Tag Archives: staff

Life on the farm…and other stories…

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Blogging began as a way for me to just speak. Nothing else. A little platform to voice a thought, opinion or record something.

I enjoy reading other blogs. I don’t always have the time to read other blogs. I admittedly always make time to read the Reluctant Mom’s Blog though. She has a refreshing way at looking at things. She’s not scared to have an opinion. Her world in the suburbs of Cape Town is a world apart from mine here on the farm. But intrinsically we have lots of things in common. Like loving the husband, kids and most things a thirty-something South African woman, would find important. I do admire most, her zero tolerance for bullshit. A most commendable trait in anybody.  http://reluctantmom.wordpress.com/

So, as I mentioned earlier, blogging became a way for voicing and recording. Life on a farm in post Apartheid South Africa has changed greatly from life on a farm during Apartheid. With fundamental things, like housing and salaries. But fundamentally, on our farm, the respect is still there.

My matric class was the last only white matric class in our school. They had started integrating all kids that year. I’m writing this matter of  factly, because how do you begin to apologise for a whole body of ignoramuses that made descisions before I was born. I’m envious of our kids. They have the opportunity to go to school with all colour groups and become colour blind. In our part of the world it is disrespectful to not respect the different cultures. If someone is black, they’re black, and they have a heap of traditions that go with it. Like amakweta’s. Like circumcision. A huge deal for a Xhosa boy. So it’s not a simple case of not seeing colour but rather respecting the package that comes with it.

People look at my magnificent view from my verandah and comment that I must really appreciate this. I do. I really do. I appreciate it every day. It’s just that sometimes it’s difficult to stop and smell the roses when you’re in a rush in the mornings with the school run, bags to pack, framing, admin and books to do and staff to organise. It’s not that slow-paced, methodical life you may think we have on the farm. Well not for us. Not for John and I and the kids. There’s always something going on, something to do and somewhere to be. In fact it’s sometimes downright hectic. 

I like it like that. He who seeks rest finds boredom. He who seeks work finds rest. Dylan Thomas. and all that……..

The Help

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I watched The Help last night on Box Office. Yes, I’ve read the book. Such an excellent movie. It made me cry. I cried in empathy for those black women who brought up other people’s kids(touched a nerve), who cooked and cleaned and had to put up with bollocks everyday of their lives. For the woman who stole a ring to send her twins to college after being refused a loan.

We can’t comprehend what others go through until we’ve stood in their shoes.

The Help is relevant in our South African society. And we’re all guilty.

The company I keep….

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I have 4 Xhosa ladies that work for me. Thembisa, also known as Tiffa, in the house and kitchen. There’s Nonkoliseko, an awesome Grandmother, whose chief job is to look after Molly, coz she’s cerebral palsy. Then there is Noza, who comes twice a week to do the washing and ironing, brasso-ing and polishing silver, washing windows. She is about 6 months pregnant, or as my Dad says, properly up the spout.

Lizzie is my lady in the garden. She is fairly oldish, comes in when she feels like it, 100% old school and barely speaks English, she rattles off in Xhosa and has the kindness and soul of a saint.A few days after my father-in-law died, John and I arrived home to find Lizzie huddled against the wall at about 7:30pm at night, in mid winter. When we asked why she was still here, she replied that she didn’t want to leave John’s mom on her own. My mom-in-law didn’t even know that she was still there. But that’s how we are on the farms. Generations growing up together. Lizzie’s parents and grandparents growing up in this area, watching John grow up in front of them playing with their kids. It’s family in every sense of the word.

Now, having all these helpers is awesome. I leave in the morning to go to work or do the school run and arrive home to a clean house and a meal of reis, vleis and aartappels on the table. But it also comes with its side shows.

 For example buying bloody Boxer tobacco. Lizzie and Nonkoliseko, whom we affectionately call Seko, get the heebie jeebies if their tobacco runs out. So very few town runs are made without the request of Tobacco. It’s so annoying sometimes because not every shop sells it and one can only buy it at the cigarette counter, where there is invariably a queue. So with two kids clinging or running wild I have to stand in the bloody queue for tobacco. It’s not worth, not getting it. You know that saying, Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned? Well, it was invented with Xhosa women in mind. The cold shoulder, sulking and pure punishment is NOT worth it!

Seko, is a special person. I firmly believe that divine intervention sent her to us to look after Molly. She has 6 kids. 3 normal, 1 that walks on his hands and feet, 1 cerebral palsy and 1 child who died when he was young. She knows shit. She’s seen bad things and she JUST GETS ON WITH IT! Always has a smile on her face. In fact I think that, had she been born in different circumstances, she would probably be a CEO of a company. She has Mandela’s sunny, yet pragmatic disposition. I’ve told her, that she may never leave us. She finds this very funny and laughs her head off.

It’s important to respect each other on a farm. Read The Poisonwood Bible if you haven’t already. You know…… respect each others cultures and beliefs. At the end of the day I am the boss’ wife, but respect goes a long way. And a Xhosa woman has never-ending strength and abilities. She loves her children, she laughs a lot and she loves her family. There’s no sense of humour like that of a Xhosa woman….