Saturday, 28 April 2012

Die Taal


Oupa was an Afrikaner. Didn't trust the Rooinekke. My father, from Stoke-on-Trent, went to the farm many times to ask for my mother's hand.
Oupa pretended not to understand.
When I was little I loved hearing my mother speak her language. My father tried to learn. The guttural sounds stuck in his throat. We laughed at him.
At University I was careful to hide my background. I was ashamed of being an Afrikaner. Rebellion resulted in my eventual exile. In exile I learnt a new way of speaking to avoid painful questions. To avoid having to defend and deny. Now, when I go home, my nephew mocks my Afrikaans. I sound too English. Why do I want to speak it anyway?
 But my sister gave me a book called 'Koekemakranke' in Afrikaans. And when my grandson and I are alone I speak Afrikaans to him.
Yesterday I was stopped in my tracks by my daughter singing in her bedroom. She was singing a song by The Parlotones. Fluently. In Afrikaans.