Just a story

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gmlsmit
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Re: JUST A STORY

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The ways of . . . . . Part 10.

Eventually the WNLA people came and Tinyiko joined them, He was sad to leave the Village and his friends, he was really sad when he went to greet his sister where she and her friend were making clay pots in the shade of the hut they now shared.

Nyeleti came to him and gave him a little parcel and told him that it was from Amukelani, she said that it was her wish that he wears it as it will keep him safe and also let him return one day.

Tinyiko moved aside and opened the little parcel, inside it was a leather thong tied to a little bag, inside was a bright blue stone about the size of a quail’s egg. Tinyiko had seen of these stones on the day he helped his sister and her friend fetch the water from the river bed. He felt his chest swell with pride as he hung his little gift around his neck and he also suspected that he was being carefully watched by his sister and her friend.

The WNLA people and the recruits marched for five days through bush along the IliMhpopo River until the came to another smaller river called the Levhuvu, here were some people carrying rifles and trading at the shops, everyone seemed to be in such a hurry.

They trekked along for another day, that evening sleeping around a big Baobab tree growing on a hill with many smaller ones more towards where the sun was setting. That evening they heard the roar of King Ngala and also the call of Mangawana. They saw plenty of Mhala and even once a strange looking cat with long legs and spots on its lighter had – Ndloti.

Tinyiko thought it would be a good idea if he could hunt a Mhala as he was skilled but was told that that would just cause big trouble as Siafa would not like this and if he found out, this would cause big trouble. Tinyiko asked who Siafa was and was told that he was the big boss of the Singwetsi and Shangoni, he was clever man who could build big strong dams and dug many wells for water, and Tinyiko found this very strange as Siafa is what people said when they were very tired from work, he asked whether this man was very tired and was told no, he should go and work for Siafa and he would soon also say siafa.

Eventually the group arrived at Soekmekaar and Tinyiko saw little cars making a lot of noise and riding in the dusty streets, he saw stores and many people all seemed in such a hurry. Eventually they got to the station where he saw the iron tracks and then he heard to big noise and saw a lot of smoke and steam, he new that the train was approaching.

With great anxiety he watched this big black monster pass and then saw the wagons with their windows it stopped with a hissing and squeaking sound. They were told to get on board and soon there was a whistle followed by a jerk and then he felt slow movement. Tinyiko sat wide eyed at the window looking at the countryside that was so much different from that there on the banks of the Wanetsi.

It grew dark outside but the inside was still like daylight, this train even had a place where you go and relieve yourself, he heard the others call it the toilet. There was even hot and cold water coming from a shining pipe, all you had to do was press on a little shiny knob and the water flowed amazing thing this train.

Late the following afternoon they saw many more trains and cars and people and lorries and many other things, everyone seemed in such a hurry – he was told the name of the place Egoli.

They got out of the train and onto lorries, Tinyiko was amazed that the lorries could go without being hauled by oxen or donkeys. They just made a noise and moved on. A little while later they arrived at a place where there were many men sitting and standing and laughing and eating and talking a strange language, he understood a few words but was very confused. He enquired about the strange language and was told it was Fanagalo – the language of the mine.

He even noticed some young women standing around where the men were congregated at a place with the familiar smell of beer.

The lights were burning shining a yellow glow.

A big very important looking black man arrived and told them to keep quiet and listen to him. He was their Induna, their custodian, their father; he would look after them and teach them the rules and the language. He would see that they were trained to do the job and if they had problems they could discuss them with him. They were also supposed to respect and obey him. He took them to their quarters in the compound, upon arrival he told the newcomers to take the brooms and sweep the floors and clean the disgustingly filthy place.

Tinyiko could not understand how the Induna could allow the women to not keep this place tidy as Hikatekile and the other women would at the Village on the banks of the now far away Wanetsi.

That evening there was a never ending noise it was laughter and shouting and a strange rumbling sound, resulting in very little sleep.

Early next morning the Induna called them and took them to the food hall where they stood in queues for their food dished up by men, how different from the Village at the Wanetsi.

After eating the Induna took them to hall where he warned them about thieves and prostitutes and all the evil things they knew nothing about. He also started teaching them Fanagalo.

Getting back to their quarters some men were very angry to find that of their possessions had been stolen – the thieves the Induna had warned them of. Tinyiko was pleased that the little he had was still untouched in his cupboard; he was pleased that his prized possession was still hanging around his neck.

Soon they would hear a lot of talking outside and as he looked through his window he saw some tired looking men pass by.
Last edited by gmlsmit on Fri Jul 31, 2009 8:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: JUST A STORY

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The ways of . . . . . Part 11.



The following morning after breakfast the Induna rounded up the new workers and told them in Fanagalo that he is taking them to the store where they would be issued with overalls and boots.

Tinyiko found these clothes very strange and the other recruits looked even stranger, the men from the dusty plains now dressed up like this . . . . .

The strange looking lot was taken to an area where the Induna started telling and showing them what it is like underground. He told them that the gold bearing rocks are blasted using dynamite and then loaded onto coco pans that convey them up the skip to the crusher and then the crushed gold bearing ore is sent to a refinery where it is processed using dangerous chemicals and then smelted and cast into ingots. The ingots are then locked up in a vault where they are heavily guarded.

They were told of the heat underground. They were taught the meaning of the different sirens, this all sounded quite OK to them but this going underground seemed quite a challenge.

They were told about the underground boss boy and the shift boss and the mine captain.

Then the great day arrived, the Induna took the new recruits to the shaft, where everyone seemed very busy. A siren went and the big overhead wheels high up started turning, there was a lot of clanking and other noises, all of a sudden two wide doors opened and a lot of dirty dusty sweaty men came out. They were told to get into the cage, they wide eyed looked at one another – cages are for animals – then in they went as the Induna had spoken. The gates shut and a very important looking man told them to keep quiet and stand still.

All of a sudden there was a whining sound and Tinyiko felt his stomach turn as the floor seemed to give way under his feet. There was a faint glow of light and no one made a sound, Tinyiko felt his ears pop as the cage sped along on its downwards journey. Then there was siren and the cage seemed to go slower and then come to an abrupt halt. Two outside steel doors opened and then the mesh of the cage doors also opened. It was hot and drafty and dark the important looking man told them to get out and light their lamps and to follow him, he also told them that no smoking was aloud underground and if he should find anyone breaking this rule, he would personally donner him.

They walked and walked and walked and then the important looking man told them that he is their shift boss boy, he would show them what to do and then had to get stuck in. The boss boy gave them shovels and pointed to a heap of rocks and told them to start loading the rocks into the little wagons. In the distance they could hear a rumbling and many other noises.

The rocks were heavy and soon their jackets were removed and Tinyiko saw the sweaty bodies in the faint lamp light and the yellow glow of electric lights. Soon they were tiring and the boss boy asked then who they think is going to clear these rocks if they are just standing around. They got stuck in; the coco pans were filled and moved off, just to be replaced by empty ones. Tinyiko was quite disappointed he thought gold was a yellow metal but all he saw was rocks and no gold and plenty of dust.

Eventually he heard a distant siren and a little while later some men appeared from some tunnels all sweaty and fit and lean looking, covered in dust. Now it was quiet, the boss boy told them that they were useless and had to come with him. They followed the other men. There was a clanking and rumbling and creaking sound and the doors opened and the first lot of men got into the cage, the doors shut and the noise again continued, the recruits stood around and waited.

A little while later after the repeated noise the doors opened and they were told to get in or stay behind, all bundled in. The doors clanked shut and Tinyiko felt his stomach turn, his ears popped and everything came to an abrupt halt, the doors opened and everyone was blinded by the bright sunlight.

Outside men were waiting, Tinyiko heard a huge rumbling and saw dust coming from the ventilation shafts, the boss boy told them that the blasting had been done and the night shift would soon be going down. He also told them that they should now go and wash themselves and go to the store to draw their scafftiens – no one knew what he was talking about. As a parting farewell they were told not be late.

The sweaty dusty tired bedraggled lot set off to their accommodation which they now knew as a compound; here the Induna told them to wash and come to draw their scafftiens. They did as fast their tired aching hungry bodies would allow them.

At the store they were each issued with a scafftiens – a little steel suit case – they asked the Induna what this was for and were told that as from the following day they were to get food from the kitchen to have at lunch time – the food was to be kept in the scafftiens – their lunch boxes.

