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A constantly curious and melancholic wanderer...

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Die ballade van Hannetjie L du Plooy

'n Uitbreiding van "Die ballade van Jakob F de Beer" deur Christopher Torr

Dit is 12 uur.  Die wind is stil. Hannetjie du Plooy sit by die tafel op haar stoep en kyk vir die stoel oorkant haar. Sy dink aan die hande wat die stoel aanmekaargesit het.  Haar Oupa se hande.  Dis al wat sy kan onthou van haar Oupa.  Sy groot, growwe hande.  Sy raakvat en skuur en skaaf.  Sy troos en lomp afvee van `n traan as sy val.  My hande het al swaargekry het hy haar vertel. Hulle het te veel van die wêreld se seekry gevoel.  Maar ek dra nie alleen nie, want dis nie net my hande nie het hy dan uitgebrei.  Dis God se hande.  
God se hande het haar aanmekaar gesit het sy dan gedink.  Het Hy net soveel tyd gevat om haar te maak as om haar sussie te maak?  Want net soms het dit vir haar gevoel asof sy dalk `n afskeepwerk was.  Iets wat God vinnig aanmekaar gesit het, sonder om te veel daaroor te dink.  Soms wanneer die perdekarre stof gemaak het oppad plaas toe.  En die stof was nooit vir haar nie.  En sy moes net tee maak en dit sitkamer toe vat.  En sy moes sien hoe die een wat regtig God se meesterwerk was al die aandag gekry het, al was sy jonger.  
Hannetjie L du Plooy.  Haar middelnaam gekies deur haar Pa wat mal was oor opera en die naam Leonara.  Sy het gehou van Leonara, maar sy was vir almal altyd net Hannetjie… Hannetjie du Plooy, byna byna mooi.  Haar sussie se eksotiese naam het haar naam net nog valer laat klink. En met haar lang bene, klokhelder lag en vingers wat op die klavier kon toor, het sy gestraal… en Hannetjie het met die jare meer en meer in die agtergrond verdwyn.  
“As ek maar vlerke soos `n duif gehad het” , herroep sy die woorde van `n Psalm.  Dan het sy weggevlieg…  Weg van hierdie plaas, met sy dorre vlaktes met die spatsels groen hier en daar.  Weg van die Kamdeboo kontrei wat al aarde is wat sy ken.  Weg van hierdie houtstoel wat haar aan haar oupa se hande laat dink en van haar swart rok wat sy  daardie oggend met `n swaar hart moes aantrek.  “ Daar na waar jy vir my wag.  Daar waar die liefde vir ons lag.”
Sy is lief vir die aarde, hierdie dor streek land wat al vir vyf geslagte aan haar familie behoort en nou net aan haar.  Sy het die grond bewerk -  in die veld met son en sweet, en ook in haar kamer op die vloer, met bid en smeek.  Want na haar ouers se dood, moes sy alleen aangaan op die plaas.  En teen daardie tyd het die bank alreeds te veel gebel.  
Was dit die moeite werd?  Al die jare van afsloof en opoffering.  Sy het grond gekies en dit het haar te veel gekos.  Meer as die geld wat haar pa’le geskuld het. Meer as net haar jeug.  Haar siel, haar soeke na iets meer as dit wat voor haar was.  Sy soek nie meer nie.  Die wind het al haar soek weggewaai.  "Draai draai westewinde draai." 
Dit was ’n donkiekar se stof wat haar hart laat klop het.  Want toe die stof gaan le het, was daar ’n klop aan haar deur.  Met sy hoed in sy hand, en sy oë wat te blou is teen die bruin van sy vel het hy daar gestaan.  Sy plooie het meer vertel as wat sy verslete klere kon.  Hy het sy naam gese en dit is nou nog ’n refrein wat oor en oor deur haar spoel.  "Jakob F de Beer, het jy my van die liefde kom leer?"
Hy het min dinge besit. Sy donkiekar wat die pad na haar huis toe na ’n week geken het.  Sy trots oor sy vernuf met windpompe.  En na ’n rukkie, ook haar hart.  Want vir die eerste keer het iemand na haar gekyk en  haar regtig gesien.  Hy het so baie vir haar gekyk.  Aan die begin skaam as sy opkyk en sy blik vang.  Maar later intens en meer intiem, sonder om weg te kyk.  En as sy vir hom koffie aangee, het sy vingers aan hare geraak en dit het haar hart laat dans.  Sy wat altyd alleen moes sit terwyl die ander dans. Hy het net na haar gekyk.  Hy sou net met haar wou dans.  "Draai draai draai tiekie tiekie draai."   
Die wind steek op en sy onthou weer dis vandag.  Sy onthou dis haar laaste keer op hierdie stoep.  Die laaste keer wat sy koffie drink uit haar beker en die bekendheid van die veldreuke om haar gaan geniet.  En die windpomp wat so klap klap klap in die verte met haar praat en vertel van die Water wat tog weer lewe bring.  Selfs na die dood.  
Vir ’n laaste keer laat sy haar gedagtes terug gaan.  Na die rit op die stofpad en Jakob se sing-stem. Die ring uit draad en die growwe-sag van sy soen.  Haar hart wat oorloop en uit haar lyf klim en vlieg saam met die voëls en draf saam met die donkies.  Die opgewonde beplan van ’n lewe saam.  Van asemhalings wat een word.  En nooit ooit meer hoef te soek nie, maar net altyd mekaar vind.  En toe ’n maand daarna, ’n dag voor die groot dag - opgewonde vir die windpompman wag.  Hom na ’n hoeveelheid ure gaan soek en toe wens sy het hom liewers nooit gevind nie.  "Draf draf donkie donkie draf."  
Sy staan op en loop na binne.  Trek stadig die swart rok uit en gooi die ander rok wat reg hang oor haar kop.  "Hannetjie du Plooy - in wit is jy tog mooi." dink sy somber.  Sy kyk af na haar hande, die draadring om haar vinger wat grof genoeg is om te pas by haar hardwerk-eelte.  Hierdie hande wat die afgelope tyd te veel trane gevang het. Wat dan net vir so kort ’n ander hand kon voel.  "Is dit dan ook God se hande?  Het Hy dan ook my trane gevang?"  
Sy trek die deur agter haar toe, klim op die donkiekar en ry in die stofwolk in. Sy dink aan ’n ou gedig.  

