Ouma Maria en Oupa Frans Fredericks

Translation of Transcription of a recorded interview with Ouma Maria Fredericks and Oupa Frans Fredericks, conducted by Martin Mössmer, with Oupa Niklaas (Poon) van Rooy
Location: Breipaal, Douglas, Northern Cape
Date: 10 September 2018

MF= Ouma Maria Fredericks
FF= Oupa Frans Fredericks
NvR= Oupa Niklaas (Poon) van Rooy
MM= Martin Mössmer

NvR Yes. Now that is what it is about.
MF Yes
NvR Yes. It’s not about money, antie, or anything
MF Mmm, yes
NvR We just want to our culture to be lifted up
MF That’s true, it is
NvR We have to get through it
MF Yes
FF Yes
NvR Yes, through here. What is your [MF] name?
MF Maria
NvR Maria
MM Maria Fredericks?
MF Thank you
NvR Yes
MM And oupa Frans Fredericks?
MF Thank you, sir
NvR Yes
MM It’s the tenth of September, we are in Breipaal, we’re doing a recording now, just about the history of ouma and oupa Fredericks, and your lives and so on. And do I have your permission to make this recording? Is it alright?
MF Yes
MM OK, thank you. And that we can use it to improve our understanding and so on at the university, and that we can also give back to the community, to bring things together in one place
FF Yes
MF You must just remember this, we can’t remember so well
MM No, don’t worry, whatever you remember is fine
NvR Yes, yes. No, it’s OK. Antie must just talk about what we were just talking about now, that, talk about when you were an initiate, and then perhaps you’ll tell us where you all lived, where you worked, and so on. But, how you became a young woman at your mother’s house, and the elders taking you to the river, taking you to the water
MF Yes
NvR We must [hear] that, yes. That’s basically it
MF Yes
FF Yes
MM You [MF] can tell us. You were talking earlier about the waterslang
NvR Yes, yes
MF Yes, and then we took one woman from here, then one morning early we came there to the water, and the woman also had knowledge of the waterslang, and the woman [clapping her hands] can’t come out of the water, the woman can’t wa… the woman falls into the water, but then she said that the snake went left below and around us, otherwise the snake would have taken all of us, taken her there, then the woman came out of the water, then she came [makes tutting/whistling sound] and told us the story of how she saw the waterslang in the water. And we also know this Jan Lekkernaam, he has knowledge of the waterslang, too. There are also many who have seen the waterslang. And we were living there at doctor Nel’s place, and uh, my old-man [i.e. older male relation, such as an uncle] – is it my old-man? – yes, it is my old-man, he went to the river, and then the water came down [i.e. flood waters], then he went to the river. When the old-man came to the river he saw this thing standing upright, it was the snake, but then Oom Erik was far away from the snake, then it also lifted its head up like this, and it had the head of a horse, then Oom Erik bolted through the trees there, out of the water and up over the riverbank, then there came a wind, then there came a wind but then Oom Erik was away from the wind. And there really is such a thing [as the waterslang], oudster [lit. ‘oldest’, perhaps a reference to a church elder or an oldest child]
NvR Yes, there is, yes
MF There is such a thing
NvR Yes, it is there
MF There is such a thing. And otherwise oudster we’ve just kept practicing the hokmeisie and those things, until now, people still go down to the river with the young people. And it’s a very good thing to come out of the river, to be made jongmeisies [initiated young women]. We simply do it because that snake is, just do it because that snake exists. There are many people who had knowledge of that snake, many people who had knowledge of that snake. That’s the only little bit I can tell you
MM Mmm, no it’s… And, where were you [MF] born?
MF Meneer, I was born in Griquatown
MM Griquatown?
MF Mmm
MM OK. And did you live there long?
MF I didn’t live there long… But then we moved around, we came from Griquatown, then I came and met this old man [FF] here in Douglas. He’s a native of Douglas, not really Douglas, we lived at what’s-its-name…
NvR In Bucklands
MF In Bucklands, yes
MM Bucklands, OK
MF He’s a native of Bucklands
MM And how long did you live there in Bucklands for?
MF No, we lived there a long time, about…
NvR They were pensioned off there
MF Pensioned off there.
MM OK. So only recently moved to Breipaal?
MF Yes, when we were pensioned off we mover here to Breipaal
MM And, uh, what is your maiden name?