That evening was short and the hard mattresses were soft, all too soon the Induna called them to get up and get dressed and go and eat and not to forget their scafftiens.
Their bodies aching and stiff they had their breakfast, they could hardly handle their spoons as their fingers were stiff and blistery . . . . .

At the shaft the boss boy glared at them as he called the roll, he also told them that they were the most useless bunch of people he had ever come across, he asked for men and now he got this lot.

The large wheels stop running and the doors opened, they were bundled in and on their way down into the bowels of Egoli with their ears popping and their stomachs turning.

They walked into the poorly lit tunnels and again heard the drills clattering away and again some more rocks and dust and empty coco pans and shovels and still no gold.

The stiffness and the blisters and the aches seemed to be forgotten as the boss boy glared at them and asked what they were waiting for, indicating to the rocks and empty coco pans and shovels.

It was hot and dusty, time past swiftly but the never ending piles of rocks and empty coco pans just kept on and on. Eventually the boss boy told them that could take lunch time, they collapsed along the shaft walls and opened their scafftiens and emptied them. All too soon the glaring boss boy returned . . . . .

This went on six days a week, their hands now hardening and the bodies grew leaner and fitter, some of them even started enjoying the hard work, they even started singing as they toiled deep below in the dark. The boss boy also seemed to become a bit more tolerant.

The pay day came on a Friday afternoon. At the end of the shift the Induna told them to go to the pay office and get their wages.

They were each handed a brown sealed envelope with money in. Inside were a blue bank note and some coins and a slip of paper. Tinyiko could not read so he went to the Induna to enquire about the slip, he was told that it was a pay slip detailing his earnings and the deductions. Tinyiko did not know about deductions and was told that the deductions were for the boots and overalls and the scafftien and the meals and accommodation.

The Induna also told him to be careful of thieves and robbers now that he has some money. He was also told to stay away from the girls; they will take his money and give him disease.

Tinyiko thought this warning is bad, he knows these things – he had learnt about the girls at the Shangane School for boys.

The following day was Saturday off and they could go to the shops, Tinyiko and a few of his fellow workers went to Egoli, they walked up and down the dusty streets and peered into the windows, they heard the music and the laughter, all of a sudden Tinyiko longed back to his Nhongo horn, he saw someone playing a mouth organ and quite liked the sound, he enquired about it and was directed to a shop with bicycles and lamps and ornaments and guitars and many other things, he made his first purchase - a mouth organ for one shilling.

Back at the hostel he tried out his purchase but the sound was very much unlike the sound he heard in town. He went one side and tried and tried and tried and eventually he got some better sounding sounds out of his little mouth organ.

Monday morning came and back to the boss boy. . . . .

While working underground they heard a strange rumbling sound, the boss boy told them to quickly move to the cage area as there had been a rock fall and they had to evacuate, all ran. They were taken up and quietly waited at the shaft entrance. Later they were told to go to their quarters.

That evening while Tinyiko was sitting on a bench trying his mouth organ, he was told that a miner had been killed and four injured in the underground rock fall.
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gmlsmit
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Re: JUST A STORY

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The ways of . . . . . Part 13.

Everyone at the hostel was very sad about the death of fellow workers. They held a wake for the unfortunate miner; Tinyiko remembered the wake that was held for the elder killed by the Elephant. . . . . .

The Induna called all the new recruits together and again told them of the dangers in mining and also explained the safety rules and precautions to be taken. He also told them about first aid training and that they needed volunteers for this. Tinyiko thought this would be good as he could also then apply first aid while at home at the Wanetsi.

The Induna also told them that they had been trained in the basics of mining and that as they now have sufficient experience and would now be working deeper in the mine tunnels. They would also now be paid extra as the basic training was completed.

A week later the boss boy told them that the following Monday they would be moving deeper into the mine closer to the rock face. The recruits were quite thrilled as they were now becoming old hands at mining.

The Monday arrived and the boss boy told them that he would take them down underground and take them to their new work place where they would be handed over to their new boss boy where the shift boss will also address them and they would then work under the guidance of the current crew whose contract would be expiring in six weeks time. When these miners left Tinyiko and his fellow workers would then be sufficiently trained to work on their own.

The lamps were lit the cage doors slammed, their stomachs made a little twist and their ears popped, the doors opened and the crew were led by their boss boy. . . .

They walked past their previous place of toil, it grew hotter and more humid, they felt the draught and heard the humm of the ventilation fans, in the distance they also heard a clattering sound, it grew hotter and more humid, they passed wood packs tightly stacked from floor to roof and also rock pillars, then the noise stopped and the shift boss appeared, he addressed them in Fanagalo and told them that this was where the real mining took place- at the rock face. Tinyiko looked around but could still not see any gold . . . .

The new boss boy took charge and told them that they would now be trained in operating and maintaining the drills and the accompanying equipment. They were shown the drilled holes and were told that every day a certain number of holes were to be drilled in pre marked places, the blasters would then come and place the dynamite charges connect the detonators and the fuse, then everyone had to evacuate. Once everyone had been accounted for the blasters would set of the dynamite, certain people would inspect the area and once the area had been declared safe, the next shift would be let in.

The blasted material would be loaded while more holes would be drilled, they would not work in the same area every day. They would be moving to different tunnels and levels daily under the guidance of the boss boy and the shift boss. They were again told to without hesitation follow every instruction by their superiors. Lamps were to be handed in at the end of every shift and collected at start of the shift; they had to ensure that the drawing and handing back of the lamps were done promptly and that all was recorded.

The boss boy took each of them to his new work place and then the clattering of the drills commenced; Tinyiko was amazed to see water coming from the end of the drill together with the mud from the hole. Soon their bodies were glistening with sweat; they learnt the universal sign language of miners in the din of the clattering of the drills and the hissing compressed air driving the drills.

Earlier than what they were used to a siren went and they knew the end of the shift had arrived. They packed up and started back to the hoist quite tired, led by the boss boy.

The lamps were handed in and they headed for the hostel, Tinyiko’s friend Amos who came from the Save River area, shook his head and said “siafa” as he walked to the showers.

That evening it was very quiet in their quarters.

Morning came too soon and everyone had different aches in different parts of their bodies.

They got dressed, took their scafftiens collected their rations and off to the shaft, drew their lamps where the wheels were turning and the cage and the new boss boy.

The night shift crew left the open doors and they got in and again their ears popped. Soon the drills were making their noise and the aches disappeared. The scafftiens were emptied and the sweat was running, soon the siren went . . . . .

Time went on but still no gold, Tinyiko asked the boss boy where the gold was and he indicated a narrow black line in the rock – he was amazed that the gold in the mine was black. He now looked for the black line, sometimes it was more than a black line and sometimes it disappeared but then it was again always found.

One week end when Tinyiko and Amos were relaxing two strange men came to them and told them that they could earn much more money if they were prepared to help them, the two miners enquired about this offer and were told that if they brought up of the black material, they could sell it at a very good price and become very rich. Amos told them that the Induna had told them not to bring anything out of the mine as it would be theft and they would end up with the Police. The strangers said that they should not worry about the Induna as he was an old man, they would return the next week end and they could discuss the proposal.

The week went by and Tinyiko told Amos that he was told at the Shangane School for boys that they should not steal, Amos agreed and they decided to tell the Induna about the two strangers. The Induna listened carefully.

The following Friday after pay the two strangers arrived and called the two friends aside, they were asked if they wanted to earn the good money and were told no. They were told that they were foolish not to make use of this opportunity. The strangers then spoke to some other miners.

Tinyiko and Amos noticed four men approach the strangers as they left through the gate . . . . .

The Monday morning the work continued their bodies now lean and strong, all the aches forgotten.

Tinyiko and Amos planned what to do after the next pay day.

Saturday early they were off to town, Tinyiko saw a copper bangle in one of the windows and he imagined how beautiful it would look on the arm of Amukelani, he decided to buy her a gift. He also bought his father a pocket knife with a black handle, he heard someone call it a Joseph Rodgers, and it looked quite good.

They passed a fish and chips shop and spent a sixpence each for fish and chips and a further tuppence on a cold drink. Life was great. Further on they passed a shoe store and Tinyiko and Amos each bought themselves a pair of shiny black leather shoes, five bob a pair.

On their way back they were stopped by six evil looking men who told them that the two of them were Impimpis and would now be dealt with, they were grabbed and kicked and hit, they were left behind with blood running from their wounds, the two limped back to the Compound, their new shoes gone.

