Louis Resant

Louis Resant’s family moved from Clanwilliam to Citrusdal, where they were one of the first families to settle there. He is currently waiting for a response to his land claim in Citrusdal.

Louis Resant explains that owing to apartheid things were very different in Citrusdal when he was growing up. He shares stories of the apartheid police, his experience of being forcibly removed from his home and of encountering a water being.

Louis Resant’s father was Frederick Andreas Resant from Wupperthal, and his mother was Regina Resant from the Cape. They were together for about 50 years. His father was a building contractor in Clanwilliam. They moved to Citrusdal and were one of the first families there. There were 11 members in the family, but three passed away. Today there are only three family members left – Louis and his two sisters. They never saw their eldest sister.

Louis feels that things were different back then because of Apartheid. After 10pm coloured people were not allowed to be on the streets, and if caught the police would beat them. He tells a terrible story of greeting a white woman in the street by saying “hallo” and getting in trouble with the police for not saying “good evening” instead. The woman perceived “hallo” as him being forward and making a move on her. The police mistook Louis’ cousin for him and broke his jaw. Compared to now, coloured people were allowed to do and say very little, says Louis. His father was in the army for many years and told him of his frightening experiences in Egypt. They were promised money and farmland if they agreed to fight in Egypt, but only the white men’s promises were fulfilled. Louis’s father received nothing.

As young people they went to a dancehall in the town, but one day the municipality demolished all the buildings. No one knows why. The people of Citrusdal built their houses themselves. In 1970 they were simply told to remove their belongings from their homes and they were demolished. Some people were not even allowed to remove everything. At that time, a lawyer was too expensive. They were not allowed to say much against it, either, or they would be told they were “being clever”.

They recently reapplied for land reclamation and were told the lawyers would get back to them. Louis is now 70 years old and would like to see their land returned to them. If they get something, they get something, and if not it is also something to accept. The people with useful information about the forced removals and demolitions are now gone.

Many of the kids who did not go to high school hung about the town, drank and got into fights. Most of his family members were in jail at some point and some died in jail, but no questions could be asked about their deaths. He tells a story about his cousin who saw a ghost coffin at a farm gate.

Louis thinks there may really be people living in the river. At the Heks River there is a hole, a swimming hole, where people often get lost. He, his wife and children once went there for a Sunday afternoon braai and his daughter came to tell them that the river had changed direction and was flowing upstream. They jumped into the car and drove to his wife’s cousin, who lived nearby. She said that it must have been a waterbaas (water boss). People get lost in the river and are found, dead and bled out, with a small hole in their backs. The waterbaas, like the waternooientjie (water maiden), is said to be half fish and half person, and the waterbaas is a pretty creature with a long, white beard. The swimming hole cannot be closed or covered because of the flow of the river. Louis used to love swimming, but now he is scared of the river. Apparently, under the water the ground is dry and the water floats above you. To not be killed by the waterbaas the fortunetellers say that you must offer coins when you are caught.


My name is Louis Resant. My pa’s name was Frederik Andreas Resant and my ma’s name was Regina Resant. Now, my ma was originally from the Cape, but my pa was from Wupperthal because his ma had lived there. And [addressing his wife], “Mommy, (??00:39) tell me quickly, how long were Ma and Pa married?” My pa and ma were together for many years, they were probably married for more than 50 years. My pa and my ma, none of them had children before that.

Eldest brother of mine was… It was a sister and, she passed, but let me tell it to you like this: Look, say you have a – My pa started out in Wupperthal and after that, when he started growing up and started working, my pa became a contractor, a building contractor, and we lived in Clanwilliam at first. And, as I understand it, my eldest brother – who had my grandpa’s, my pa’s pa’s name – was born in Clanwilliam and after that, after my eldest brother was born, we moved here, to Citrusdal. And in Citrusdal we were the – we were the Resant family and then there was one family who was here before us, the Titus family. We were the first two families that came to live in Citrusdal. The Resants and the Tituses.

And here us children were born. I have to say, we were 11, 11 altogether, and the two sisters of mine have passed away and my brother as well. As I say, we are, we postponed (sic) it so much that at the end of the day we’re just us three, me and two other sisters of mine. The one sister of mine who is a bit younger is now in the old age home in Clanwilliam, but the eldest sister of mine is still living here in Citrusdal.

And, as I said, from, from there we grew up. When my pa worked here, that was later in time, it was first, close to the two, the one, the one who could still walk, the eldest sister of mine, after the brother, she’s also passed. And, the other one who was before her, who has also passed, we only saw, but they only said that she had been the eldest and she had had my grandma’s name. My ma’s ma’s name, Martha. She was also Martha. But we never saw her. She was the eldest.

But as I say, from there the family grew so much that at the end of the day most, family born in Citrusdal were related to me. So we were the first people here in Citrusdal, who actually started the town.

Can you tell us what it looked like in those years?

Yes. Look, in those years, when we were born and grew up, and long after that, things were very different from nowadays. Because we had apartheid in those years, didn’t we. And, for example they had – people often laugh when one speaks about it – in that time they had a rule here in Citrusdal. We got to know the rule. At ten o’clock in the evenings you were not allowed to be outside any more, or in the town. If they caught you, in the town, wherever – but it was only us coloureds. In those years there were not many black people here. There were few black people. They lived in the kampong [compound]. And at ten ‘o clock you had to hurry to get off the street. Because when they got their hands on you, the police, you got a good hiding.

You couldn’t follow up the matter and go to the police station, or to the magistrate. They said, “No, you don’t have anything to say. You have to keep your mouth shut.”

We carried on like that over all the years. Up to the present. Then later, when my parents and the family became strong, they stopped the rule. Because it can’t work like that. I mean, how can you – for example, in that time, when I was growing up, not quite a young man yet… When I, for example, got to the Van Rhynstraat (?? 05:12)café*, me and a few of my friends… Just because I said “hello” to the white woman, that didn’t mean I was coming on to her. Then they phoned my wife’s cousin, phoned the police, and the woman’s cousin. There at the police station they broke his jaw. Just to… And the next day I… I had said “hello”, but that wasn’t really anything, was it? And unfortunately it was close to ten o’clock and we had to run. They caught him and broke his jaw.