MF My maiden name is Smit
MM Smit
MF Yes, meneer
MM And your parents were also from Griekwastad?
MF Yes, meneer
MM OK. And what did they do there?
MF Meneer, now and then they worked in the fields, now and then at shepherding, and so on. But they didn’t work that much and so on, just a bit of work every now and then, a bit of work every now and then
MM And yourself?
MF I also did a bit of kitchen work, and then came to work here in Bucklands, then we did vineyard work. Pruned the vines, harvested the grapes and so on. That was my last work.
MM And why did you leave Bucklands?
MF Meneer, it’s because of the poor health of the old man [FF]. He had his first stroke there, then he had his second stroke there as well, then he had his third stroke here at, here in Breipaal. From then on he was an old man, the strokes had broken and weakened him. That’s why we moved from there
MM And Oupa Frans? Were you born in Bucklands?
FF Yes. I was born in Bucklands.
MM And your mother and father too?
FF No, my mother wasn’t…
MF When he was born his mother had already died
FF Yes
MF [inaudible]
FF So, I don’t know about them, where they were born. My father was a, he was from, and my grandfather father were from Fonteintjie [near Schmidtsdrift]
NvR From this Fonteintjie?
MF I think so
FF Yes
NvR See, there’s a spring [fontein], if you go from here to what’s-its-name, uh
MM Campbell?
NvR No, what is the place’s name? Schmidtsdrift
MM Mmm
NvR Here’s Schmidtsdrift, and here is Fonteintjie
NvR There’s a little village, something like a village
NvR Yes, there
MM Is it there that your [FF] father is from?
FF My father came from there, Fonteintjie, and then he came and had us here but, [inaudible] Well then
MF And his father had grown children before him, already before him meneer, when he was born here in Bucklands, his father alredy had grown children by then
MM OK. Why did they leave from Fonteintjie?
MF I don’t know
MM Do you not know, no
MF I don’t know, meneer
MM Mmm. Do you know, oupa?
FF No, I wouldn’t know why
MM And so, when you lived in Bucklands did you also work in the fields and that?
MF Yes, meneer
NvR Irrigation, all that sort of stuff
MF Oh! Water, just water, water
NvR Every Saturday
MF Every day, at night too
NvR From that day, from the Saturday we had to work until ten o’clock [at night]
MF Now, then it was, in those years he [i.e. the farmer] had lots of vineyards
NvR Yes
MF Back then you had to get up in the night and spray them with that thing that goes like this and wet the things, it goes like this sprays out so that the things get wet, oh! Ouma worked, oudster!
NvR She really worked!
MF She worked, oudster, joh! Midnight!
NvR Nights
MF Nights
NvR Days, yes
MF Water…
NvR Now our bodies are giving in
MF Giving in, oudster, we have to give in
NvR Now to speak truly, if he [FF] had, if he hadn’t had the strokes, chief, then he would have told us the same as what she [MF] just said, and then it was his uncle, the other one, the were working in the irrigation canal, they were working, they were hoeing the ditches, then his uncle went down to the river, and he was still up at the top, and when his uncle went down that’s when it happened, and he stood upright, and as the old man went down he looked and saw but, heeey! What’s this?! Then the old man run up all the way from the bottom [of the riverbank], and he says, he says, then he asked his uncle, “What is it?!” But the uncle’s eyes were this big from fright
MF Yes
MM Was it the waterslang?
MF Yes
NvR But he told it in such a funny way, it was at the memorial service that he told this bit of history, but d’you know it was so comical to us
MF Yes, oudster!
NvR They also asked one another, “Jong! What is it now? Uncle, what is it?!” The uncle’s eyes were just wide open like this, and he didn’t have a word
MF Indeed, oudster, you’re telling it right, it was the uncle, oupa Ê, he’d seen the thing
NvR Yes
MF Ha! You’re right! I’ve just remembered, my oudster! Ai, goodness.
NvR But he told it so comically, look here, meester, when he told that story, if he tells it to you then you just have to laugh, it was too funny. He said that his uncle’s eyes were just as big as this!
Then the others asked, “Hey man! What is it, oom?” The uncle didn’t say a word. Those bushes [by the river], before his uncle came through them the bushes were [dense] like this, and then his uncle came right through them, but he says that when he came up, he ran through those bushes like they were wide open!
