These are the shoes Tossie danced in when she was 5 years old. She has kept them in the box they came in over all these years. Now that she has written her book, she will be joining a small community of ecologically-minded people on a farm outside Robertson and put her dancing aside. A white South African woman of Afrikaner descent with an intimate personal commitment to its political history. A woman of our time and country. Courageous. Spiritual. Determined. How do you address such a person?
How do I address you?
Comrade in arms.
Activist in writing.
Expression of sorrow.
Performer. Dancer. Singer.
Friend. Teacher. Giraffe.
Well, kind of.
When bending down you reach the earth with ease.
And stretching to the highest branches reach.
I call you rabbit.
Well, you know, hiding in the furrow of the field
ears strong into the breeze
movement of the slightest wind
and all the rustling in the trees.
Would that not be it?
The owl then, rather.
There you have it.
Turning the head from East to West.
From mining town to desert’s nest.
Bowing to salute.
who holds and keeps
who binds and brings
all things together.
In the meantime the mountains are on fire again. Rage. Devastation. The sun in scarlet glow.
Far away in other lands the earth shook itself to get rid of an itch. Grinding her teeth. The ants are running wild. All our wonderful constructions, mould on its crust. Wobble of her axis.
Otherwise, as best we know, everything fine here. Or have we missed something – another fiancé – another senior appointment … Shag’a Zuma – get a Gupta? Or such like affair? Don’t think so.
Cheerio for now.
Walter & Colleen
Betty’s Bay, Friday 18 March 2011