But the next day my pa had to, they came to my pa. They then asked, wasn’t I the one who had said “hello”? And so I asked, “But what’s wrong with that?”

Then a certain sergeant – I can no longer remember his name – who had been on duty that night, then he said to me, “You should have said ‘evening’ properly to the nooi*.”

Then I said, “But we’re used to saying ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ and so on. To each other.”

He said it meant I had come on to her. Then my pa had to give me a hiding, there. I got thirteen strokes with the cane, otherwise the case would go to court. And the more I said to my pa I was willing to go to court, because I hadn’t said anything bad, what was the matter, I’d only said hello, it meant the same as “good evening”… Then my pa gave me a hiding, there. After this, they simply dropped the case. And I could tell many more stories like that, we were not allowed to do as much as we are allowed today. Today is a completely different story.

Tell us about the Resants and Tituses. What did they do when they came here?

Yes. Look, the, our people were basically, my pa and them, the Resants and Tituses were basically artisans. Worked on buildings, in that time only white people could be contractors, you know. I think, for example… In that time, in that time many things were done. You could… For example, when I started working, after my pa had decided… the guy, the guy was called up to join the army. My pa was in Egypt, for example. He wasn’t (inaudible 07:40).

My pa and my eldest, my eldest brother’s son’s father-in-law, and then also my one uncle, the three of them went to Egypt. The other soldiers fought here in South Africa, here in South Africa, but the three of them were called up to Egypt. My pa and them told us often that there had been times that, he said that he’d cried, and after he’d been… discharged from dinges*, then he, when he told you about how they’d suffered, he said the bomb would fall right next to you, your eardrums burst, you just had to hang in there. Until he was later discharged from the army, discharged. And they were promised they would get money, because they’d risked their lives. My pa was in the army for many years before he came to do contract work.

And, what happened there was, they were promised they would get farms and… But I’m telling you this morning, my pa didn’t even get a coat. My other two uncles each received a bicycle, but my pa received nothing. But the other whites who fought with them there, all farms. But that was just how it was, you kept your mouth shut or you left. And he told us many times how they’d suffered, my pa and him. My pa couldn’t talk about it any more.

And as I say, they never, in those days they couldn’t, like today’s children when they are grown-up, and of age, then the guys drink. My pa and them were never allowed this. My grandpa and my grandma were terribly strict people and those Titus people were the same. For example, we, today I still have to live… My one uncle, my pa’s one brother, lived on the, the piece of land – they flattened the old houses, you know, but this was a place where we danced, a dance hall. The ear-, the slab is still there. It’s quite deep now, under the ground. But if they dig deep, they will be on the concrete slab where we danced.

The one Titus guy lived just opposite. And he had a house with a lot of rooms, where he gave lodging to many people. And at the end of the day, to cap everything, the municipality came and demolished all these houses.

Why did the municipality do it?

Up to today we don’t know. We didn’t get a cent, we’re fighting now because many of the houses in which they lived, they had built themselves. They weren’t compensated. Corrugated sheets, and those things, I can assure you. It was in the 70s. Yes, in the 70s, 70s. We just got notice that we had to empty our houses. I was, at that time my pa and them applied for me to go to high school, Wesco (?? 10:46) High. I had to go to Wesco High, but in this time they came with the bulldozers, and many of us, our people’s stuff, we weren’t even allowed to remove it. You just had to take what you could, because the bulldozer was on its way, to flatten.

We were never allowed… And at that time it was tough, you know, we couldn’t afford a lawyer or anything like that because there wasn’t any money. Because, for example, when I started working, I worked for three… one pound ten as we said. That was my tops for the whole week. My pa and them maybe thought at the time, well, my pa, my pa always told us, he started working for seven rand, he got seven rand, if he… That was the salary he got for the week.

But no questions were asked. If you asked questions, you simply had to take your stuff and go, otherwise you worked, because you were being too clever for your own good. “I’m keeping my eye on you all the time.” That is what we were told. And I’ve been wondering, now, we’ve again applied to submit land claims, we have land claims… This, from the other side of the road – our houses stood from here up to there at Elbie’s. At the back was a small park, there at the park, that park separated us from each other because the white people didn’t want to see us. That is how we lived. Because we… we were actually stupid. Many of our people, as you said quite rightly, we were… Many were lying beneath the sand blanket. They couldn’t speak, they were not allowed to speak, because the magistrate worked together with the police. You kept your mouth shut, you didn’t have anything to say.

This is the history but up to the present we don’t know what is happening, because they promised us at the land claims they would come back to us. But last week someone phoned from parliament that we – we appointed a woman on Wednesday to handle our land claims. She works in parliament, she will handle the stuff. But now they ask us, who is the person who applied, we have to dinges* her… Now that is personal stuff. I told the guy, man, I can’t get that stuff from her, you get it from her and say that you want it. I will give you her number, then you call her and the two of you can speak. Because she won’t give her secret stuff that she works with to me, so that I can give it to you. It doesn’t work like that.

So, we’ll see whether we one day… But what I’m saying is, I will… I’m 70 now, I’ll soon be 70. I’ll just be glad when we get something, when the people say to us, okay, here is something for you. But we have to wait. If we get, we get and if we don’t get, we have to accept that. And as I say, that time we didn’t have money for a lawyer. Now it is quite different and now the people who had the correct information are not there any more.

What did you get up to when you were young?

Yes. We did, we didn’t actually have anything else, because as I say, we had to, the guys who could afford sending their children to high school, could do it, but we, who couldn’t go to high school, stayed around here and later learnt to drink and do all those things, wrong things, fighting and fucking, that way one… The people of my family also went to jail for that, and then you heard that one, one had died there in jail. You didn’t know what had happened to him, you could also not… There wasn’t money for enquiries.

You probably heard many stories from other people. Do you remember some, like ghost stories, or stories about Wolf and Jackal and so on? Can you remember some?