It’s very said pa if, meester, if you talk about your history, and it was just the strokes that took it all away, just like that
MF He would have remembered a lot
NvR It took away his speech, really
MF Mmm
NvR He would have told it beautifully, and told it to you. Now we can just tell it to you this way. Now, what’s really wrong with him is the stroke
MM Yes, it is, it’s hard. I understand
NvR Oh, goodness
MF Yes, oudster
NvR They were good days, they were pressured days, but we pushed through
MM So you [MF] were there in Bucklands during all the Apartheid years?
FF Yes
MM Is that right?
MF Yes, meneer
MM OK. Would you [MF] to tell me anything, or any other stories?
MF No, meneer, I can, I can’t now, it’s all… is that alright?
MM No, that’s fine. We can stop.
MF Thank you, thank you very much


Transcription of a recorded interview with Ouma Maria Fredericks and Oupa Frans Fredericks, conducted by Martin Mössmer, with Oupa Niklaas (Poon) van Rooy
Location: Breipaal, Douglas, Northern Cape
Date: 10 September 2018

MF = Ouma Maria Fredericks
FF = Oupa Frans Fredericks
NvR = Oupa Niklaas (Poon) van Rooy
MM = Martin Mössmer

NvR Ja. Nou dit is waaroor hy gaan.
NvR Ja. Dis’ie geld’ie, antie, of wat’ie
MF Mmm, ja
NvR O’s wil net onse kultuur laat optel
MF Dis waar, is dit
NvR Ons moet hier deurkom
NvR Ja, hier deur. Wat is antie se naam?
MF Maria
NvR Maria
MM Maria Fredericks?
MF Dankie
NvR Ja
MM En Oupa Frans Fredericks?
MF Dankie, meneer
NvR Ja
MM Dis die tiende September, ons is op Breipaal, ons doen nou ‘n opname, net oor die geskiedenis van ouma en oupa Fredericks, en hulle lewens en so. En ek het ouma se toestemming om die opname te maak? Is dit reg so?
MM Oukei, dankie. En dat ons dit dan kan gebruik om beter te verstaan en so by die universiteit, en dat ons ook vir die gemeenskap kan teruggee, en help om alles so bymekaar te bring
MF Jy moet onthou net dit tog, ons kannie so mooi onthou nie
MM Nee, moenie bekommer nie, wat ook al ouma onthou is reg
NvR Ja, ja. Nee, dis oukei. Antie moet net dit soos wat antie nou hier gepraat het, nou, daar, daai, dit opbring, toe’t antie djongmeisie gewees’et, en dan partyd sal antie nou sê waar’t antie-goed gebly, en waar’t antie-goed gewerk, en so aan. Maar, soos antie nou by u ma se huis djongmeisie kom geword het, laat die ouerse vir ma na die ǀimmi [sic ǁ‘ammi ‘water’] toe gevat het, water toe gevat het
NvR O’s moet daai, ja. Dis maar basies dit
MM Ouma kan maar vertel. Ouma het nounou gepraat oor die waterslang
NvR Ja, ja
MF Ja, en toe vat ons een vrou hier toe van, toe kom ons een vroe-môre mos daar by die water, en die vrou het o’k kennis van die waterslang o’k, en die vrou [clapping her hands] kannie die uit die water uit kom nie, die vrou kannie wa-, die vrou val in die water in, maar toe sê hy toe die slang onder ‘n links om gegaan, anders het die slang vir ons almal, vir hom daar gevat, toe kom die vrou uit die water uit, toe kom [makes tutting/whistling sound] vertel hy ons van die storie toe hy die waterslang gesien het in die water in. En o’s ken o’k mos die Jan Lekkernaam, hy’t o’k kennis o’k van die waterslang o’k. Daar’s banja wat die waterslang al gesien het o’k. En o’s bly hierso by dokter Nel se plek, en uh, my ou-man – is dit my ou-man? – ja, dis my ou-man, hy gaan rivier toe, en toe’t die water mos nou deurgekom, toe gaa’t die ou-man rivier toe. Toe die ou-man by die rivier kom toe sien hy hier’ie ding wat so regop staan, toe’s’it die slang, maar toe’s Oom Erik vêr van die slang af, toe tel hy o’k sy kop so op gelig, toe’t hy o’k ‘n pêrekop so aan, toe hol Oom Erik daar deur die bome, daar uit die water uit die wal uit, toe kom daar ‘n wind, toe kom daar ‘n wind maar toe’s Oom Erik weg van die wind af. En daar is rerig so ‘n ding, oudster
NvR Ja, daar is, ja
MF Daar ìs so ‘n ding
NvR Ja, hy ìs daar
MF Daar is so ‘n ding. En verder oudster het ons maar nou maar die hokmeisies en goed is maar so gewardeer en so aan, tot nou toe, mense gaan nog nou aan met die jongmense nog af rivier toe. En dis baie mooi om uit die rivier te kom, om jongmeisies gemaak word. Ons maak maar net so want daai slang ìs, maak maar net so want daai slang ìs. Daar’s baie mense wat kennis hat van daai slang, baie mense wat kennis hat van daai slang. Dis al bietjie wat kan vir meneer kan sê
MM Mmm, nee dis… En, waar’s ouma gebore?