At the Compound the Induna asked them what had happened to them, they told him and he replied that those six were part of a gang of thugs who bought illegal gold and sold it at huge profit – they were beaten up because the two strangers were part of the same gang, they were arrested the previous Friday by the Mine Police while leaving the Compound, the two then remembered the four men who went to the two. . . .

They were also told that they had been beaten up as they were Impimpis – informers.

They told the Induna about their stolen shoes. He said that they should not worry, they were to go to the first aid room and have their wounds cleaned and dressed.

A month went by with a lot of hard work being done, Tinyiko often heard “siafa” it seemed to ring a bell and then he remembered “Siafa” was also to big boss of Shangoni and Singwetsi who did not like hunting.

When payday came Tinyiko was quite surprised to get an extra two blue notes in his pay packet, something was wrong, he had been paid too much, and he also noticed Amos looking puzzled. He spoke to the pay clerk who referred him to the Induna.

After showering they approached the Induna and told him about the extra blue notes, the Induna told them that it was their reward, reward for what – for informing him about the two strangers. . . . .
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Re: JUST A STORY

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The ways of . . . . . Part 14.

Tinyiko went on the first aid training course, he was very proud of his elevated status.

After six weeks with the new boss boy the shift boss called him in and told him that as from the following Monday he would be operating the drill on a trial basis for a fortnight, if his work was satisfactory he would be appointed permanently and of course get an increase in pay.

The following Monday morning the new drill operator started and enjoyed the new responsibility. Amos was also a drill operator on trial. Walking to the cage at the end of the shift the two laughed and joked about the new job but both felt very siafa, it really was a tough job.

The working on the rock face was taking its toll and the new crew often discussed the hard work with other miners, they were told that there is medicine for the siafa feeling, they could buy it from the suppliers – Dagga, one could take a few draws on the zoll and you would be strong and refreshed and you could work all day and not feel siafa.

Tinyiko also heard about this wonder cure for tiredness, he also remembered that while on the first aid course the instructor warned them about the use of Dagga. He told Amos about this and they decided to warn the other team members against this wonderful medicine.

The time went by and the end of their contract period was approaching, they were called by the Induna and he enquired which of them would be returning. Tinyiko and Amos both agreed that they would be returning, they were fit and strong and healthy and they needed the money as they needed cattle for the lobola.

Tinyiko often on a Saturday afternoon watched one of the miners working on a machine and cloth, he made good money as he was making and repairing clothes for the other workers. Tinyiko asked what this machine is called and was told a Singer; he watched the clothes maker and asked him to teach him. Soon Tinyiko was quite an expert.

He decided to buy his mother a Singer. Off he went and bought a Singer for one pound and ten shillings (one blue and one red one) he also bought a pair of scissors and some cotton and some brightly colored material. He was very sure that Hikatekile could make some good clothes and become very rich.

One day he went to town and saw a little box, when you open it a doll comes out and dances to the tune of music from the box, there also was a little winder on the side of the box, he was very sure that that Thangelani his little sister would like it he also saw some brightly colored dresses and he bought two, one for Nyeleti and one for her friend Amukelani.

Eventually the end of the contract period arrived and they were told that they could return home for two months and then return to their jobs at the mine at Egoli.

Tinyiko packed all his belongings and then realized that he could not carry everything, he had to make a plan. Then he remembered that a wheelbarrow makes things much easier, it is strong with a steel wheel and can carry much – he decided to buy one. A wheelbarrow could also be made to good use at the Village on the banks of the Wanetsi.

He went to the mine captain who smilingly gave him a letter of permission to purchase a wheelbarrow from the mine store. Another eight half crowns later, Tinyiko arrived at his accommodation with the new wheelbarrow. All he owned and some of Amos’ possessions were loaded onto his new method of conveyance.

The wheelbarrow was pushed to the station, loaded onto the train and off to Soekmekaar.

At Soekmekaar the WNLA officials met them and loaded them all onto a lorry and happily they set off to where the iliMhpopo and Levhuvu meet.

At the border they went to the WNLA office where they were paid the balance their wages, dates were agreed on for the miners to report back for their next contract period.

Everyone set off to his home carrying all his goods accumulated, including Tinyiko who happily set off on his long push to the Village on the banks of the Wanetsi, pushing his wheelbarrow through the sandy riverbed of iliMhpopo.
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gmlsmit
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Re: JUST A STORY

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The ways of . . . . . Part 15.

Very soon Tinyiko discovered that the steel wheel of the wheelbarrow and the riverbed did not agree with his pushing ability. After he had crossed the river he went onto firmer ground but it was still really hard work. He pushed a few hundred paces and then rested and then again pushed and rested . . . .

After a few hours he came across a little village and stopped, he asked for permission to speak to the elders and then asked for permission to sleep there that evening.

Tinyiko realized that he was never going to get his destination; he had to make a plan. Then a thought struck him, he needs cattle for his lobola, he should buy two cows and build a wooden sled, he could get the cows to pull the sled and he could lead the cows and it would be much easier.

After half a day’s negotiations Tinyiko was the owner of two brown and white cows with large horns and ten pounds poorer (two green ones), he used his axe, cut some timber, built his sled, using of the rope he purchased at the IliMhpopo trading store, loaded his loaded wheelbarrow onto the sled and set off.

Tinyiko was now a very happy man as progress was much faster and much easier. He knew about another three days and he would be at the Village on the banks of the Wanetsi.

He saw plenty of antelope, even the odd Nyathi and even some Ndlophu and fortunately no Ngala or Mhisi. At night he built his camp making a small thorn enclosure keeping him and his cows and his goods safe from any possible predator.

The veldt was still quite good, the birds were singing and so was his heart.

Eventually after three days he saw the familiar area on the banks of the Wanetsi, he had left a year ago. He walked faster and then in the distance saw smoke rising from the fires indicating the position of the Village. He knew now he was close to home. He came across the young boys herding the cattle and stopped to find out how they are, he was so pleased to see them that they were even each given an extra strong sweet.

He casually enquired about the well being of all in the Village and was told that all was good. He was also told that of them would be going to the Shangane School for boys the next winter. He was questioned about Egoli but told them that there is plenty of time to tell them later and he set off.

Soon he was at the entrance to the Village he knew so well, he called and entered, he saw the elders under a tree and walked up to them, by now there were many of the younger children inquisitively looking at this stranger. Tinyiko saw his father and noticed that the frost had also started settling on his head, the affectionately greeted one another and Tinyiko was offered some millet beer, he sat down and emptied the calabash, he was offered another which he also emptied, quenching his thirst.

The women heard the activity and came to have a look what was going on, they saw a healthy, strong, fit looking young man and then recognized him – Tinyiko.

Matimba was quite impressed with the two cows Tinyiko had brought; everyone was also very impressed with this new peace of equipment on the sled loaded quite high. The youngsters were even more impressed when the wheelbarrow was offloaded and pushed to his hut with the wheel squeaking.

Everything was offloaded and carried into his hut, of the younger boys dug up enough courage and asked for permission to push this strange thing with one wheel, soon there was a lot of laughter from the passengers s the were being barrowed around the Village.

That evening there was great festivity, posho was made, and a goat was slaughtered there was plenty of beer and much dancing and clapping, the Villagers were quite amazed at the sound coming from Tinyiko’s hands when he held them in front of his mouth, later they discovered he was playing his mouth organ.

Everyone just wanted to be known of all his adventures at the place far off in the direction where the sun sets called Egoli.

The following morning Tinyiko got up with the herd boys and let his cows join them, telling them to take care of them as he had worked very hard to be able to buy them.

Tinyiko took the Joseph Rodgers to his father who tested the shiny blade and nodded his head in approval.

Then he loaded the Singer and the scissors and the material and the sewing thread onto the wheelbarrow and took it to his mother’s hut, Hikatekile was very pleased with her gift and even more so when Tinyiko told her that he would teach her sewing. The wide eyed Thangelani stood watching at all of this.

He told her to follow him as he went to his hut where he took out the little box with the dancing doll, soon Thangelani was surrounded by all the youngsters watching the little dancing doll and listening to the music. . . .

He took a hand full of pink sweets and went to Thangelani; he offered the sweets to the children and asked Thangelani to come with him.