Yes, because, look, my cousin – it’s a pity he’s now, he can’t talk much any more, he’s still alive – he told us a lot. He’s a Titus. We… My pa and them lived just below here and they lived here, where my one uncle used to live. He always told us, he said, look… He went everywhere in the location*. Now, many people were murdered and knifed here, you know, and he told us one day, heh, he said he’d been a terribly scared young man after his birth. And he said, at that stage when he was a young man, he was helping someone (inaudible 15:57) and, he said they arrived at a certain farm, but this farm was haunted like crazy. He said going to the farm, there was a gate that he had to open. And he opened the gate. And he went in. And after they had finished inside, sold the stuff and so on, he said, they departed. And when he got back to the gate, there was a coffin at the gate. And he wondered, he was scared out of his mind, but the man with him said, “Man, you’re making a mistake, I don’t see anything.”

And he said, he just had to go on and when he got to the coffin, the coffin moved out of the way by itself. Then he said to the person in the coffin, or to the coffin itself, “The Lord knows, man, you gave me a big fright.”

Then the ghost said to him, “Don’t talk about fright, I nearly died from fright”.


… will go on just now…

He said when they… the coffin, finished closing the gate, the apparition was gone as well.

Did they talk about here at the river, people who are there?

Man, yes, they… But it seems to me it’s really true.

Tell us, please.

Because there in, as I say, here at Hex River, there, there at, in the river, there’s a pool, a certain pool. I’m telling you, me and my wife and the children, one Sunday we wanted to go braai* there. We got to the place, to the place where we wanted – diagonally across from the pool. And while I was making a fire, the children were playing there and swimming, and one of my girls came – she’s now in the city.

She said to her ma, “Mommy, I don’t understand, what’s going on here?”

And the river flows that way, doesn’t it? But the river was coming up from below. It was just branches and stumps and things. And we, I fled from there with the children, we just left the meat there and we in the car and went up higher, to her cousin, my wife’s cousin who lives in Hex River. Then she said one day –, she didn’t know what it was, but she has many moles on her face, you know – this thing had chased her.

I asked, “What is it?”

Then she said, “It’s a water boss.”

Now, I don’t know what a water boss is. In any case, her husband found her in time. The thing basically had her by the hand, then the husband plucked, the dinges*, plucked her out of the thing’s grip. And do you know, just a day later, other children went swimming there again. Because that man disappeared there, that woman disappeared there, at the pool.

And then the police, they sent for the police, and some of the sea divers and so on came. And when they got there, they got the girl. Was my sister’s, my sister’s, son-in-law’s sister, ah, sister’s sister-in-law. Then they pulled her out of the dinges, but the doctor discovered afterwards that she only had a small hole here, here behind her back. Looked like blood had dripped out there. She was dead.

And two weeks later, the same thing. They played there again, the children swam. Then the man also just disappeared. Then I asked another uncle who lives up here, I asked him, “Now, what is a water boss?”

And he says, “That thing that was so angry, he wasn’t allowed…” Then they again had the guys from Lamberts Bay come, the sea divers.

So I asked him, “But what does the thing look like?”

He says, “It looks, it looks… they –” He had gone closer, but they didn’t want him to go in, because the sea divers had to… They went to… Then they said, it looks like a human, half human, half fish. But he looks like an old man, he looks beautiful. His beard is grey. And then he let go of him. He had done the same, had sucked out the blood.

And now, about three weeks ago, the same thing.

There at that pool.

At that pool. So I said they had to close up the pool. They said they couldn’t do that because of the flow of the river. Then they, the one guy who is now dead, then he and one of the guys had a quarrel. Because this man said to him, “Man, listen, you can’t come here and take any woman you want to, my sister doesn’t know you.”

“Yes, but you’ve got nothing to do with what your sister says.”

And do you know, my wife’s cousin said what she’d found strange was that he had then said to her, “That’s okay, we’ll talk again.”

And the Saturday afternoon this guy and his sister, his sister, went to the river. He went to show us, her son and some of the other children were also there, he didn’t go in like you go into the river – you walk – he went in backwards. He went in backwards, and when he got right to the pool, he just disappeared. And when they looked for him, he was long gone.

Then I asked him*, “Now, what does it look like there?” The children who had gone in.

They said, “He doesn’t care about you. When he’s got you, he’s got you. But below is dry earth and the water is up here.”

And I said, “No, I don’t believe this stuff.”

Then he said to me, “You must come here, I will show you.”

I said, “No, I want to… I can’t go into a river like that, because if you go in there, you don’t come out alive. Now, why do you come out alive?”

Then he said to me, “The reason why I stay alive is, my pa is himself a doekom*-drag [sorcery carrier](?? 22:41). My pa knows how to fool these things.”

Then I said, “No, wait, wait. I’m sorry, but you mustn’t tell your pa I asked, Because I don’t like such things.”

I don’t believe in these things, but I will not go and investigate. Make dead sure. Below there. Now, these are things that, that one hears, but I know, I can say it for a fact, I myself heard from his family what had happened there, because as I say, he went in in a strange way. He didn’t walk in. He went in with his back turned. Then at that pool, he just disappeared and when they pulled him out, he was dead. There was no blood in him. Look, the Bible speaks of these things, but as I say, there are things that one believes with difficulty, because you cannot, it cannot sound right to you, it doesn’t sound right.

Now, I say, and from that time I’ve been very scared of the river. I liked swimming very much, but nowadays I don’t like swimming any more. I’d rather be hot, switch on the aircon, even though it’s a lot of electricity, but I don’t go to the river. Too many things have happened here. Children just disappear and then you don’t know what’s going on. But as I say, there are many fortune tellers and so on here among us. But nowadays it seems like you have to believe in these things, these guys told me it happened like that.

And our people, the wife’s nephew, or cousin’s daughter’s son, also went last year, not last year, the previous year. They were in a, went fishing, on a boat here at the dam, and they, they rowed, they caught a few fish. He says then his boat sank, he went down below. They didn’t see him again. When the divers got him out, probably after two, three days, he was dead. I asked, what went wrong?

Then this uncle said, because as I say, the guy is also a fortune teller, and he also carries paljas* according to people, then he said what they should have done. Now at the time you don’t know what to do… at the time of the emergency.

What did he say, what should they have done?

They say, he says they should… There where he went in, he, he should have paid, he should have thrown money in. Now, you’re not thinking of money, you don’t have any money with you. But they say you have to throw in loose change. Not paper money, it will disintegrate. They buried this guy. I said, no, I won’t do it. But I also don’t want to try it myself. No, leave me alone.

