Down here in the Deep South, 27 April 2012 dawned with, a nip in the air, a slight breeze blowing and the sun struggling to break through the clouds lurking just above the surrounding mountains,…..Indicative of the state of the nation after 18 years of democracy?

 My day started with my customary walk along Fish Hoek beach with my two faithful four-legged friends. The sun was bravely pushing through the clouds as I strolled along, in contemplative mood, ankle-deep in a calm sea with thoughts appropriate for this important day. By the time I had completed my walk to Clovelly corner and back, I had recalled sad memories of inhumane incidents I witnessed as a young child, and a questioning, rebellious youth, in which I was determined to take a stand against the evils of an immoral political system. I silently, joyfully thanked God for the freedom we now enjoy and that my children and grandchildren can live in a society free of the shackles of apartheid. My thoughts were only interrupted by the obligatory pauses to “pick up” after my four-legged “friends”! Little did I realise that I was soon to be engrossed in another freedom struggle to preserve the safety of my family!

 In the garden after breakfast, my olfactory senses led me to one of the drain covers which appeared to be the source of the offensive smell which permeated the entire plot. On lifting the drain cover, I was knocked back by the sight and smell of human waste accumulated from the kitchen sink, washing machine, bathroom and two toilets! There is an unwritten law that specifies that our drains will block up only on weekends or public holidays! Now here, on this, of all days, I was faced with an enemy which threatened to spill over into the garden, endangering the safety of my family and making us the pariah of the neighbourhood.

Freedom Day, and I had a real new fight on my hands!

 Thank heavens our comrades at Central Tool Hire were on duty and could provide the necessary weapons to fight the good fight and free my home and loved ones of this scourge of human waste. Armed with the set of hired draining rods, I donned my oldest clothes, steeled my senses and went in to battle against this vile enemy. Because of the very nature of the task, it had to be undertaken alone so that no one else could possibly be infected by this suppurating, ghoulish mess. Considering the curses I cast freely and frequently on my enemy, it was just as well I fought alone. This verbal onslaught was performed in at least two of the official languages, to ensure that the message was well and truly understood by whoever was listening. It was a really tough battle forcing the draining rods through the convolutions of the old porcelain drainpipes of my 60 year old property. I persisted gallantly, self assured that I was in pursuit of a just and noble cause and must surely then have some Higher Power on my side! Eventually, after all the grunting and groaning, cursing and swearing, silent prayers and desperate calls for help to Him above, the enemy was overcome and, with a gurgling, popping sound, the offensive mess drained away.

 I stood back and justifiably cried,…. ”Free at last! Oh Lord! Free at last!”

 Ek sê maar net!

 Gary S Black   

28 April 2012

For a poignant article about the memories to which Gary refers  see