless, for the moment, it is a is a bright autumn morning - a lovely day it promises to be.

Have I got it right? It’s in the news: there is an inescapable fuel price increase along with another electricity tariff hike that is about to happen. Well, with all these rising costs of living, and if there are ways of saving cash, then I’m all ears. Somebody please tell me.

In addition to all that, there it is: the name Pretoria will not be changed to Tshwane, only some street names. Have I to worry!

Oh wait, but nothing can take away the beauty of the blue sky and the sunlight that is coming through the curtain of the sliding door which is overlooking my front garden. Wow, it’s a pity we are seeing the very last of it, on this bright autumn morning. Not before long, it will be winter again.

As I pull the curtains open, immediately, absolute nature starts to stream in unhindered. Inevitably, it is the bright and shiny light in its morning slippers which quietly streams in. Without a doubt, this marks the presence of one of the wonders of this world – the marvellous, fabulous, glowing, heavenly body. It unwearyingly and tirelessly, for ever and a day, provides us with daylight before it sets down to drown its sorrows in darkness.

Not to mention: I also marvel at the pleasant sight of the evergreen bushy trees I have grown to love since living in Doringkloof, a suburb of Centurion. I wonder what trees these are. They have ever-green leaves, with patches of some yellowish leaves here and there. Oh, I just love watching them - especially on warm summer nights when I am relaxing in the quietness of my garden.

When we bought the house, we inherited lots and lots of trees, from Mopani trees to Willow and Blue gum. I got rid of the willow solely because I understood that willow trees are prone to lightning strikes. The Blue gum tree, commonly known as eucalyptus, was struck by lightning one day when we were not home.

I also rid us of most trees that wintered and withered. And having done so, I have since, in resolving my wife’s plight, planted a few shrubs to her delight. Thus, we are now left with Australian Fern trees and an array of elephant ear plants which when they come into leaf, produce varying leaf sizes - small to very large.

Next to them is the real eye-catcher, the trusty rusted and rickety wheelbarrow. My wife and I put it up together. It is filled with colourful desert shrubs - the golden barrels with their golden leaves, purple-tinged prickly pears and a densely branched fairy-duster type of shrub. This wheelbarrow flowerbed concept is a common sight in this part of the world.

There is also a water fountain next to it, situated right under a tree stump. It was designed by the previous house owners, with the obvious purpose of providing the elegance of a water feature. Unfortunately, this wasn’t to be, as there is hardly a trickle of water in it. I can’t simply ever run it continuously because of a leak which I have not been able to fix. Insomuch as I would like to keep it clean, it’s more often than not, disgusting, as it looks extremely untidy.

Eish, Malusi! How can you be so lazy? Despite rain not having hosed the garden lately, the grass has grown almost ankle-high. I definitely need to give it a light haircut as soon as possible.

In the midst of this soothing sight of nature and its creatures, the crisp morning breeze and my enjoyable imagination, a sudden flashback from the distant past disturbs my peace.

It is the pre-class school assembly at Tshepisa Higher Primary school. The school is situated in Tembisa, a township in the Ekurhuleni municipality district, in the Province of Gauteng. This district was previously known as the East Rand. So, as we are about to disperse for our respective classes, suddenly the principal stands up and announces he has been approached by an official from Irene Country Club. Their golf section is hosting a major golf event on the following Saturday. Granted that, they are going to need a few extra caddies on the day. Therefore, he is requesting interested pupils, if any, to come on Saturday and offer caddie services at the club.

I know nothing about golf, except that I have two cousins who ply their trade in the industry. Incidentally, the request comes from the very same Irene Country Club where they work as caddies. My cousins are so obsessed by this caddying business, that on most weekends, when I am enjoying watching local soccer, they are nowhere to be seen in the township. Come weekdays, they are the envy of everyone as they would buy this and that with plenty of pocket money they earned from caddying. I bet you know what’s going in my mind: I just can’t wait for Saturday. I count the days.

That very next Saturday, quite early in the morning, I am on board a Pretoria bound train to Irene. This is my first train trip without the company of my parents. What an experience this is as I am clutching my train ticket in my hand, almost crunching it, to make sure I don’t lose it. On board the train, are my two cousins and me, some of my schoolmates, a few other youngsters, and a handful of other train commuters. We are fewer in number than would be on normal weekdays.

In no time, we are at the Irene train station. We get off the train. Then the run to the golf course begins as we rush to secure places in the anticipated long caddy queues. The run is along Louis Botha Avenue in a southerly direction towards Olifantsfontein. This piece of road is quite narrow. It runs for about two kilometres, and is known for its row of long lines of pine trees, closely planted on either side. The scenery is similar to that of Pinelands in Cape Town.