Now these kinds of things happen here. But as I say, we grew up nicely. Our only problem was our parents, we were never introduced to our family. It’s a pity, because it seems like you don’t want to know your family. But unfortunately we don’t know – like Elbie, for example,  Elbie doesn’t know we are family. Now, Elbie’s mother was my mother, one of mother’s brother’s children. But we were never allowed to hear those things. They kept those things secret. So you have to guess and see, and you just have that feeling, you feel, but this is close to me, this is my family. Now, sometimes one knew why, because we didn’t, we didn’t say it openly, you only heard afterwards, from other people. Now, you have to be very careful, you must think what you say nowadays, because people nowadays are so – you can, if you cannot confirm something, the man will take you to court. If you don’t know this kind of thing, then you should rather keep silent. And so.

Louis Resant se familie het van Clanwilliam af Citrusdal toe getrek. Hulle was een van die eerste families om hulle daar te vestig. Louis wag tans op die uitslag van sy grondeis in Citrusdal.

Hy verduidelik dat dinge op Citrusdal weens apartheid baie anders was toe hy jonk was. Hy vertel stories oor die apartheidspolisie, hoe dit was om met geweld uit sy huis gesit te word, en van sy ontmoeting met ’n waterbaas.

Louis Resant se pa was Frederick Andreas Resant van Wupperthal, en sy ma was Regina Resant van die Kaap. Hulle was 50 jaar lank getroud. Sy pa was ’n boukontrakteur op Clanwilliam. Hulle het later Citrusdal toe getrek en was een van die eerste families daar. Hulle was 11 kinders, maar drie is oorlede. Vandag is daar net drie van hulle oor – Louis en sy twee susters. Hulle het nooit hulle oudste suster gesien nie.

Louis voel dinge was toe baie anders as gevolg van apartheid. Na 10 in die aand mag daar geen Kleurlinge op straat gewees het nie en as die polisie jou vang, het hulle jou ’n drag slae gegee. Hy vertel ’n aaklige storie van hoe hy ’n blanke vrou op straat gegroet het deur “hallo” te sê en toe by die polisie in die moeilikheid gekom het omdat hy nie eerder “naand” gesê het nie. Die vrou het die “hallo” as voorbarig beskou en gedink hy lê by haar aan. Die polisie het Louis se neef vir hom aangesien en dié se kakebeen afgeslaan. In vergelyking met nou kon bruin mense baie min doen en sê, sê Louis. Sy pa was jare lank in die weermag en het hom vertel hoe swaar hulle in Egipte gekry het. Hulle is geld en plase belowe as hulle in Egipte sou gaan veg, maar dié beloftes is net teenoor die blankes nagekom. Louis se pa het niks gekry nie.

As jongmense het hulle by ’n danssaal op die dorp gaan dans, maar op ’n dag het die munisipaliteit al die geboue gesloop. Niemand weet hoekom nie. Die mense op Citrusdal het self hulle huise gebou. In 1970 het hulle eenvoudig kennis gekry om hulle besittings uit hulle huise te verwyder want die huise gaan gesloop word. Van die mense was nie eers toegelaat om al hulle goed te verwyder nie. Destyds was dit te duur om ’n prokureur te kry. Hulle kon ook nie vrae vra nie, dan is daar vir hulle gesê dat hulle hulle slim hou.

Hulle het onlangs ’n grondeis ingestel en daar is vir hulle gesê dat die prokureurs na hulle toe sal terugkom. Louis is nou 70 jaar oud en wil graag sien dat hulle grond aan hulle teruggegee word. As hulle iets kry, kry hulle dit; as hulle niks kry nie, aanvaar hulle dit so. Ongelukkig is die mense met nuttige inligting oor die gedwonge hervestigings nou nie meer daar nie.

Baie van die kinders het nie hoërskool toe gegaan nie, maar in die dorp rondgehang, gedrink en baklei. Baie van sy familielede was op een of ander stadium in die tronk. Van hulle is selfs in die tronk dood, maar hulle kon nie daaroor navraag doen nie. Hy vertel ’n storie van sy neef wat ’n spook se doodskis by ’n plaashek gesien het.

Louis dink daar kan regtig mense wees wat in die rivier bly. By die Heksrivier is daar ’n gat, ’n swemgat, waarin mense dikwels verdwyn. Op ’n keer het hy saam met sy vrou en kinders op ’n Sondagmiddag gaan vleisbraai toe sy dogter vir hom kom sê die rivier het van rigting verander en vloei nou stroomop. Hulle het in die motor gespring en na sy vrou se niggie, wat daar naby bly, gejaag. Sy het gesê dit was seker ’n waterbaas. Mense verdwyn in die rivier en word gevind, dood en uitgebloei, met ’n klein gaatjie in die rug. Nes die waternooientjie is die waterbaas ook half vis, half mens. Die waterbaas is ’n mooi man met ’n lang, wit baard. Weens die vloei van die rivier kan die swemgat nie toegemaak word nie. Louis het eers baie van swem gehou, maar is nou bang vir die rivier. Onder die water is daar blykbaar droë grond en die water dryf bokant jou. Die fortuinvertellers sê as jy nie wil hê die waterbaas moet jou doodmaak nie, moet jy vir hom los geld ingooi wanneer hy jou vang.


My naam is Louis Resant. My pa se naam was Frederik Andreas Resant en my ma se naam was Regina Resant. Nou, my ma was oorspronklik ’n Kapenaar, maar my pa, soos ek sê, was van Wupperthal want sy ma het daar gebly. Enne – [vir ander persoon] “Mammie (??00:39), sê gou vir my, hoe lank was Ma en Pa getroud?” – my pa en ma was baie jare bymekaar, seker so in die vyftig jaar, was hulle bymekaar gewees, wat hulle getroud was. My pa en my ma, geeneen van hulle het kinders voor dit gehad nie.

Oudste broer van my was mos nou, dit was ’n suster gewees, enne, sy’s oorlede, maar lat ek jou so vertel, kyk, sê jy’t ’n, my pa het mos eers op Wupperthal, en daarna, toe hy nou beginne grootword en gaan werk, toe’t my pa kontrakteur geword, boukontrakteur, en toe bly ons eers in Clanwilliam. Enne, volgens ek verneem, was my oudste broer, wat my oupa, my pa se pa se naam gehad het, is in Clanwilliam gebore en daarna, nadat my oudste broer gebore was, het ons getrek, hier op Citrusdal. En nou, van Citrusdal was ons die, ons was die Resant-familie en dan was daar een familie wat voor ons hier gewees het, die Titus-hulle-familie. Ons was die heel eerste twee families wat in Citrusdal gekom bly het. Die Resante en die Titus.