“Wilde wind, jy wat orals beweeg.  
Jy wat vernietig en wat behou.  
Hoor jy dan my klaaglied nou.”  


Elizabeth Kendell©

Friday, August 19, 2016

Friyay

Something to make you smile and kick of the weekend...



Ek en jy

Hoe sal ek jou dan beskryf?
Jy wat so ineengestrengel met my is
Jy wat oorgeneem het
My jou eiendom gemaak het
My bemin

Hoe sal ek my beskryf
Ek wat nou nie net meer ek is nie
Ek wat oorgegee het
Wat aan jou behoort
Wat jou erken

Jy en ek
         ek en jy 
die saam van ons bestaan 
dit is al wat ek verstaan 


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Love, picnic and the beach...




















Where sand and sea meets, 
that is where you can sometimes hear nature's heart beat... 

Street photography 2 (Mauritius)

My version of street photography (or let's say my attempt).  I decided to go explore the streets of Grand Baie and even though I felt a bit like a stalker and really did not always have the confidence to take the photos I really wanted to, I managed to get a few that captured some of the emotion on the streets...

Roti lady in black 
My favourite photo of the day: this beautiful lady owns a roti stand I just love the look on her face.  She has this tiny smile on her face, knowing that she was photographed (I did ask for permission for this one), but somehow continuing with life as if this is a regular thing... 


Roti lady in colour

A bouquet of plastic bottles 
A very typical thing to see in Mauritius, rubble and dogs.  In this photo the rubble is actually not rubble and supposedly used to keep dogs away.  This photo could suggest either that it works or doesn't work... 


Peeping dog 
Dogs are everywhere in Mauritius and often either on the roofs of the houses or on a ledge or wall, just looking at the passers-by.  


Dog without owner
A big reality on our little island - there are so many dogs, and most of them are stray, hungry and sometimes dying.  Unfortunately I struggled with the lighting of the photo (as it was getting quite dark) and therefore the quality is not great.  This picture makes me a bit sad.  This dog is surrounded by houses and people, yet belongs to no-one.  Like so many other dogs out there.  