The two took the dresses and the bangle to where Nyeleti and her friend Amukelani were sitting in the shade weaving bed mats. The two friends were now even more beautiful than ever. Nyeleti noticed the affectionate smile on Amukelani’s face when she noticed her brother approaching, she admired his tall, strong, fit looking well muscled body and remembered that Amukelani recently asked her whether her brother was going to remain at Egoli forever . . . .

Tinyiko and Thangelani joined to young women and then the dresses were offered, they looked at the bright motives in amazement and pictured themselves at the next celebration, wearing these.

Tinyiko offered the copper bangle to Amukelani and felt very satisfied as she happily fitted it to her wrist; she looked even more beautiful than ever before.

Amukelani announced that they had to draw water from the river and asked whether Tinyiko would join them, he should take his spear and knobkerrie with him as one never knows what dangers may be around.

Tinyiko led the way, followed my Amukelani and then Nyeleti, each carrying a clay pot for water. The two in front soon noticed that Nyeleti was purposely taking her time in coming down to the river.

Amukelani enquired about Egoli and the mine and the shops and traveling and the girls, she felt quite flattered when Tinyiko told her that none of them was as beautiful as she. He enquired what she had been doing the past season and was told about her chores, when asked about visits from men from the neighboring villages; he was told that both she and Nyeleti agreed that none of them were as strong and handsome and wise as he.

Tinyiko realised that he would need many cows but it all would be worthwhile.
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
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Done 159 visits to National Parks.
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gmlsmit
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Re: JUST A STORY

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The ways of . . . . . Part 16.

The clay pots were filled and the three sat in the shade of the Mtamboti, they spoke about being young, Tinyiko told them more about Egoli and his friend Amos who lives in the Save area, Nyeleti immediately seemed interested, the elder brother elaborated about there friendship and thought maybe it would be a good idea if his friend spends some time here at the Wanetsi next time their contract at the mine comes to an end.

All too soon it was time to return to the Village.

Tinyiko went out hunting with the other men and he did not seem to have lost his skills as he could still throw the Mkonto just as truly as before. They seldomnly returned home empty handed, many days were spent setting their fish traps and there was always plenty of Barbel and Tilapia on the dinner table.

Tinyiko also some times went out with the herd boys, jut to ensure that they knew what they were doing as he paid a lot for two brown and white cows with the large horns; they still had to breed good Nguni calves that would most probably in a few years time be joining the herd of Amukelani’s father.

Some evenings there was dancing and the mouth organ seemed to blend quite well with the Marimba and the drums and the Nhongo horns as well as the Xitende. Amukelani and Nyeleti often used to come and sit close to the mouth organ player and then the beat seemed to liven up a step . . . .

All too soon the two months came to an end, Tinyiko had to pack and leave, the afternoon before, he noticed that Amukelani was wearing her copper bangle and her dress; he knew they meant a lot to her.

Early the following morning Tinyiko greeted and was reminded by Nyeleti to invite Amos for a visit in a year’s time. Amukelani looked even more beautiful than ever while she was waving to the disappearing Tinyiko. When Tinyiko was gone Nyeleti noticed that her friend wiping her eyes and cheeks, she hoped that she was right, as they were such good friends.

Tinyiko walked hard for two days, eventually he reached the WNLA office, arriving there he found Amos and they had a lot to talk about, Amos was quite surprised when he was invited to visit the Wanetsi Village on their return.

A few days later they set off to Soekmekaar, the again noticed Nhongo and Mhala and even Ndlovu, and the train and Egoli and the mine.

Arriving at the compound they reported to the Induna who allocated them their accommodation, they were told that the War had ended and that Hitler was dead, everyone expected things now to be better.

The following morning they reported to the shaft, where nothing seemed to have changed.

The heat and humidity was still there, the coco pans still rattled on the rails, the ventilation fans still hummed and the drills still clattered. They again ached and sweated. The ventilation shaft still blew dust after the dynamite charges had been set off and the ball mills still made their terrible noise. Everyone was still in a hurry. Nothing had changed.

Two months later the boss boy told them that the shift boss wanted to see them before the shift started the following morning, what had gone wrong – no one knew.

The next morning the shift boss told them that they seemed reliable enough to be transferred to the blasting section. They would be trained up in the safe handling and use of dynamite.

They were quite surprised and agreed to the transfer, Tinyiko realized that he would be able to afford more Nguni cattle sooner, maybe in another year or two he could him and Matimba, his father could make a visit to the hut of the father of Amukelani to discuss some serious matters.

The pair and a few others were trained up in their new job. They were trained about dynamite and cortex and fuses and detonators and tamping and safety,

The explosives were drawn from the explosive store, everything was counted and checked and entered into registers and then the group went underground with the shift boss and the big boss- the Mine Captain.

They went to the holes that had already been prepared and told to set the charges and tamp them very carefully, the detonators were inserted the cortex connected and reeled out, everything was checked very carefully by the Shift Boss and the Mine Captain, a few minor adjustment were made and then they left, their hearts beating in their throats, they went into the “safe room” and then the Mine Captain twisted the handle of a little box. For a moment nothing happened and then the loudest noise they had ever heard followed, the Mine Captain nodded his head and smiled at the Shift Boss, who returned the smile and gave a thumbs up. Everyone then realized that the blast was successful.

They returned to the blasting site and saw heaps of rock and rubble, they inspected the area ensuring that there were no caps or fuses or detonators or dynamite sausages or lengths of cortex lying around, the group left for the cage.

Their ears still popped on the way up and when the doors opened in the bright light outside it was a proud lot getting out, they saw the next shift waiting to go down, admiringly watching these brave people doing such dangerous work.

That evening Amos and Tinyiko discussed their new job and both agreed that there seemed a great future for them and the rewards would be worthwhile at the end of their contract.

Going to town now the two saw many soldiers dressed in their uniforms who had returned from the War, walking in the streets holding their girl friend’s hands and laughing and looking very very happy. They also saw a few without one leg, walking with the aid of crutches and some in a wheel chair with no legs. The two friends then realized that should the explosives not be handled carefully, they could also end up like that or even worse – dead, and all their dreams and plans would disappear.

After about two months in their new job, they were approached by a man who said he wanted to talk to them. They asked him about what and were told – big money. They were told to follow him. Sitting on a bench, he told them that they were doing a very important job, using explosives, they could earn good money if they could bring him some of the dynamite and fuse and caps and cortex. The two looked at one another in amazement and shook their heads saying “haikona”.

The two friends decided to learn to read and write, they approached the Induna who then told them that the mine has a night school where they could learn these skills. Soon the two could read a news paper or a colorful comic book; they could now even read the adverts on the screen of the bioscope on Saturday evenings in the mine Recreation hall.

Tinyiko decided to buy himself a Zobo, he saw the Induna had one and he looked very dignified when he took it out and checked the time or when he wound it after taking some Singletons.

The two went to the shops and bought a Zobo each. Amos asked Tinyiko whether Nyeleti would also like a Zobo, he was told that she would prefer a copper bangle, Amos left with a ticking Zobo in his pocket and a copper bangle in a paper bag. Tinyiko also had a brightly colored bead necklace neatly wrapped in his jacket inside pocket, close to his beating heart.

Tinyiko also bought two enamel dishes and two enameled mugs to take home, maybe Amukelani could put them to good use.

Tinyiko thought it would also be good if he bought some Borstol and of the pink and brown and yellow Lenons and also some Grandpa, maybe they could use it, afterall he had done his first aid course.

The end of their contract period came and the two friends packed their belongings and went to greet the Induna, telling him that would be seeing him in two months time here at the compound of the mine at Egoli and set off to the station for the train to Soekmekaar.
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized *** and Lion trade.
Done 159 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.
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gmlsmit
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Re: JUST A STORY

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The ways of . . . . . Part 17.

The train journey to Soekmekaar was uneventful. Arriving at the Soekmekaar station early the following morning, the lorry was ready for them, all their belongings were loaded and off they went. Except for a puncture near Giyani and a lot of dust, late afternoon they arrived at the Punda Maria Gate. A bit further they were stopped by some Field Rangers, after a chat they carried on further, Mhala, Nhongo and Ndlophu were regularly seen.

They camped at the hill where the big Baobab grew as they could not rive in the dark of night.

Tinyiko listened to the familiar sounds of the bush and when King Ngala let his thundering roar roll over the bush, he knew hew was where he really wanted to be, although some extra logs were placed on the fire and every one crept a little closer to his neighbor.