En hier is ons kinders gebore, ek moet sê, ons was elf, elf bymekaar en die twee susters van my is oorlede en my broer ook nou. Soos ek sê, ons is, ons het so uitgestel dat ons toe aan die einde van die dag is ons net drie, ek en ’n ander twee susters van my, maar die een suster van my wat bietjie jonger is, sy is nou in die ouetehuis in Clanwilliam, maar die oudste suster van my bly nog steeds hier op Citrusdal.

Enne, soos ek dan sê, en daar-, hier-, daarvan af het ons toe opgegroei. Toe my pa nou hier gewerk het, toe was dit later teen die tyd van die dag, was eers, naby die twee, die ene, die enetjie wat nog geloop, die oudste suster van my, na die broer, sy’s ook oorlede. Enne, die ander ene wat voor haar was, wat ook oorlede was, het ons net gesien, maar hulle het net gesê sy was die heel oudste en sy’t nogal my ouma se naam gehad. My ma se ma se naam, Martha. Sy was ook Martha. Maar ons het nooit vir haar gesien nie. Sy was die heel oudste.

Maar soos ek sê, daarvan af het die familie so gegroei dat ons teen die einde van die dag, soos die meeste, uh, uh, familie wat gebore is in Citrusdal, dan was familie van my. So ons was die eerste mense hier in Citrusdal, wat die dorp eintlik gebegint het.

Kan Oom vir ons vertel hoe dit gelyk het daai jare?

Ja. Kyk, in daai jare, toe ons gebore is en grootgeword het, en lank daarna, was die dinge maar baie anders as deesdae. Want daar was mos apartheid dié jare gewees. Enne, toe’t hulle byvoorbeeld, baie kere dan lag die mense so as mens vertel, in daai tyd het hulle ’n reël gehad, hier in Citrusdal. Ons het nou ook die reël so agter beginne kom. Tienuur in die aande, dan mag jy nie meer in die buitekant wees nie, of in die dorp wees nie. Vang hulle vir jou, in die dorp, maak nie saak nie, maar dit het net oor ons kleurlinge gegaan. Daai jare was hier nie baie swartmense hier nie. Daar was min swartmense. Hulle het in die kampong gebly. En tienuur dan moet jy sukkel om van die straat af weg te kom. Want as hulle jou in die hande kry, polisie, dan kry jy nou ’n goeie pak.

Jy kan nie die ding daar opvolg en na die poliestasie toe gaan nie, of na die landdros toe gaan nie. Hulle sê: “Nee, julle het niks te sê nie. Julle moet julle mond hou.”

So het ons maar al die jare aangegaan. Tot op hede. Toe’t hulle later, toe my ouers en die familie nou sterk raak, toe’t hulle die reël gestop. Want dit kan nie so werk nie, ek meen, hoe kan jy, ek het byvoorbeeld van daai tyd, toe ek nou grootword, nog nie ’n behoorlike jong man nie, toe ek byvoorbeeld by Van Rhynstraat-(?? 05:12)kafee gekom, ek en ’n paar van my vriende, net omdat ek van die blanke vrou gesê het “hello”, en dit beteken nie, ek het mos nou nie aangelê by haar nie, toe’t hulle my vrou se neef gebel, die polisie gebel, en die vrou se neef. Daar by die polisiestasie hulle’t sy kakebeen afgeslaan. Net om … en ek het die volgende dag, ek het mos nou gesê “hello”, maar dis mos nou nie iets nie. En ongelukkig is dit naby tienuur en toe kos dit hardloop. Toe kry hulle vir hom in die hande en slaat sy kakebeen af.

Maar die volgende dag toe’t my pa moet, hulle kom toe na my pa toe. Hulle verneem toe nou, maar, ek was die een wat gesê het “hello”. En toe vra ek: “Maar wat is verkeerd daarmee?”

Toe die sekere sersant, ek kan nie meer sy naam onthou nie, wat daai aand aan diens was, toe sê hy vir my maar: “Jy moes vir die nooi mooi gesê het ‘naand’.”

Toe sê ek: “Nee, maar ons is gewoond ‘hello’ en ‘goodbye’ en so. Vir mekaar.”

Hy sê nou, dit beteken ek het aangelê. Toe moet my pa vir my slaan, daar. Ek het dertien houe gekry met die rottang, want anders gaan die saak hof toe. En hoe meer ek vir my pa sê: “Ek is bereid om hof toe te gaan,” want ek het mos nou nie ’n lelike woord gesê nie, wat is dit dan nou, ek het net gesê, “hello”. Dit beteken mos “naand”. Toe’t my pa my daar pak gegee. Na dit, toe skuif hulle sommer die saak af en so kan ek aangaan en aangaan, maar ons was min toegelaat om te doen wat ons vandag kan doen. Vandag is dit ’n heeltemal ander storie.

Vertel vir ons van die Resante en Titusse. Wat het hulle gedoen toe hulle hier kom?

Ja. Kyk, die, die, ons mense was min of meer, my pa-hulle, Resante en Titusse was min of meer ambagsmanne. By die geboue gewerk, daai tyd was dit mos nou net die blanke mense wat nou kontrakteurs was. Ek dink, byvoorbeeld, in daai tyd, in daai tyd is daar baie goete gedoen. Jy mag … ek het byvoorbeeld, toe ek nou begin staat werk het, nadat my pa nou gevoel het, nee, die ou, die ou is nou opgeroep na die army toe. My pa was byvoorbeeld in Egipte. Hy was nie (onhoorbaar 07:40).