Little tourist girl

This is again not a great photograph, but somehow this little girl's face (who was trying to keep up with her very  touristy family) together with the bits of green and yellow makes me happy. 



Vintage letterbox black and white




Vintage letterbox in colour



 Princess on the playground

This little girl was hanging out in a very randomly placed playground and was very excited to be photographed and decided to strike a pose.  This pose is very popular in Mauritius (or maybe all around) and I got a few of them if someone spotted me taking photos...



Just chilling

What I love about Mauritian people is that they can have a social gathering almost anywhere.  Often we go to the beach and the local people are having huge gatherings in the parking lot.  I personally love a coffee-shop culture, but I must say I envy them their ability to create that atmosphere that I look for in coffee shops, anywhere they decide to have a chat.  



Lost in conversation



Street bird

This bird-feeder/bath is in one of the streets, not belonging to any house.  




Buildings




Staircases

I do like looking at the architecture of buildings and trying to photograph the parts that I find beautiful.  The staircases photo has a vintage feel to it and it is actually the same house that the letterbox belongs to.  





Little boxes


This last photo was actually not taken in Grand Baie but from our balcony in Pereybere.  I just love the symmetry and it makes me think of the song little boxes.  


That is all for now, but I hope to go explore the streets of Mauritius soon again. And to have more confidence and hopefully in time much more technique...


















Monday, August 15, 2016

Street photography 1

I thought I would do a post about street photography as this is something that I really enjoy looking at and doing... 

I have always been fascinated by people... I can sit for hours at a coffee shop and just look at all the people passing by, studying their facial expressions and apparent emotions and write my own stories about them in my mind.  Often on my long drives with a baby/toddler who doesn't want to take a nap, I get to drive through so many little villages here in Mauritius and I get lost in the energy and ambiance that you can feel even through the window of the car.  

I think this is what charms me about street photography... It captures this "feeling" of a place and it tells a story - even if this story might be different for every person looking at the photo.

I found a few good articles on street photography and I am sure there are many more amazing ones out there... Please share some in the comments below, or if there are specific artists whose photos you enjoy most.  

Seeing that I am very much a beginner (even though I have been taking photos of people in the streets since I got my first camera) and still haven't even mastered all the techniques on my camera (still waiting for my teacher to return from her trip) or own photoshop yet, I enjoyed the following article:  The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Street Photography by Erik Kim.  

I like how he is more open to the definition of street photography and that your photos doesn't have to be candid (because I sometimes feel like a bit of a stalker taking them) and that you can ask permission if needed and also that your photos doesn't even need to have people in it.  And I enjoy his quote on what he thinks could be a definition of street photographs/memorable photos: 

Photographs that stir us emotionally, that make us think about humanity, society around us, the people we interact on a daily basis, the small beauties of life that we pass up for granted, others who are suffering, and the hopes and dreams of everyday individuals. Erik Kim 

I want to take those kind of photos!  I want to stir people with emotions. The same kind of emotions I get from looking at the world around me and getting lost in the beauty, wonder, complexity, bareness and often melancholic moments that I see around me... That is life as we know it and yet know nothing about. And I will practice and learn and take thousands of photographs until I can capture some of these moments.

Here are a few "street photos" that I find inspiring...

Henri Cartier Bresson - 1932



This is just so stunning.  One of my dreams is to one day photograph people at an old age home and tell their story with a few shots... 



 Having a little boy who just loves looking in the mirror, this one definitely stir emotion in me...


What lovely juxtaposition (read more about it in the link above)... 


Source

I love the use of shadows here and how this photo tells a story without even showing someone's face...



Source
Lost in her own thoughts 


Source
What amazing use of natural light

Source
Beautiful composition  

Source 
Have to learn a lot more about shutter speed before I can get shots like these. Wow!


And even though I love black and white photos, I do love the beauty that colour creates...





Source


 I will soon start my own adventures to find and capture more memorable moments.  Look out for me... I will be the one showing your life through a lens... :) 






Thursday, August 11, 2016

Throwback Thursday

Today I am reminiscing about my honeymoon (not so many moons ago)...