The following morning him and Amos watched the dark of night turn to a crimson and then to orange and then to bright blue, they heard the Guinea Fowl and the Francolin welcome the new day.

After driving an hour or two the lorry gave a lurch and came to a standstill. No matter what they did, it would not start and the returning miners decided that they would walk to the WNLA office. That evening next to the Levhuvu River they again listened to the howling and calling of the animals a big fire was made and they ate the last bit of food they had, however they felt quite safe in the company of the Field Rangers who told them about “Malokoloko” and “Siafa” They heard about Corporal Jan Hatlane and Nduma Mathebula and Andries Ramashiya and Kukise Mgogo. They were told about the adventures of the Field Rangers and Tinyiko and Amos moved closer as the stories went on and on, both looking at these men with great admiration.

Early the following morning they set off to the WNLA office a few miles away, here they met inkosi Harold Mockford at the WNLA office here they were paid the balance of the money earned at the mines. They set off to the trading stores where the Levhuvu and the iliMhpopo joined. Here they bought tobacco and salt and brightly colored beads some cloth and sewing cotton a few hoes some blankets, a little table and some sweets. Amos enquired about who was going to carry all of this and was told that Tinyiko would go and by four cows and two donkeys, who would carry the goods.

Off he went and the following afternoon Tinyiko returned with his animals. Soon everything was loaded onto a wooden sled and off they went, Tinyiko leading the procession.

Two days later they arrived at the little Village on the banks of the Wanetsi.

Amos noticed that the ground was neatly swept, the cattle pens were strong and the huts all neatly thatched. Everyone was pleased to see Tinyiko, Amos was also curiously eyed by everyone, no one noticed the extra glint in the eyes of Nyeleti as she welcomed her brother.

That evening there was a big welcoming feast for the son of Matimba and his friend. Everyone was dressed up in their finery, the beer tasted better that ever, there even was still a bit of Marula left, and soon the drums were beating sending out their message, the xitende and the twisted Nhongo horn joined in and then the mouth organ.

Eventually the python dance started and the two friends watched carefully as the ladies twisted and turned and clapped and kicked and sang and shuffled sinuously in the light of the fire. Their eyes closely following every movement and gesture of Amukelani and Nyeleti. This was much better than Egoli.

That evening Amos told Tinyiko that he was pleased that he came to visit and that he indeed had a beautiful sister, Tinyiko hardly heard what Amos said as his thoughts were elsewhere.

The following morning the two friends rose early and went to the Wanetsi River to wash. They saw the herd boys off and Tinyiko noticed that his two cows now each had a calf, he told the herd boys to take very special care of his cattle and they had to see to it that his new Nguni cows do not wander off as they were not acquainted with the surrounding bush and the hills. The donkeys were hobbled and then there was some urgent business to be done.

Tinyiko called Thangelani and asked her to tell Amukelani and Nyeleti that if they needed assistance in fetching water from the river, the two of them would gladly help. Soon Thangelani returned and said that the two friends were waiting under the first Ndzophari tree along the path to the river. The two friends went and joined the girls, who were dressed in their best.

There was a lot of laughing and joking on the way to the river. Water was drawn and the day was so beautiful and there was so much to tell, they sat in the shade and listened to the birds and watched as some little antelope came to drink.

The girls were quite impressed that the two men were now handling dangerous goods in doing their jobs. Amukelani mentioned that they must be very well paid for this dangerous work as she had seen the four big red and white Nguni cows with their large horns and the two donkeys.

Tinyiko took out his Zobo and checked the time, Amukelani looked at this strange thing and was told that it was an instrument that tells the time of day, she thought it was quite useless as anyone could tell the time of day by looking at the position of the sun, Tinyiko then reminded her that the sun does not shine at night. He then showed her how it worked and also explained the figures on the face, showing her where the eight was, indicating that also was how many cattle he now had, she then showed much more interest and was quite surprised when Tinyiko told her that both he and Amos could now read and write. Amukelani now felt very proud of this strong fit looking hard working, rich clever brother of her friend.

On the way home Nyeleti noticed a new set of beads around the neck of her friend and also did not hide her new copper bangle.

Tinyiko and Amos went out hunting and soon they were both shooting the arrows straight and the Mkonto was also thrust true and powerful.

One evening after the dancing had come to an end and the fires had turned to glowing embers, Tinyiko heard that the cattle were uneasy, he went to investigate and found Mphisi stuck in the thorn Zeriba, he struck with his Mkonto and followed it up with his knobkerrie. By now everyone was awake and when they arrived on the scene they found the dead Mphisi in the thorns and the proud warrior Tinyiko cleaning his spear.

The four young people went down to the river every day where they passed it by playing thuba and talking and then the two men told the girls that they were going to teach them to read and write.

Soon the girls could count up to fifty and could also recite the alphabet and even write their own names and those of their tutors.

The hunters would go out and would sometimes return with a Mhala or the men and women would be called to the freshly hunted carcass of Hlongonyi, or a Mangwa, Tinyiko and Amos always took special care while removing the black and white hide, these were to be cured and later adorn the floors of their wives huts.

One morning Tinyiko told Amos that he had business with his graying father Matimba and that Amos should accompany them to the river.

Tinyiko asked his father for permission to talk to him, and the two went aside, Matimba having a vague idea what this was all about, he remembered his talking to his father many seasons ago . . . . .

The two agreed to pay a visit to visit Amukelani’s father.

Two days later the six brown and white Nguni cows and the two calves were chased into the Zeriba of their new owner. There were still two more still to be added.

That afternoon the fires were stoked and everyone was all dressed up in their finery, the girls dressed in bright calico, covered in bead ornaments and with copper wire turned around their legs, dancing in an inner ring and the befeathered men with bunches of wild cat tails swinging around their waists and shoulders and the izimbova bracelets rattling on their legs waving dancing sticks adorned with colorful streamers, in the outer ring.

Dust was flying, while the meat of two goats was roasting and the pots of posho was standing just close enough to the fire not to burn. The drums were beating and Fayi and the Xitende and Mbilas and the Nhongo horns made up the providing the music and the rhythm, for the sweating bodies. Matimba and Hikatekile sitting on their wooden chairs together with the parents of Amukelani happily watching the festivities.

When the dancers ran out of steam they would all take a few mouthfuls of the refreshing brew from the clay pots and would then again continue clapping and shuffling and doing their absolute best to outperform everyone else.

Amukelani was wearing her copper bangle and the new string of beads as well as new skirt she had secretly been making for this occasion, she was looking more beautiful that ever before. The proud Tinyiko was the ringleader he knew that all his efforts would be worth while; this was all he was taught at the Shangane School for boys.

Nyeleti was also dressed up in her best for she knew that Amos was watching and who knows just maybe.

When the meat was done and the posho ready everyone sat down and had his meal, Tinyiko and Amukelani eating from her new enameled plates brought from far away Egoli. The beer also tasted quite good from the matching cream colored mugs.

All too soon everyone was off to their huts to get a bit of sleep before the coming dawn would be announced by the crow of a rooster. There was little sleep in two of the huts, Tinyiko and Amos were sharing there dreams Amos told Tinyiko that he already had a few cattle and that it may be a good idea if of them could join those belonging to Matimba. And in the girls hut Amukelani and Nyeleti were reliving the days at the river and the previous evenings festivities. They both knew it a long wait but when the time is ripe it would all be worth the wait.

The following morning Amos was gone. Tinyiko suspected that he had some important business to discuss with his father on the banks of the Save River.

Nyeleti was quite surprised at the absence of Amos but she felt reassured when she saw a knowing smile on the face of her elder brother.

About half a moon before the two men had to return to the WNLA office the dogs in the Village barked as two men, one graying and the other appeared at the entrance of the Wanetsi Village, Tinyiko recognized his friend and knew that his suspicions were correct.
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized *** and Lion trade.
Done 159 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.
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gmlsmit
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Re: JUST A STORY

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The ways of . . . . . Part 18.

After the negotiations had been completed and the cattle herd of Matimba had grown by another seven Nguni cows, another feast was held and the joys were repeated.

That afternoon the fires were stoked and everyone was all dressed up in their finery, the girls dressed in bright calico, covered in bead ornaments and with copper wire turned around their legs, dancing in an inner ring and the befeathered men with bunches of wild cat tails swinging around their waists and shoulders and the izimbova bracelets rattling on their legs waving dancing sticks adorned with colorful streamers, in the outer ring.

