“Hello Candice… I’m going to be a bit late because of the trains being delayed… Yes tell me about it… OK see you later,” a lady speaks into her mobile and then hangs up.
She flicks her wrist and takes a quick glance at her watch.“I don’t believe it,” she whispers. The phone disappears into her bag.
Two guys aged about twenty five walk towards her, smile and politely greet: “Good morning Lucy,” almost simultaneously.
She smiles and responds with a: “Hi, morning guys.”
“Fancy seeing you here,” the stocky built guy says.
“Ah well that’s life; never a dull moment,” she replies glancing at her watch again.
“Why do you look so on edge?” the skinnier of the two guys enquires.
“I haven’t travelled by train in ages. My lift is not available today. I considered Uber but my budget is depleted; you know how it goes,” she explains looking a little agitated.
“Ah relax gal; take it in your stride. My motto is less stress is best,” the skinny guy teases.
“It’s easy for you to say. I’m never late. I don’t like being late. It feels as if I’m stealing something,” Lucy explains with a stern face.
“Oh come on guys, let’s chill. There’s nothing we can do to change the situation. Joost passed away. The price of petrol went up. Putin is bombing Ukraine and it’s all out of our control,” the stocky guy interjects.
Lucy smiles for a moment then says almost in a whisper, “I grew up being a big Joost van der Merwe fan.”
The guys look at her; they giggle for a moment, then the stocky guy says through his giggles: “You mean Joost van der Westhuizen Lucy, right?”
“Oh yes, that’s right. Why was I saying van der Merwe,” she snaps shaking her head in disbelief.
“Why a Joost fan?” the skinny guy asks.
She smiles for a moment. “Oh, he was an athlete, a great rugby player, a fighter and he was very good looking,” she answers.
“But hysie ees van ôsse mense nie!” the skinny guy exclaims.
With a surprised look in her eyes Lucy glares at him, for a moment forgetting to look at her watch.
“And what is that supposed to mean? The guy is South African,” she calmly replies almost asking.
“You know what I mean. He comes from a privileged background; specifically Apartheid South Africa,” the skinny guy argues pulling up his shoulders.
“Yes that’s right,” the stocky guy adds.
Lucy looks at them in disbelief.
She looks at her watch, looks up in the air and rolls her eyes as the movement of her lips suggest she’s saying: “Oh my goodness”.
The guys’ eyes are fixed on her, patiently waiting on her response. She takes a deep breath, sighs and starts by saying: “My son attends a Model C school and he’s sport crazy. He doesn’t understand the old South Africa. He is completely colour-blind.”
“At his eighth birthday party last year, we had a multi-colour, multi-culture, multi-racial party with about twenty kids. They ate, played and had fun without any incidents except for the odd spilling of beverages and popcorn.”
“It’s the responsibility of their parents to explain the history of our country to their kids but it was my responsibility to look at them with post-apartheid eyes and be a good host.”
“Those kids represent the new South Africa and hopefully it would be them who will steer this country into the right direction in terms of equality and a better future for all.”
“This generation of leaders just don’t cut it, but before I go too deep into politics, let me stop right there.”
“Yes, Joost was my hero because my brother and my family were rugby crazy and he had a poster of the 1995 World Cup squad pinned on his wall.”
“The challenge facing us is how we will be remembered. What legacy did we leave behind? How did our lives impact society?”
Without waiting for a reply or explanation from them, she looks at her watch and says: “Sure enough, I even remember being late for school at times when travelling by train.”
hysie – The Afrikaaps version of “hy is nie” which is Afrikaans for “he is not”.
ees – The Afrikaaps version of “eens” which is Afrikaans for “once” or as in this case “even”.
ôsse – The Afrikaaps version of “ons se” which is Afrikaans for “our”.
“But hysie ees van ôsse mense nie!”
“But he is not even (one) of our people!”