10 wonderful days in Bali and then 3 stunning days in our own beautiful country at Madikwe Lodge.  Even though I was just a little freaked out by the fact that I was now married and that life would never be the same again, I made some of my favourite memories ever with the only person I can ever imagine spending a lifetime with...

Here are a few of my shots of our adventures:







I ate, prayed and found lots of love in Bali...








Magnificent moments at Madikwe Lodge 


And then this photo that I love even though it wasn't taken by me (we had a tourguide/photographer named Made in Bali who accompanied most of our adventures and who said something very inappropriate just before taking this photo) because it is just so spontaneous and too precious not to share...  

You can see more photos of this trip over here


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Black and White Wednesday











#blacksashing

Since I am not on Facebook anymore, I have a lot more time to read the news and interesting articles where I actually learn something.  

Yesterday was Women's Day in SA, celebrating 60 years since South African women marched to the union buildings to protest against the pass laws.  20 000 woman participated in this march.  This must have been an amazing experience, seeing and feeling the strength and courage of these woman as they marched for what they believed in.  

I love the saying that originated from this protest:  "If you strike a woman, you strike a rock"... 

This message was highlighted again when 4 woman protested silently, only a few days before Woman's Day, with posters saying #rememberkhwezi while President Zuma announced the Local Government Election Results.  Without going into too much detail about their reasons for this, I do applaud them for their courage and silent but powerful message.  You can read all about it in this article about the Khwezi protest.  It was in this insightful article that I read about something else that I have never heard about and that I think should also be celebrated on this day dedicated to women who stand up for what they believe in... 

The Black Sash was founded in 1955 over a cup of tea when 6 middle-class woman were outraged  by the government's attempts to remove "coloured" citizens from the voter's roll and decided to do something about it.  They developed into a powerful non-violent resistance organization and they protested against apartheid until Nelson Mandela was released from prison.  Madiba himself referred to them as the conscience of the white South Africa during the dark days of apartheid." 

Their tactics were quite simple, yet brilliant and with a powerful message:  
  •  "Blacksashing" (wearing a black sash during silent protests, as a sign of mourning over the constitution) and 
  •  "Hauting"  (standing  and staring in silence wherever ministers appeared (even from the stands in parliament) making them very uncomfortable.
Here are some of the photos of these ladies who are iconic for their very lady-like protesting style...






I love this slogan "Kultuur ken geen Kleur-slagboom nie" translated to English:  "Culture knows no Colour-barriers"  








I would love to read this...






I would like to believe I would have been part of such a movement if I was born in a different time...


  • I became an "activist" (even if only in my mind) after reading "A dry White Season" by Andre P Brink and for the first time hearing the painful truth about Apartheid.  
  • I was called horrible names in grade 4 when parents of the other children who was in hostel with me, called my parents to inform them that I am hanging out too much with the two black girls on our floor.  I remember that I used to sit on the one girl's lap while she drew beautiful pictures for me. This was apparently frowned upon by most of my "friends" who then told their parents and caused a bit of an outrage.  
  • Before the black girls were even allowed in our hostel, our principal asked us "to stand up" against racial discrimination and accept the two new girls who would join us in a few weeks.  I then literally stood up (while all other people were still sitting as the principal meant this more figuratively off-course) for what I believed in.  This caused quite a giggle. 
  • I am known by most of my close friends (specifically those of the Rustenburg Rainbow Nation Clan) to be black on the inside. 
  • I have trained my family to not see colour for years and the success of my attempts was definitely established in a revolutionary moment during the Soccer World Cup 2010, when my mom was not able to tell the difference between the Ghana and Uruguay soccer players.  When questioned about it, her response was... "I see no colour..."  
  • My Tswana name is Masetswena which means "crazy lady"...and come to think of it, probably has nothing to do with this post.
  • And on another totally unrelated note - I did wear a "black sash" on my wedding day.  



I hope this post will remind people that although most people (of a lighter complexion) seemed to have ignored their conscience during the Apartheid years, there were many people who were against it from the beginning and who stood up for their beliefs in their own ways... 

#blacksash
#girlpower
#colourblind