My pa en my oudste, my oudste broer, se seun, se skoonpa, en dan was dit my een oom: hulle drie alleen was Egipte toe. Die ander soldate wat hier geveg het in Suid-Afrika, hier in Suid-Afrika, maar hulle drie was al drie opgeroep in Egipte. My pa-hulle het nog baie dae vir ons vertel dat daar tye gewees het, hy sê, dat hy gehuil het, en nadat hy graf … ontslaan was by dinges, toe het hy, as hy vir jou vertel hoe swaar hulle gekry het, hy sê, dan val die bom sommer hier langsaan hulle, jou oordromme bars. Jy moet maar so uithou en tot hy darem later uit die army uit, ge-ontslaan het. En hulle was gebelowe hulle sou geld kry, want hulle het hulle lewens gewaag. My pa was baie jare in die army voordat hy gekom kontrak het.

Enne, wat toe daar gebeur, is toe is hy hulle gebelowe hulle sal plase kry en, maar ek sê vir u vanmôre, my pa het nie eers ’n jas gekry nie. My ander twee ooms het elkeen ’n fiets gekry, maar my pa het niks gekry nie. Maar die ander blankes wat saam met hulle geveg het, daar, almal plase. Maar dit was maar net so, jy hou jou mond, of jy gaat weg. En baie dae het hy so vir ons so vertel hoe swaar het hulle gekry, hy en my pa. My pa kan nie verder praat nie.

En soos ek sê, hulle het nooit, daai tyd kon hulle mos ook nie soos, soos vandag se kinders as hulle nou groot is, en hy is mondig, dan drink die manne. My pa-hulle was nooit dit gegun nie. My oupa en my ouma was verskriklike streng mense en daai Titusse se mense net so. Ons het byvoorbeeld, ek het vandag nog byvoorbeeld om te bly, my een oom, my pa se een broer, het op die, die stukkie grond – hulle’t die ou huise mos platgestoot, maar hier is ’n plek gewees waar ons in gedans het, ’n danssaal. Die gron-, die blad lê nog daar, hy lê heelwat diep nou, onder die grond. Maar as hulle nou diep wil maak, dan is hy op die konkreit-blad waar ons gedans het.

En net aan die oorkant, het die een Titus-ou, het hy gebly. En hy het ’n huis gehad met ’n klomp vertrekke, waar hy baie mense gehuisves het. En teen die einde van die dag, om dit alles te kroon, toe’t die munisipaliteit ingekom, en hy het al hierdie huise platgestoot.

Hoekom het hy dit gedoen?

Ons weet tot op die vandag toe nie. Ons het nie ’n sent gekry nie, ons baklei nou, want die huise waarin hulle gebly het, hulle was self gebou. Hulle was nie vergoed nie. Plate en dié goeters, ek kan vir u verseker, dit was in die sewentigerjare. Ja, in die sewentigerjare, sewentigs. Toe’t ons net kennis gekry, ons moet onse huise leegmaak. Ek was, daai tyd het my pa-hulle vir my aansoek gedoen, ek moet hoërskool toe gaan, Wesco (?? 10:46) High. Toe moes ek Wesco High toe gegaan het, maar in dié tyd, toe kom hulle met die bulldozers in, en baie van ons, ons mense se goed, was nie eers toegelaat om uit te haal nie. Jy moet net vat wat jy kry, want hier kom die bulldozer, hy stoot plat.

Nooit was ons vergun, en daai tyd was dit mos baie moeilik, ons kon nie ’n prokureur of iets soos dit bekostig nie, want daar was nie geld nie. Want byvoorbeeld, toe ek beginne werk het, ek het gewerk vir drie … een pond tien soos ons sê. Dit was my tops vir die hele week. My pa-hulle het miskien nou daai tyd gedink, wel my pa, my pa het altyd vir ons gesê, hy’t vir sewe rand beginne werk, toe kry hy sewe rand, as hy nou heeltemal … dit is nou die salaris wat hy kry vir die week.

Maar daar word nie vrae gevra nie. As jy die vrae vra, dan moet jy maar jou goed vat om te loop, anders werk jy, want jy hou vir jou te slim. “Ek hou aanmekaar vir jou dop.” Dit was vir ons gesê. En ek het gewonder, nou, het ons weer aansoek gedoen vir die grondeise, ons het nou grondeise … hierdie, anderkant die pad vanaf – onse huis het mos hiervan af gestaan tot daar by Elbie, aan die agterkant is dit ’n parkie, daar by die parkie, daai parkie het ons geskei van mekaar, want die wit mense mag nie vir ons eintlik gesien het nie. Dis hoe ons gelewe het. Want ons, ons was eintlik dom gewees. Baie van ons mense, soos u tereg sê, ons was … baie van hulle lê onder die sandkombers. Hulle kan nie gepraat het nie, hulle mag nie gepraat het nie, want die magistraat het ook saam met die polisie gewerk. Jy hou jou mond, jy’t niks te sê nie.

So kan ek vir u sê, so lê die geskiedenis, maar tot op hede weet ons nie wat aangaan nie, want hulle het vir ons gebelowe by die grondeise, hulle sal terugkom na ons toe, maar … verlede week het iemand gebel uit die parlement uit dat ons nou – ons het ’n vrou aangestel, Woensdag, om ons grondeise te hanteer. Sy werk in die parlement, sy sal die goed hanteer. Maar nou vra hulle vir ons, wie is die persoon wat aansoek gedoen het, ons moet haar dinges … nou, dit is persoonlike goed. Ek het vir die man gesê, man, ek kan nie daai goed vir haar, by haar kry en sê jy wil dit hê nie. Ek sal jou haar nommer gee, dan bel jy haar en julle twee kan gepraat het. Want sy gaan nie vir haar geheime goed wat sy met werk, vir my gee nie, dat ek dit vir jou moet gee nie, dit werk nie so nie.

So, ons kyk nou maar of ons eendag, maar ek sê, ek sal … ek is nou sewentig, ek raak nou sewentig. Ek sal ook maar bly wees as ons die dag iets kry omdat die mense vir ons sê, goed, daar’s nou iets vir julle, maar ons moet ook wag. Kry ons, kry ons en kry ons nie, moet ons dit ook aanvaar. En soos ek sê, ons het nie daai tyd geld gehad vir ’n lawyer nie. Nou is dit natuurlik heelwat anders en nou is dit ook die mense wat die regte inligting gehad het, is nie meer daar nie.

Oom, sê vir my, wat het Oom-hulle gemaak toe Oom-goed nog jonk gewees het?