Dust was flying, while the meat of a young calf was roasting and again the pots of posho was standing just close enough to the fire not to burn. The drums were beating and Fayi and the Xitende and Mbilas and the Nhongo horns provided the music and the rhythm, for the sweating bodies, the sound of a mouth organ joined the music and just behind the player sat a very proud beautiful looking Amukelani. Matimba and Hikatekile sitting on their wooden chairs, together with the parents of Amos, happily watching the festivities. They all knew that Nyeleti would be well cared for after the owing cows had joined Matimba’s herd, Nyeleti would then move to the Village on the banks of the Save.

When the dancers ran out of steam they would all take a few mouthfuls of the refreshing brew from the clay pots and would then again continue clapping and shuffling and doing their absolute best to outperform everyone else.

Nyeleti wore her copper bangle which adorned her shining arms together with the beads and other finery she had over a long period been preparing for just this occasion. She looked more beautiful than ever. Amos was looking at her and he knew that just as Tinyiko, he had made a good choice. He was pleased that he had listened to the medicine man who had told him that he that he should go to the far distant Egoli where he would meet a good friend . . . . .

Later that evening when all had gone quiet Amukelani and Nyeleti just lay and talked about their wonderful young lives. They talked about their men and were so happy that what they had been taught at the Shangane School for girls had come true; they would be good wives for their men and take good care of their children, who would join them in taking care of the pastures.

In another hut the two friends were also laying and talked about the women in their lives. They were so happy about everything that had happened to them, their childhood, the Shangane School for boys, their working at Egoli and now the paid Lobola. They also knew that they would be good husbands who would take care of their families, Amos told Tinyiko about the medicine man . . . . . .

Time passed by all too soon, the fetching of the water and the sitting in the shade dreaming flew past, in the evenings the two couples sat together and chant more loudly than any, while the older mothers told their stories – mainly the history and folklore of the Shangane people, going back many seasons to times before even when the old mothers had not been born.

Whenever Tinyiko or Amos took out their Zobos they were keenly watched by many of the accompanying listeners, The two young men knew that every time the long hand passed the top of the clock, the time for leaving was a bit nearer.

Tinyiko and Amos both wrote a short little note which they gave to Thangelani with an instruction what to do after they had left, she was also sworn to silence, Thangelani agreed to carry out the instructions but it would cost one florin each. The contents of the notes were a very close kept secret, even until today.

The time came and the two friends had to return to Egoli, this time the greeting was much sadder. They left and two days later arrived at WNLA where Mr. Mockford told them that things had changed at the mine, miners and other people had been arrested for many things like the theft of gold dust and explosives and warned them to be aware of the criminals and not get involved. They were also told that should they be approached they were to inform their father at the mine, the Induna.

The lorry to Soekmekaar arrived, many miners returned for two months and others were on their way to Egoli for a year. The train journey to Egoli took a day and then they were at the old familiar surroundings, but not quite - the atmosphere was different.

The Induna welcomed them; they told him about what Mr. Mockford had told them and were shown to their quarters. The following morning they went to the shaft, got into the cage, the doors slammed, they felt the floor give way and their ears popped while the cables whined and the air rushed by. The cage came to an abrupt stop and the doors opened, nothing had changed.

The shift boss accompanied them to their work place where he supervised them placing the charges, carefully tamping and connecting and rolling out and checking and counting and completing the registers, all done the siren went and they went to the safe room passing the timber packs and rock pillars, here they were all counted to make sure everyone was present, the shift boss twisted the handle and the explosives went off, they went inspect the blasted area, when the area was declared safe they returned to the cage area and awaited their turn to the fresh air, high above.

The following day was repeat of the previous, just at the end of the shift the shift boss told them that he was satisfied with their work and as from the following day they would be working on their own again.

The evenings and the weekends now seemed longer and the two friends would often sit aside and talk about their future . . . . .

One afternoon when the cage doors were opened the mine workers were taken to a hall by the Mine Police, they were told to undress and were searched, and some of the miners were taken away by the Police. The Induna later told them that these men were found carrying of the black gold containing pebbles and dust and others with dynamite, cortex, fuses and caps. . . . . .They were going to serve long terms in Prison, doing hard labor.

One Saturday morning while the two friends were doing shopping they were approached by four men, who said they should come with them, they hesitantly followed. When on their own they were told that they are still young and working hard for very little, they could become rich very fast if they joined the four in a business venture, all they had to do was bring up of the black ore and of the dynamite and the explosive devices, this could be sold for good money. The two friends again said haikona and left for the hostel.

That evening they visited the Induna.

Life at the mine went on for a while and then one day upon surfacing, the Police were again present and they were taken to the hall. Some of the miners were taken away.

They again went to the bioscope in the hall on Saturday evenings and were amazed at the white man swinging from tree to tree shouting and thumping his chest and then rescuing a beautiful white girl from gorillas and hostile black tribesmen and of the other white man dressed peculiarly, wearing shoes that seemed to be to big for him as he kept on tripping over them when he tried to walk. Then there were two other white men one big and fat and the other small and thin who would drive around in a funny car and crashed into wooden houses.

Pay day came and the Saturday in town, they were again approached by the four men, again the reply was haikona, they were told that they would still be sorry.

That evening they again visited the Induna, they were thanked for the visit.

A few days later the Police were again present and some more miners were removed from the hall. On their way to their quarters Amos pointed out to Tinyiko that he seemed to recognize four men at the Security Office, standing there handcuffed.

A fortnight later the two friends heard a noise coming from the room in where the Induna stayed. Upon investigating they found the door had been broken and inside . . . . . the Induna – their father at the mine in blood – dead – his skull had been smashed.

Tinyiko ran to the Mine Police Office and called them to the scene. Upon arrival the door was closed, the gathering onlookers were told to stand away. The Police arrived and investigated the scene. All were saddened when the Police took away the now paling lifeless body of the old Induna . . . . . . .

Statements were taken, Tinyiko and Amos and many of the other workers were interrogated for many hours.

A very sad wake was held while the body of the noble old Induna lay prepared to be taken away to their distant Village by his family, to join his forefathers . . . . .

Later a bloody knobkerrie was found in the veldt. It was brought to the Mine Police, upon investigation one of the other miners recognized it by a peculiar twist in the shaft as one being carried by one of the miners from a different hostel.

The hostel was visited where the supposed owner of the knobkerrie was pointed out and arrested. He later admitted to being one of a gang who brought up and bought black ore and explosives. Soon most of the gang were arrested and of them walked their last few steps to the gallows in Pretoria . . . . .

A new Induna was appointed.

The uneasiness increased.

The cheerfulness and happiness seemed to have disappeared. The two friends often discussed the situation and decided that they were going to finish their contract and then not return, they would find a different job somewhere else.
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized *** and Lion trade.
Done 159 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.
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gmlsmit
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Re: JUST A STORY

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The ways of . . . . . Part 19.

Life at the mine continued people did their jobs and went around living their lives, The cage still rattled downwards or upwards after the doors had clanged the ears still popped, the dust still appeared at the ventilation shaft after the shift boss turned the handle. The crushers and ball mills still clamored. There seemed to be more security people. Fights used to break out more often, especially at the beer hall or about a woman or among a group of gamblers.

The two miners from the far away Gaza Province did not enjoy their life, they often used to sit together and discuss their days of youth, their growing up, the experience at the Shangane School for boys, their working as inexperienced miners and now when they had better jobs, things were different.

The matter of them becoming brothers was also discussed and seemed to be the only joy in their lives. They longed back to the traditions and simple lifestyle at their Villages with their families and their friends, with their livestock and the wild animals and the adventure, the times of very little and the times of plenty in the far away Gaza Province.

Many Sundays were spent by the two; Tinyiko and Amos playing their latest acquisitions a penny whistle and a concertina, in the beginning everyone moved away from the two sitting under a large blue gum tree when the squeaking and wailing commenced. After about a month the audience seemed to grow, when the two musicians started, soon a drum or two would join in and there would be some merriment away from the changed life, much time was spent in this way, often the gumboot dancers would join in and when all was over everyone would return to his quarters and wonder what had gone wrong, causing this change, the only reprieve was the music and dancing during time off, no one seemed to be happy during the week.