MF Meneer, ek is in Griek’stad gebore
MM Griekwastad?
MF Mmm
MM Oukei. En het ouma lank daar gewoon?
MF Ek het’ie baie lank gewoon… Maar toe kom trek o’s, kom o’s Griek’stad af, toe kom ontmoet ek vir die ou man hier in Douglas in. Hy’s h’n boorling van Douglas, o’k’ie van Douglas’ie, ons mos in dinges gebly…
NvR In Bucklands
MF In Bucklands, ja
MM Bucklands, oukei
MF Hy’s ‘n boorling van Bucklands
MM En hoe lank het julle daar gebly daar op Bucklands?
MF Nee, o’s het baie lank daar gebly, so…
NvR Hulle’t afge-‘pension’ daar
MF Afge-‘pension’ daar.
MM Oukei. So eers onlangs hiernatoe getrek Briepaal toe?
MF Ja toe ons afgepension word toe trek ons hier Breipaal toe
MM En, uh, wat is ouma se nooiensvan?
MF My nooiensvan is Smit
MM Smit
MF Ja, meneer
MM En ouma se ouers was ook van Griekwastad?
MF Ja, meneer
MM Oukei. En wat het hulle daar gemaak?
MF Meneer, nou en dan was hulle so in die lande, nou en dan so by skape oppas, en so aan. Maar hulle’t’ie so baie gewerk en so aan nie, net nou en dan bietjie werk daar, nou en dan bietjie werk daar
MM En ouma self?
MF Ek het o’k maar kombuiswerkies gedoen, en hier in Bucklands toe kom maak, toe doen o’s nou druiwewerk. So druiwe gesny, druiwe afge-oes en so aan. Dit was my laaste werk gewees.
MM En hoekom is ouma-hulle weg van Bucklands?
MF Meneer, dis van die sieklikeid van die ou man. Sy eerste ‘stroke’ het hy daar gekry, toe kry hy die tweede ‘stroke’ o’k daar, toe kom kry hy die derde ‘stroke’ hier by die, hierso na Breipaal in. Toe’s’it daarvan af ou man nou, toe is’it die ‘stroke’ het’om bietjie ingebreek. Dis hoekom o’s daarvan af getrek het
MM En oupa Frans? Is oupa Frans gebore in Bucklands?
FF Ja. Ek’s gebore in Bucklands.
MM En oupa se ma en pa ook?
FF Nee, die ma is nie…
MF Toe’t hy bore toe’s sy ma lankal gesterwe
MM Oukei
MF [inaudible]
FF So, ek weet nou nie van hulle, waar hy gebore het nie. My pa’s ‘n, was nou van, en my oupa was op Fontientjie af wees
NvR Op hie’die Fonteitjie?
MF Ek dink so
NvR Sien, hier’s ‘n fontein, as jy mos nou hier na dinges toe gaan, uh
MM Campbell?
NvR Nee, wat is die plek se naam tog? Smitsdrif
MM Mmm
NvR Hier’s Smitsdrif, hier sit Fonteintjie hierso
MM Oukei
NvR Daar’s mos o’k so ‘n klein dorpietjie, so iets soos ‘n dorpietjie
MM Oukei
NvR Ja, daar
MM Is dit daar kom oupa se pa vandaan?
FF My pa kom o’k van daar van Fonteintjie af, en toe het hy ons by hier kom gekry maar, [inaudible] Nou ja
MF En sy pa’t al grootkinders voor hom, voor haar gehad meneer, toe kom boor hy hier in Bucklands in, toe’t sy pa al grootkinders gehad
MM Oukei. Hoekom is hulle weg daar van die Fonteintjie af?