Ja. Ons het, ons het nie eintlik iets anders gehad nie, want, soos ek sê, ons moes maar, die ouens wat dit kan bekostig het dat hulle kinders hoërskool toe te stuur, kon dit gedoen het, maar ons, wat nie kon hoërskool toe gegaan het, het maar hier rondgeloop en later maar geleer drink en al daai goete doen, verkeerde goete, baklei en neuk, so het ’n mens maar … die mense van my familie het ook maar so tronk toe gegaan, en dan hoor jy ook maar die man het, die man is dood daar in die tronk. Wat hy oorgekom het, weet jy ook nie, jy kan ook nie … daar’s nie geld om vir navrae nie.

Oom het seker baie stories gehoor by ander mense. Onthou Oom nog ’n paar, soos spookstories, of stories van Wolf en Jakkals, of dié goeters? Kan Oom so een of twee onthou?

Ja, want kyk, my neef – dit is nou jammer hy is nou, hy kan nie meer lank praat nie, hy lewe nog – hy’t baie vir ons vertel. Hy’s weer ’n Titus. Ons het mos … My pa-hulle het net onderkant toe gebly en hulle het mos hier gebly, hier waar my een oom gebly het. Hy het altyd vir ons vertel, hy sê, kyk, hy het mos baie in die lokasie rondgeloop. Nou hier’s baie mense wat mos hier vermoor was en doodgesteek was, en toe’t hy nou eendag vir ons vertel, heh, heh, hy sê, hy was ’n vreeslike bang jongman toe hy nou gebore was. En hy sê, en op daai stadium toe hy nou jongman was, toe’t hy vir iemand gehelp (onhoorbaar 15:57), enne, hy sê toe hy kom hulle op ’n sekere plaas, maar dié plaas het dit verskriklik gespook. Hy sê, onderwyl hy nou moet na die plaas toe ingaan, is daar ’n hek wat hy moet oopmaak. En hy gaan en hy maak die hek oop. En hy gaan in. En toe hulle nou klaar is in die binnekant, die goeters verkoop het en so, hy sê, toe kom hulle nou uit. En toe hy nou by die hek weer kom, toe’s dit ’n doodskis wat daar staan by die hek. En hy sit en wonder, hy’s so verskriklik bang, maar dié man wat by hom is, hy sê: “Man, jy sien verkeerd, ek sien niks nie.”

En hy sê, toe moet hy nou maar gaan en toe hy na die kis toe gaan, toe slee-, toe trek die kis self weg uit die pad uit. Toe sê hy, sê hy nou vir die persoon in die kis, of hy sê sommer vir die kis: “Jissus, man, jy laat my darem groot skrik, man.”

Toe sê die spook vir hom: “Jy praat van skrik, ek het my amper vrek geskrik.”


… nou praat …

Hy sê toe hulle die kis, die hek klaar toegemaak het, toe’s die gedaante ook weg.

Oom, het hulle altyd gepraat van hier by die rivier, mense wat daar is …?

Jong, ja, hulle … Maar dit lyk vir my, in werklikheid is dit so.

Want daar in, soos ek sê, hier by Hexrivier, daar, daar by, in die rivier, daar is ’n gat, ’n sekere gat, maar ek kan vir u verseker, ek en my vrou en die kinders het een Sondag, toe wil ons nou gaan braai. Kom ons nou by die, by die plek waar ons wil – die gat is net so skuins oorkant. En terwyl ek nou vuurmaak, die kinders speel nou daar en swem daar, toe kom die een meisiekind van my, sy’s nou in die stad.

Toe sê sy vir haar ma: “Maar Mamma, ek kan nie verstaan nie, wat gaan nou hier aan?”

En die rivier loop mos daai kant toe af. Toe kom die rivier so van onder af op. Is net takke en stompe en goeters. En ons, ek vlieg sommer met die kinders daarso, ons het sommer van die vleis daar gelos en ons in die kar en kom mos nou verder op, daar na haar niggie, my vrou se niggie toe wat in die Hexrivier bly. Toe sê sy een-, sy weet nie wat dit is nie, maar sy het mos baie moesies in haar gesig. Toe’t daar ’n sekere ding vir haar geja.

Ek vra: “Wat is dit?”

Toe sê sy: “Dit is ’n waterbaas.”

Nou ek weet nie wat is ’n waterbaas nie. In elk geval, maar toe het haar man haar betyds gekry. Toe’t die ding vir haar feitlik in die hand, toe ruk die man, die dinges, vir haar uit, uit die ding se hand uit. En weet jy, net ’n dag daarna, toe gaan die ander kinders weer daar swem. Want daai man het daar weggeraak, daai vrou het daar weggeraak, by die gat.

En toe’t die polisie, hulle het die polisie uitgeroep en toe het daar nou van die seeduikers en goeters gekom. En toe hulle daar kom, toe kry hulle die meisie. Is my suster se, my suster se, se skoonseun se suster, ah, se suster se skoonsuster. Toe’t hy hulle uit die dinges uitgehaal, maar wat hulle toe die dokter agterna agterkom, is dit: sy’t net ’n gaatjie gehad, hierso, hier agter haar rug. Lyk soos bloed wat daar uitgedrup het. Toe’s sy dood.

En twee weke daarna dieselle ding. Dan speel hulle weer daarso, die kinders swem. Toe raak die man ook net weg. Toe vra ek mos nou, die ander oom bly hier bo, toe vra ek nou vir hom, “Nou wat is ’n waterbaas?”

Maar hy sê: “Daai ding wat so kwaai gewees, hy was nie toegelaat nie.” Toe’t hulle weer daai ouens van Lambertsbaai, die seeduikers, gelaat kom.

Nou sê ek vir hom: “Maar, hoe lyk dié ding?”

Hy sê: “Dit lyk, dit lyk … hulle’t so –” Hy’t nader gegaan, maar hulle wou nie gehad het hy moet ingaan nie, want die seeduikers moet hom self. Toe gaan hulle hom. Toe sê hulle, dit lyk soos ’n mens, halfmens, halfvis. Maar hy lyk soos ’n ou man, hy lyk mooi. Sy baard is grys. En toe’t hy vir hom gelos. Toe’t hy dieselle gedoen, die bloed uitgetrek.

En nou, hier drie weke terug, selle ding.

Daar by daai gat.