In the meantime the two friends in the Village in the far away Gaza Province spent their time dreaming about their lives as good married Shangane women who would take care of the maize fields, clean their huts, tend their children, make beer and prepare food for their families, they would make clothes and adorn themselves and their clothes with gaily colored cloth and beads, while their husbands would be out hunting or possibly working in some distant place to earn money to improve their lives. They also knew that Nyeleti would leave the banks of the Wanetsi and go and live with Amos and his family on the banks of the Save, all as per the lore of the Shangane people.

Eventually the contract at the mines came to an end. Tinyiko and Amos packed their belongings and set off to the Braamfontein Railway station to catch the train to Soekmekaar.

They watched as the lights sped by, hearing the monotonous clickety – clack, clickety clack of the wheels on the steel tracks, making them drowsy and lulling them to sleep in their cramped compartment.

Early the following morning the train arrived at Soekmekaar and it was time to get off and head for the Gaza. They were allowed a few hours to go to the stores and do some shopping as the Lorries were waiting.

A little later the two returned each with gaily colored cloth, pots, beads, an axe, hoes, millet and maize seed, salt, tobacco, sweets, writing paper and pencils, some Zambuck and Vaseline and Lenons and Borstol and soap and something very special - 4711 - a big bottle each for Nyeleti and Amukelani and a smaller one each for Thangelani and Hikatekile and Thangela the future mother in law of Nyeleti. They would be very surprised about this special gift, they would smell very good. Apparently you put a bit behind your ears after washing and then your loved one would find you very special.

It was a happy convoy leaving Soekmekaar for the WNLA office close to the Lebombo Mountains where the iliMhpopo and Levhuvu come together. The formalities were completed at Punda Maria – such a strange name – surely it should be Punda Milia – as the people coming from the north call the striped donkey – referring to Mangwa, these white people often got confused and then also confused everyone else. Maybe someone should tell them about their mistake; Maria is the name of a woman and has nothing to do with a place such as this, so confusing.

After traveling a little distance while someone spotted the tall Nhutlwa feeding from the top of the trees, with Mhala browsing close by, some Mfenhe hurriedly crossed the road in front of the oncoming convoy, the babies clinging to their mothers and the males trying to cross dignified with their crooked tails held aloft.

The even saw some Ndlophu breaking of branches and stripping the bark in the distance. Some Honci were on their knees along the roadside trying to uproot some plants with their tusks, as the lorry approached they ran off a little distance, tails in the air and then inquisitively turned around to see what the disturbance was.

When the Mangwa were sighted there was a hefty discussion about the peculiar name of the place at the gate. Some beautiful Nhongo were sighted, the bull standing with head erect displaying the ivory tipped horns for a moment, before disappearing in the bush.

That evening they camped at the familiar Baobab tree on the hill.

A fire was made; the quiet of the night was only disturbed by the call of some birds and the call of the Mangawana and the Mhisi. The new day was announced by the rolling thunder of King Ngala.

While they were loading the lorry some inquisitive Nkawu arrived watching them from a safe distant branch with their brown eyes in their little black faces fringed by round ears and heads bobbing up and down. Their antics in the trees drew many laughs from the returning miners.

At the river they heard the huh huh huh from the Imvubu as they watched the passing lorry with just their eyes and ears visible above the waterline.

At Pafuri they came across the Rangers, Tinyiko recognized Andries Ramashiya and told him that they were returning from the mines and that he and Amos were not going back to the mines.

Tinyiko enquired about where they could find work, Andries referred them to Corporal Jan Hatlane, who told them about “Mafortini”, which was for people from outside the boundaries of the Union of South Africa. Foreigners needed a permit to find work or to work in the Union, which cost five shillings, once you had a permit you could find a job and work here.

Foreigners could work in the Park for fourteen days, clearing the bush where roads were to be built, they were accommodated and fed by Malokoloko or Siafa and then after fourteen days they could then collect their five shillings or get a work permit instead.

This sounded quite good.

Soon they reached the WNLA office where Morena Mockford paid the money still owing to them. The miners returning to the mines were loaded and set off along the dusty road, the dust suspended in the air, glimmering in late afternoon sunshine the color of gold extracted deep from the dark shafts of the distant Egoli.

Tinyiko went to buy some cows from the nearby Villages on the banks of the sandy iliMhpopo, while Amos kept a watchful eye on their belongings while chopping trees down and building a sled.

That evening the little group of miners listened to the concertina and the penny whistle and the drums, they knew the following day they would all set off in different directions and may never again see one another, while in the distance Yingwe gave his warning sawing growls quite disturbed by the strange noise disturbing his peace.

Two days later the two friends arrived at the Village on the banks of the Wanetsi in the Gaza.
Last edited by gmlsmit on Mon Aug 31, 2009 8:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized *** and Lion trade.
Done 159 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.
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gmlsmit
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Re: JUST A STORY

Unread post by gmlsmit »

The ways of . . . . . Part 20.

There was a lot of joy when the two men were recognized after the barking of the dogs had died down.

Many inquisitive eyes followed their every move while they were unpacking all their treasures purchased at Soekmekaar and at the distant Egoli. The two friends noticed that the hut of Tinyiko had been kept spotless, the floor was swept, his bed mat was neatly rolled up, his wooden headrest next to the mat, and all his other belongings were neatly packed on the wooden shelf. Tinyiko noticed two neatly carved calabashes hanging from the wall; he realized that many hours of extra care had been spent in decorating these.

Tinyiko and Amos smelt the roasting goat and the cooking posho and they both knew that soon the Xitende and the Marimba and the drums would start, everyone would be dressed up, the women in their best, their glistening bodies would be dressed in gaily colored calico and be decorated with brightly colored beads, wrapped wire will adorn their arms and legs. The men will be swaying their wild cat tails and the Izimbova will be rattling around their legs. Soon the stamping feet would engrave two dusty rings around the fire.

They also knew that there would be plenty of pombe to slake their thirst and then the dancing would again continue to the pulsating rhythms only heard during festivities in a dark African night. Then eventually the unmarried woman and older girls would join up and start the sinuously python dance, soon the older married woman would join in and the marimbas and xitendes and drums and Nhongo horns would eventually reach a climax and the dust will settle on the sweaty bodies, Tinyiko and Amos both knew that Amukelani and Nyeleti would be the most beautiful of all. They also knew that they had purchased enough Nguni cows to pay off the balance of the agreed Lobola.

Very soon everything happened as the two friends expected and they both realized that nothing had changed to the things that really matter in life, everything was still as they had been taught at the Shangane School for boys.

The dancing kept on and on, the two returning miners setting the example, outdoing everyone else, under the close surveillance of their two maidens.

The pombe was cool and refreshing, the roasted goat very tasty and the posho seemed to have been so much different from that had at the mine hostel.

It was good to be back at the Gaza.

Eventually all the excess energy spent, quiet settled over the Village on the banks of the Wanetsi.

All too soon the rooster crowed, announcing the new day. The herd boys were told to take special care of the new cows as they did know the area.

The floor of the Village was swept and the spoils of the previous evening were removed.

Water had to be fetched and the four young people set off carrying the clay pots, the two girls admiringly eyeing the shining well muscled bodies of the two young men.

The girls were told about the life at the mine and that the men were not returning there, they would rather find more suitable work somewhere else.

While washing in the cool clear pools of the Wanetsi Tinyiko told his friend that very soon he would need to discuss some urgent matters with his father, Amos replied that he also had some urgent unfinished business.

The two friends waited in the shade while the two girls washed and anointed their bodies. They seemed to hear a giggling come from where the girls had disappeared into.

Later two beautiful maidens appeared, their bodies glistening, wearing brightly colored dresses, each wearing a copper bangle and brightly colored beads, the two friends could hardly believe their eyes.

When on their own Tinyiko took Amukelani’s wrist and tied a silver chain to it. He was very pleased when he noticed that her eyes were glittering even more than the silver sparkle of the chain. They talked the talk of young people who care for one another; they watched the white clouds move slowly by, high up in the clear blue African sky. The birds were singing in the bush and a dainty Mbbavala ewe with her young fawn passed close by, the young people noiselessly watching the shiny brown bodies with the white spots as they disappeared into the bush on the banks of the Wanetsi. Amukelani attentatively listened when Tinyiko told her that he had some urgent business he had to discuss with his father, he was overjoyed that her eyes were now shining much more than ever before.

