Tuesday, February 06, 2007

"Lovely Day"

My boy Gary stopped by to wash his new car in our driveway this morning. It is a long standing tradition that goes back to the 80s when we washed our motorcycles in the driveway and then rode up and down the street till the neighbors called the cops. I remember this young white cop who came out once and threatened to knock me about. Wonder what he is doing now in the post-apartheid era?

Anyway, Gary and I go back 32 years to a sunny day like today when I watched him walk down Trommel Street on stilts. I thought then that he was an arrogant ass and my opinion has hardly changed. In truth though, there is hardly another man outside of my father who has been so present in my life.

While Gary washed his car I looked around in the garden and enjoyed the elements coming together. It was a spectacular day and I wanted to play barefeet on the grass.

So I went to fetch Leah and we had a ball running around on the grass. Ain't she a beauty? She is a South African Boer Bull whose bloodline is supposed to make her aggressive and a really imposing watchdog. Ummmmm ... she is just a big baby who can eat more than two horses on any day. When I scratch her back she wiggles her back legs and looks to be grinning.

While Leah and I played we were like two big hippos. For this reason, Cindy (the Chihauhau) and Wendy (the model) just stood by and watched quietly.

After we were tired of playing, and Gary was done washing his car, I sat on the grass and looked at this cactus for the longest time. I remembered that Robert Sobukwe used to stand in the same spot at times and smoke his pipe while the apartheid system kept a security car across the street to enforce his "banned" status.

On occasion, Sobukwe would walk into the street and play ball with the kids who hardly knew that he was the most feared revolutionary in South Africa. He would laugh and enjoy himself in a simple pleasure that apartheid sought to deny. According to his banning orders, he was not allowed to be in the company of more than one person at a time.

But Sobukwe was bigger than his oppressors and their banning orders (picture of National Party delegation meeting with Sobukwe on Robben Island).

Bigger than the solitary confinement that kept him locked without charge under the "Sobukwe Clause" in a cage-like house next to the dog kennels on Robben Island for six years (pictured above). Sobukwe was feared then and he is feared now. If he had lived beyond 1978 this would be a very different South Africa for sure.

He was a true son of the "African soil".

And today, like Bill Withers said, was an absolutely "Lovely Day" ...

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