By daai gat. Toe sê ek, maar dan moet hulle die gat toemaak. Toe sê hulle, hulle kan nie die gat toemaak nie van die loop van die rivier. Toe’t hulle, die een outjie wat nou dood is, toe’t hy en een van die manne ’n quarrel gehad. Want dié man sê vir hom: “Man, luister, julle kan nie vir julle hier kom vrouens vat soos julle wil nie, my suster ken mos nie vir jou nie.”

“Ja, maar jy het niks te doen met wat jou suster sê.”

En weet u, my vrou se niggie het gesê maar wat vir haar snaaks is, toe sê hy vir haar: “Nee, maar dis goed, ons praat weer.”

En die Saterdagmiddag toe gaan dié mannetjie en sy suster, hom suster, en toe’s hy rivier toe. Toe’t hy vir ons gaan wys, haar seun en nog van die ander kinders was by, hy’t nie ingegaan soos ’n mens wat die rivier ingaan, jy loop nie; hy’t so met sy gesig rugkant ingegaan. Hy’t met sy rugkant ingegaan, en toe hy daar reg by die gat kom, toe raak hy net weg. En toe hulle vir hom soek, toe lê hy lank uit.

Toe vra ek vir hom: “Nou hoe lyk dit daarso?”

Die kinders wat nou ingegaan het.

Hulle sê: “Hy worry nie oor jou nie, as hy met jou te doen het, het hy met jou te doen. Maar onder is droë grond en die water is hier bo.”

En ek sê: “Nee, maar ek glo nie dié goed nie.”

Toe sê vir my: “Jy moet hier kom, ek gaan vir jou wys.”

Ek sê: “Nee, maar ek wil iets … ek kan nie in so ’n rivier ingaan nie, want as jy nou daar ingaan, dan kom jy nie lewendig uit nie. Nou hoekom kom julle dan lewendig uit?”

Toe sê hy vir my: “Nee, die rede hoekom ek lewendig bly, my pa is self ’n doekom-drag (?? 22:41). My pa weet hoe om die goeters te ties (?? 22:44).”

Toe sê ek: “Nee, wag, wag. Ek is jammer, maar jy moenie vir jou pa sê ek het vir jou gevra nie, want ek hou nie van sulke goed nie.”

Ek glo nie in die goed nie, maar ek sal nie gaan seker maak nie. Doodseker maak nie. Daar onder. Nou, dit is almal die goedjies wat, wat jy hoor, maar ek weet, ek kan nou met ’n feit sê, ek het myself gehoor by sy familie wat gebeur het daar, want soos ek sê, hy’t snaaks ingekom. Hy’t nie ingestap nie. Hy’s terug met jou rugkant loop. Toe hy by daai gaat kom, toe raak hy net weg en toe hulle hom gaan uithaal, toe’s hy dood. Daar’s niks bloed in hom nie. Kyk, die Bybel praat van dié goete, maar soos ek sê, daar’s goed wat mens swaar aanvat, want jy kan nie, dit kan nie vir jou reg klink nie, dit klink nie reg nie.

Nou sê ek, en van daai tyd af is ek so bang vir die rivier. Ek was baie lief vir swem, maar deesdae is ek nie meer lief vir swem nie. Kry maar liewers warm, sit die aircon aan, alhoewel is dit nou baie krag, maar ek gaan nie rivier toe nie. Hier het al te veel goed hier gebeur. Kinders raak net weg en dan weet jy nie wat gaan aan nie. Maar soos ek sê, hier tussen ons is baie fortuinvertellers en goeters. Maar deesdae wil dit amper lyk jy moet glo aan die goed, maar dié manne het my so gesê en dit kom dan nou so.

En ons mense, die vrou se neef, of se niggie se dogter se seun, het nou ook hier in verlede jaar, nie verlede jaar nie, die vorige jaar – hulle was in ’n, gaan visvang en daar op ’n bootjie hier by die dam, en toe hulle, nou roei hulle, nou ’n paar visse gevang. Hy sê toe sink die skuitjie van hom, gaan hy ondertoe. Hulle’t nie weer vir hom gesien nie. Toe hulle vir hom uitduik, uit kom duik, seker na so twee, drie dae, toe’s hy dood. Ek vra, maar wat is verkeerd?

Toe sê dié oom, want soos ek sê, die ou is ook ’n fortuinverteller, maar hy dra ook paljas soos hulle die mense beweer, toe sê die ou wat hulle moes gedoen het. Nou, jy weet mos nou nie daai tyd wat … nou in die nood.

Wat sê hy, wat moes hulle gedoen het?

Hulle sê, hy sê, hulle moet die … daar waar hy ingegaan het, hy, moet hy gebetaal het, hy moet geld ingegooi het. Nou wat weet jy van geld, jy’t nie daai tyd geld by jou nie. Maar hulle sê jy moet los geld ingooi. Kan nie papiergeld, gaan hy nou mos stukkend. Hulle het dié mannetjie begrawe. Ek sê nee, ek, dit gaan nie doen nie. Maar ek wil ook nie self probeer nie. Nee, los maar vir my.

Nou, al sulke dinge gebeur hierso. Maar soos ek sê ons het baie mooi grootgeword. Al probleem wat ons met ons gehad het, ons met die ouers gehad het, ons was nooit bekend gestel aan ons familie nie. Dit is net so jammer, want dit lyk jy wil nie jou familie ken nie. Maar ongelukkig, ons weet nie, soos Elbie, byvoorbeeld, Elbie weet nie ons is ook familie nie. Nou, Elbie se ma was my ma, een van ma se broers se kinders. Maar ons was nooit toegelaat om daai goed te hoor nie. Hulle’t daai goed maar vir geheim gehou. So jy moet ook maar raai en sien, en jy het sommer daai aanvoeling, jy voel aan, maar dit is nie ver van my af nie. Dis my familie dié. Nou, somtyds weet mens waarom, omdat ons mos nie, ons het nie openlik gesê, jy hoor maar agterna, by ander mense. Nou moet jy ook so versigtig wees, jy moet weet wat jy praat deesdae, want die mense is deesdae so, jy kan, as jy ’n ding nie kan bevestig nie, gaan die man met jou hof toe. Nou weet jy nie dié klas goeters nie, dan bly jy maar liewers stil. En so.