I want to lay this one to rest so I re-visited it from 2014 and have made some changes. It will now have to stand on its own.
Have I ever told you that a thick electric cable was once used to teach me manners, to beat bad language out of me? Okay, I know that I did wrong but did he have to go that far? He had brought home the cable from the Rooivaal, the power station he was commissioning. Menacing, rubbery, full of wires. (He used to say he would beat us just in case we were naughty, although he never did.) Yes, okay, I admit it: we did lug the words from behind the screen of trees at our neighbour. Bryanston’s air was blue with fucks and shits. I am aghast to think that I knew those words … but apparently it is in the criminal juvenile record. We were in the bath and he barked at us to get out. It was awful. There we stood wet and naked, dripping on the vinyl floor. A phone call from the neighbour had spilled the beans and so out had come the thick black electric cable ready to apply to wet bottoms. We death marched in our dressing gowns over the neighbour’s fence for the Apology. I had always thought that that was the humiliation. Of course, I was wrong, the very worst had been that we were beaten buck naked. How it stings across the decades.
Bryanston, north of Joburg, circa 1964
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