Finally, we arrive at a stone walled building and are ushered in through a narrow-cluttered pathway for caddies. The pathway leads to a caddie shed. The shed, as I would later discover, is commonly known as Isibaya, the Zulu name for a kraal or an enclosure for cattle. This Isibaya has stone walls on the east and southern sides. On the north side, it is bordered by the wall which I now know to be that of the old Pro-Shop. On the western side is a carport structure - the only structure providing shelter. There is a flushing-type toilet with no bowel or seating place. Instead, there is a porcelain squatting pan on top of a hole. I have never seen anything like this before. They call it a long-drop type of latrine, and I have to guess how to use it. One squats with one’s legs straddling the hole as you would do when in the bushes. There is also an outside washbasin and a knee-high water tap. Linking us and the outside world is a narrow passage leading into Isibaya. Through it, one can hear noises made by metal-spiked-golf shoes. It is the golfers as they come and go. Coupled with it, is the rattling of golf clubs as they knock against one another. Otherwise, the only other link to the outside life is the scorching sun shining directly above our heads.

So, here we are: my cousins and I, hoping to find employment. The queue is already long. I wonder what time the others in the queue caught the train. Later, during my time as a caddy, I would learn some of the guys would actually sleep the night before in the neighbouring field along the Hennops River, on the southern side of the eighth green. They would then wake up as early as four in the morning, and wash themselves with the water from the river before heading for the golf club.

One of the lads who also did this, and with whom I was later closely associated, eventually graduated to becoming a top golfer at the club. He received accolades for winning a string of club competitions, including the annual club championship which he won more than once. Unfortunately, he succumbed to prostate cancer in 2004, and as miracles would have it, his ashes were sprinkled on the course, directly opposite the thirteenth green.

There was also another conspicuous and well-known figure. His name was Maboke, and to many white people, he was known as MaBok, a name probably derived from the Springbok rugby team’s name. Throughout my days, I had always thought he was too old to be a caddy. Of course, growing up, I had always known young boys, and especially school kids, as the only ones who would do something like that to earn themselves pocket-money. It may not have been true in all cases though, but to me, Maboke remained too old for the job. By his looks, he could have been a family man. For all that, he had always been there up to a long period of time – really unique, and a true antique of the club. He must have been aged around eighty plus, and could still be seen for many years that followed, always with a neglected beard, waddling like a duck on the course.

Sadly, in the twilight of his life, he still had no fixed home and lived the life of a nomad in a dilapidated space on the golf course property. His health had taken a knock, and he appeared weak and frail. But even at that time, Maboke could still be seen from time to time, wandering aimlessly on the golf course. Though for some time we could not establish the whereabouts of his immediate family, it finally emerged they lived in the black Township of Mamelodi, and eventually, they surfaced before his passing away.

Anyway, here am I, a rookie caddy to be; I am queuing with all others for the job. It is all pushing and shoving. Some guys try to get to the front of the queue. Others try to stop them, blocking the way. Suddenly, like panic-stricken cattle, I find us lodged in a frenzied rush backwards as everyone pushes towards the back following the crackling sounds of a whip. It is the caddie master wielding his sjambok to restore order. In the same fashion, as soon as the sound of the whip dies, a headlong forward rush ensues again.

Grandpa, were you a caddy before?

Yes, my angel, most black kids were so poor you had to make a living by doing something. Under these circumstances, it was not uncommon to find any of us working for white people in their homes, particularly on weekends, or during school breaks.

Back to the ordeal.

The caddie master is a huge man, and I wonder when he is going to stop growing. He is in truth, a massive able-bodied man in structure, and commands respect from everyone. Bro Dan, as he is called, hails from Tembisa, and I am made to understand he does the caddie master job on part-time basis.

The pushing and shoving subside as the rattling of golf clubs and the noise of the spiked shoes stops. I question myself why? In that midst, I am left alone to battle through with the thought. Everything seems amiss, and I feel I can’t bear this piercing sense of being a stranger having no familiar face to ask. The gut-wrenching anguish is that both my cousins are nowhere to be seen: they are already out on the golf course. What I did not know when I began searching through my mind, was whether I would find the probable cause of the sudden end to the shoving. It was a signal that all the morning field golfers had teed-off, and were all on the golf course.

In any case, the only last opportunity for us to find a job for the day, can only come if we make it to the front of the queue, so we can be accommodated in the afternoon field of players. As has been said, we just have to wait; I’m told and have to believe it.

After a gruesome and irksome feeling of loneliness, suddenly I can hear those noises again: the rattling of golf clubs and some voices; this time along the eastern side of the stone wall. It is the first of the caddies to have teed-off; they are now coming for their stop-over to have some snacks after nine holes of play. Later, my cousins also come for their stop-over. The first cousin to come, offers me a bun. He takes two sips of his cold drink and gives me the rest to finish. So, does the other.

Hardly a minute ticks by before we are back to the same scuffle as in the morning. This time, the afternoon field is about to tee-off. The

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