On the way back Amukelani smelt a sweet smell coming from Nyeleti as she and Amos were walking hand in hand ahead. She wondered what magic was causing this. She also noticed a smile on the face of the happy Tinyiko who was carrying her pot and his, both slung across his shoulder, she felt his strength as he caringly held her hand, and she knew that he would make a good husband and a good father of beautiful children.

That evening the two girls lay in their hut and talked until the early hours about their men. While on the far side of the little Village the two young men could not sleep and they lay and talked until the early hours about their girls.

The following morning Tinyiko told Amos to accompany the girls to the river as he had urgent business with his father.

Tinyiko took his father some of the tobacco and of the Singletons he had bought and the two of them settled in deep discussion in the shade of the Jackal Berry tree. Late afternoon Matimba was convinced that his son Tinyiko realized the importance and the responsibilities of being a married man, he was also satisfied that his son would uphold the traditions of the Shangane people and that he would never bring disgrace upon their family.

Matimba would make an appointment with the father of Amukelani the following day, to find out whether two of the brown and white Nguni cows recently purchased near the Levhuvu River would be acceptable to him.

That evening some strange sounds filled the African night, coming from where a group of people were amazed at the peculiar instrument being pumped by Amos while some fine notes came from a shiny whistle played by Tinyiko. Soon the drums and the Xitendes joined in and then the marimbas caught on and the joys of being a happy Shangane settlement on the banks of the Wanetsi in the Gaza, was made clear to everybody in the vicinity.

Later when all was dark Amos realized that he had better go to his Village on the banks of the Save to talk to his father, as he realized that Tinyiko seemed very happy and he had a good suspicion why.
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
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gmlsmit
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Re: JUST A STORY

Unread post by gmlsmit »

The ways of . . . . . Part 21.

The following morning Tinyiko told Nyeleti that Amos had some very important business to discuss with his father and that she could expect his return within about a week.

Later that morning Matimba informed Tinyiko that the father of Amukelani would be ready to see him the following day.

Tinyiko wandered off into the veldt wondering what questions he would be asked the following day, he sat on an anthill and looked to the far off horizons and then realized that it was much better here with his own people than in the far off Egoli.

He heard the gnu gnu gnu come from where the dust was rising and knew that the Hongonyi were on their way to the cool pools of the Wanetsi, he wondered whether the Ngala would be in ambush or whether there may be a Ngwenya lurking in the water, awaiting one of the herd who was not watching the herd bull and waiting for him to give the “all clear” – much the same as after the blast, down in the dark shafts at Egoli.

While sitting he heard the warning bark of the Mfenhe lookout and he knew they had been disturbed, possibly by their enemy – Yingwe the cat with the dark rosettes on the golden pelt.

He heard the Guinea Fowl give warning in the bush near the Save and thought that maybe the black bodies entering the thicket were Nyathi. He did not need his Zobo, he saw that the sun was moving towards its resting place and that the shadows were lengthening and he also saw that the colors were changing to the soft golden of the late afternoon, Tinyiko knew it was time to return to the Village as needed to rest well and clear his mind because the following day may be worse than that of a newly employed laborer in the dark shafts of Egoli.

The sun set and soon the bright stars adorned the dark blue skies of Africa, Tinyiko did not eat much and decided to go to his hut early and have a good rest. On his way to his hut he heard a strange but also familiar noise coming from the hut where his youngest sister slept, he knocked on the door and entered, there she sat beautiful Thangelani looking at the little figure dancing on the box with the image reflected in the mirror, he then remembered it was the little box he gave his little sister during his first return from Egoli.

Thangelani invited Tinyiko to sit down, he noticed that she had also grown up and he was told that she would soon be going to the Shangane School for girls. He looked at her and told her how much he cared for her and how thankful he was for taking the messages to Amukelani and all the little favors she had always done for him, he told her about his pending visit to the father of Amukelani the following day.

He then told her to wait as he had to go somewhere; a little later Tinyiko returned with a little bottle filled with a golden colored liquid, Thangelani was told that after she had washed she should put some of this behind her ears. She opened the little bottle and the hut seemed to fill out with a sweet soft smell. Her eyes lit up and she told Tinyiko that she was very pleased for him and she knew that none of the other young girls had anything like this, first the little dancing figure and now this little bottle.

It was a long night, the sleeping mat was uncomfortable, the wooden headrest was uncomfortable, his racing mind was uncomfortable, he had a drink of water from his decorated calabash but still everything remained uncomfortable.

Tinyiko got up before the rooster; he wandered off to the pools of the Wanetsi where he watched the dark blue turn to mauve to red to golden to blue. He then decided that it was safe enough to enter the Wanetsi and have a wash, when finished he felt refreshed and smelling of lifebuoy, he happily returned to his hut, noticing that of the older women were trying to get the fires going. The only other movement in the Village was some chickens scratching in the veldt outside.

Eventually Matimba appeared, Tinyiko greeted and asked when they could go and do their business, he was told about midday. This waiting was much worse that his first few days at the mines.

He watched his sister and her friend go down to the Wanetsi pools but no matter how his heart ached to join them, he could not, what if his father came looking for him and he was not available.

The two girls returned and waived to the miserable looking Tinyiko, they knew he could not be sick, he was much too healthy for that, he must be having something very important on his mind.

Tinyiko noticed that the Zobo was much slower than ever before, he checked that it was wound and the when the short hand was approaching the XI and the long hand the XII he saw his father get up from where him and of his friends were chatting, Matimba leisurely stretched his body and looked in Tinyiko’s direction and then disappeared into his hut.

Some time later, the short hand was now approaching the XII Matimba appeared and gestured to Tinyiko to join him. Halfway to his father he remembered the Boxer and the Singletons. He went to fetch the two items and when he found his father he was in deep conversation with some of the other elders. Tinyiko tried to draw his attention but felt sure that he was being ignored.

Eventually Matimba seemed to notice his son and asked him where he had disappeared to, as he had been waiting for him. Tinyiko explained politely, hoping that they could finish their business. Matimba replied that he was just going to have drink of water and then they could go. Matimba offered Tinyiko a drink of water and the two went off to the hut of where Amukelani’s father lived. Here they found him in deep conversation with of his elder friends. Matimba went to join the group. The normal courtesies were exchanged and Matimba was offered a calabash which was gratefully accepted and emptied with a loud smack of the lips. The father of Amukelani took this as a compliment and offered Matimba another calabash.

Everyone seemed to have forgotten about Tinyiko standing one side in the hot sun.

Eventually Matimba seemed to remember about his son and then went into deep conversation with his friend. The friend gestured to Tinyiko to go and sit at the entrance to his hut, Tinyiko went and did as indicated, sitting down he noticed that the calabashes again been filled from the pot doing its rounds.

Eventually the host seemed to remember the young man awaiting him, he got up and sat by him, asking the young man about Egoli and talking about the weather and the cattle and crops and the Ndlophu that sometimes went into the lands and half destroyed the crops. He dug into his pocket seeming to find something, out came a little shiny tin, it was opened and was empty, Tinyiko grabbed the opportunity by offering the older man some Singletons, which was casually accepted Tinyiko indicated that the older man could keep the tin of Singletons. After a hearty sneeze the older man dug into his pocket and out came an empty tobacco pouch, Tinyiko offered him the packet of Boxer and told him that he did not need it to be returned.

The older man lit his pipe and after a few puffs and some coughing to clear his lungs, enquired about Tinyiko’s visit. Tinyiko explained as best he could. The older man enquired about what he still remembered about what he had been taught at the Shangane School for boys, as he may have forgotten most of it during his exploits at Egoli. Tinyiko explained as best he could.

The older man explained about all the responsibilities a married man had towards his wife and their children and to the family of the wife, Tinyiko clearly understood. Tinyiko heard the herd boys returning with cattle from the veldt and that Amukelani’s father said that they could now go to the cattle enclosure to select the two cows still owing to finalize the Lobola. Each of the new cows were thoroughly inspected and eventually two were chosen of which one seemed to be in calf.

On the way back Tinyiko was told that the cows were only accepted as he was the son of his friend Matimba. Tinyiko was invited to now join the group of elders. Soon there was a lot of back slapping and loud laughter as the pots were doing their rounds and the calabashes filled and emptied and refilled, the other people in the Village soon realized that some very important deal had been struck.
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized *** and Lion trade.
Done 159 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.
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Re: Just a story

Unread post by Elsa »

Just come across this gem, sure there will be many who would like to pass some time and be captivated!
Take time each day to be with nature
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