SERGIO HENRY BEN
Jannie Moenie Trou Nie - On Measuring Hate and Sorrow
KYKHIESO, naaiers. Oooh no, child, nandi for a start like that. White people don’t like being upset. All sort of nastiness ensues, like #imstaying. (Ko’ haal my Here, assefokkenblieftog.) Or a wretched economy, as the whole of Newlands and Other Posh Residents in a Beleaguered New Azania cash in assets and plan to flee the monstrous and criminal devolution of a once great country. Or *gag* defending outright racist H&M advertising featuring a black child wearing a T-shirt, ‘MONKEY’ printed in loud bold letters. They also resort to donating gushing rivers of cash to the Democratic Alliance, even during a water crisis. (As to the actual veracity whether we had water crisis or not, the jury is still out on that.) En Wenderelle kan vir ou dik hou! Liewe George! I’m incredibly sorry about the mixed gayle. Sometimes, I get too excited for my own good and then lapse into my authentic self. Jammer julle! They do this thing, man … soe fucked-up move, man. Wenderelle’s efforts to make black friends doen soe a Zola Budd. Sy glo vas sy moet rhonda vir daai Cabinet post Saint Mandela is going to reward her for reportedly paula and consistent contributions towards nation building. And this while she has Vicky Samson’s “My African Dream” or some Mango Groove treffer on repeat in her head. It’s relentless. And tragic.
Mens moet net weg kyk. Once achieved, names are immediately forgotten because there are just too many fucking consonants on top of each other; simply refering to ‘them’ as “lovey”, “boet”, or worse, sounding out the name like some Grade R simpleton. “Simpeeway, I love what you’ve done with blah blah rubbish rubbish noise and more noise.” And white men desperate to fuck me (but won’t date me) in their obscenely fucked-up logic to learn “Coloured”, is what makes me want to give birth to my own lobola. Tall, blond, built like a Fee-Fie-Fo-Fum Voortrekker and says, “Aweh, my bru!” Kry ek mos nou die grootste fokken ajals. Sorry, I’d bit of a relapse there, but I digress, so let me get to the gist of my disputation – no, there is no such thing as South African music, and no, there is no such thing as a South African. Be you White, Black or that fucking ugly term, Coloured. Do Indians even feature? Certainly not in Cape Town. Then again, we’re all holding mekaar hostage in this deformed reality. Stry. South Africa. South African. It is a lie. It is a convenience. A commodity just like anything else for sale, and local markets are fickle. We were all one nation when Wade went for gold. When Caster triumphed over near translucent women, leaving them choking, gagging on dust and envy, faces bloated by rage and defeat. We were all one during the rugby in Japan. “Our blood is green and gold!” No, it’s not. It’s red, heavy and dark with an absence people like me feel too keenly. People like me live in backyards. People like me live that side of the N2. We live in Lavis, Tafelsig, Fractreton, Kensington, the kak part of Belhar, Athlone, and also a place called Kill me quick town. Kassam, there’s a place called Kill me quick town. I say that name for a reason, naaier.
Jirre, I need to stop saying that word.Yes, we forget. We forgot people like Penny Sparrow and her tweets, and that other dreadful woman the cops tried to help but she stripped her moer and called the officers kaffirs. Gertasia is mos hoogs jas. We forgot Julius Malema and his poespraat politics.Apropos of fokkol, but is poespraat een woord? Afrikaans is not my mother tongue. My mother tongue is elsewhere.
It’s not in that Country Conquerors song, that’s for sure. No, my mother tongue is elsewhere, bra. Or should that be bruh? Or perhaps bru? Or should I just say naaier?
i feel the need to apologise for the violence of my skin
it is my skin
but regrets are lost in the multitude of tongues i speak to make myself heard
my mother tongue is lost
is nobody coming to comfort me
so i run with gunfire of Lavis en Hanover Park se bus terminus in my head
the wicked ‘love’ on my lips
ready to spit
a bullet at the world
and this word ‘love’, i am told, means nkosi sikelel’ afrika
this word ‘love’
struggles to translate from arid brown skin
the waters of our freedom comes in drip-drip
since those 1994 days
perhaps freedom’s flood is coming tomorrow
perhaps in two weeks if prevailing conditions are met.
you look at shrivelled hope
you look at me and laugh because i have no culture
or tsk-tsk at my coarse tongue
daily to cut myself in understanding, in patience
in synchronised enslavement with the land
and let me tell you, the soil we fight about
is a fucking addict.
yes, i tend your profit garden with my suffering.
Now you read this and come to the stunning conclusion – die tief is net negative.
True. I am.
But you ignore, see, my facility for language.
You won’t acknowledge my nervous system.
You won’t see the depth of my prison cell, and only choose to see the anti-white mauling.
You won’t see me. Never mind I see you. I see all of you.
I see and adore what you people have done with this Afrikaans we share.
Friday nights were spent sitting at my mom’s feet while my family watched Tolla van der Merwe joust with Jan Spies on TV. Sometimes I would get the joke but more often than not either my mommy or my daddy had to explain what a particular word means. And more often than not, they struggled to find the English equivalent. Both never went far at school. I did. Years later, I’d find the English equivalent and many more years later, now, I weep at the simple translation.
Jyt my ma en pa hard vir a poes gevat.
Yet, I still see you. I see all of you.
But seeing me is too violent. It’s too expensive.
I have more value than what you are willing to pay.
Jyt my ma en pa hard vir a poes gevat.
I’d really like to say, “Fuck you!”
But I think I already did.
GLOSSARY / TRANSLATIONS
- Kykhieso: literal translation is “Look here.”
- Naaier (Afrikaans, common noun): – fucker. The plural of naaier differs from region to region. Written as naaiers in certain parts of Cape Town, mostly the more affluent
- coloured areas like Kensington. I’m not sure if the impoverished parts of the Cape Flats can read or write, but that’s another conversation.
- Nandi (Gayle, noun): means no.
- Ko’ haal my Here, assefokkenblieftog: (Come fetch me now, Lord. Please)
- Wenderelle (Gayle, noun): White people.
- En Wenderelle kan vir jou dik hou!: White people can be persistent; tediously so.
- Liewe George! : Cape Flats expression meaning to be amazed or befuddled.
- Gayle (Proper noun): language used by Coloured gays, most notably in Cape Town. White homosexuals have a passing familiarity with it (Grade R level). Very few white gays are fluent. Consensus among senior Coloured homosexuals is that it has something to do with having a lazy tongue.
- gayle (common noun, verb): should be self-explanatory. If not, ask for a school fees refund, please.
- Stry (Afrikaans, verb) : means argue.
- Mekaar (Afrikaans, reciprocal pronoun) : means each other.
- Half a gauge (of tik): Cape Flats expression meaning half a gram
- Aweh, my bru!: Cape Flats greeting/salutation equivalent to “Hi, howzit?”
- Kassam: “Cape Malay” word meaning “I swear” or “I’m not lying.”
- Gertasia (Gayle, common noun): Means female, girl. Gerty is the more common word used, but this particular derivative of gerty is gaining in dominance.
- Poespraat (Afrikaans, noun): Literal translation is vagina talk.
- Die tief is net negative : – This bitch is just negative. That I don’t dispute.
- Jyt my ma en pa hard vir a poes gevat : Literal translation is “You took my mommy and daddy for the biggest joke”, though there is an intensity to the words that defy any attempt to quantify it. In other words, it is impossible to measure hate or sorrow.