MF Ek weet’ie
MM Weet jy nie, nee
MF Ek weetie meneer
MM Mmm. Weet oupa?
FF Nee, ek sal’ie weet nie
MM En so, toe julle op Bucklands gewoon het het julle ook op’ie lande gewerk en so?
MF Ja, meneer
NvR Waterse gely, en al daai tiepe goeterse
MF Oe! Water, te water, water…
NvR Elke Saterdag
MF Elke dag, nag o’k
NvR Van daai dag af, van die Saterdag moet o’s werk tot tien-uur toe
MF Nou, toe’s hy nou die, hy’t mos daai jare mos baie druiwelande gehat.
NvR Ja
MF Outyd dan moet hy ounag opstaan en vir hulle spuit met daai ding dat die gat so uitspring en die goete nat se dinges, die gat so uitspuit dat die goete nat se dinges, oe! Ouma het gewerk, oudster!
NvR Hy’t rerig gewerk!
MF Hy’t gewerk oudster, jô! Ounag!
NvR Nagte
MF Nagte
NvR Dae, ja
MF Water…
NvR Nou moet onse ligaamse intjee
MF Intjee, oudster, ons moet intjee
NvR Nou daar ‘intlik hy, as hy dan nou, as hy nie die stroke gekry’t’ie chief, dan sal hy nou vir ons daai dit o’k geverhaal het wat ma o’k nou gesê het, en toe’s’it sy oom, dieander eene, hulle werk in’ie kanaal, hulle werk, hulle skoffel die vore, toe gaan die oom nou af rivier toe, en hy’s hier bo, en toe’s’ie oom nou afgaan toe’s die ding nou, toe staan hy nou regop, en toe’s’ie ouman afgaan wat hy so kyk toe sien hy maar maar, heey! Wat is die?! Toe hardloop’ie ouman daar van onder af, en hy sê, hy sê, toe vra hy vir sy oom, “Wat is dit?!” Toe’s die oom se oë is nét so groot
MM Was dit die waterslang?
NvR Maar hy bring hom so snaaks, dis op die huldeblyk wat die oom nou daai geskiedenis bring, maar weet u toe’s daai rerig vir ons baie koddig
MF Ja, oudster!
NvR Hulle vra ò’k vir mekaar, “Jong! Wat is dit nou? Oom, wat is dit?!” Die oom se oë staan so, die oom het’ie woord’ie
MF Nee, oudster, jy praat die ding nou reg, dit was die oom, oupa Ê, hy’t die ding mos gesien
NvR Ja
MF Ha! Jy praat reg! Nou vang nou eers, my oudster! Ai, jitte.
NvR Maar hy’t hom so koddig gebring, kyk hier meester, as hy daai geskiedenis bring, as hy hom vir jou bring dan moet jy maar net lag, dis te koddig. Hy sê met die oom se, sy oom se oë is net so groot!
Nou vra hulle die anderse, “Hey jong! Wat is’it oom?” Die oom praat’ie. Hy sê daai bos, as’ie oom deur’ie bosse gaan hulle staan mos nou so, toe gaan die oom mooi deur, maar hy sê toe sy van onder af kom, toe hard hy met daai ding oop!
Dis baie harstseer pa as, meester, as jy praat van jou geskiedenis, en dis nou net die stroke-e wat hom net so gevat het daai ding
MF Hy sal baie geweet het
NvR Hy’t sy sprake weggevat, rerig
MF Mmm
NvR Hy sal vir u dit mooi gebring het, en vir u gesê’t dit. Nou o’s bring hom maar nou net so vir u, net so. Nou dis is nou eintlik wat hy nou in loop verkeer, dis’ie stroke
MM Nee, dit is, dis swaar. Ek verstaan.
NvR Ai jinne.
MF Ja, oudster.
NvR Dit was goeie dae, dit was druk-dae gewees, maar o’s het deurgedruk
MM So ouma-hulle was daar in die Apartheidsjare die hele tyd op Bucklands?
MM Is dit reg?
MF Ja, meneer
MM Oukei. Wil ouma nog enige iets vertel, of enige ou stories
MF Nee, meneer, ek kan, ek kan nou nie, als is…is dit reg?
MM Nee, dis oukei. Ons kan maar stop.
MF Dankie, baie dankie