Siblings

I hated my sister because she was four years younger than me. I hated her because I had to take her everywhere with me. On all my playdates. It would have been okay, would she have just sat silently by herself in the corner, but no, she wanted to join our fun! She was nothing short of a monster! Wanted to play with our barbies! Steal our joy, basically! And because she was four years younger and because she turned to crying when she didn’t get the nice barbie with the good hair (yep) a parent would quickly come and tell us that because we were older of course we should give her the pretty barbie.

How does that even make sense??? Because I am four years older my sister gets to play with the princess barbie while I get stuck with the…pleb barbie? Shut the fuck up! Usually you’re telling me because I am ONLY 8 years old I can’t do this I can’t do that. Can’t drink alcohol, can’t take drugs, can’t go to da club! Also, I can’t stay up as long as I want? Why? What will happen if I do? Be tired? Wow, terrible! Really! Great threat!

But now, because I am ALREADY 8, I have to give my sister the barbie with the long blond silky hair? This makes no sense at all!

Really the only power I had against her was an ancient knowledge that only young siblings have – knowledge that later in life is lost to most. It is the power of the fart. The mere threat of farting in someones face “Stop it or I’ll fart in your face” or later “Stop it, I’ll fucking fart in your face!” was…potent. It could stop her from stealing my sweets, could stop her from hitting me, from kicking me, from entering my room.

But I guess I must have loved her too, because I remember that for a number of years we had a ritual during supper time. It was in fact more a game of psychological warfare. We would eat, all the while watching each other’s plates. The goal was to be the one that still had “good food” (usually the meat) left on our plates while the other was left stuck with their vegetables, or worse, with no food at all. My sister at the time was a lot greedier than me, so while she tried to eat slowly in the beginning and follow me in hiding pieces of steak underneath salad leaves, she did not have my willpower. And so I won, every time. My moment of victory was presented with a war cry: “muhahahahah, I still have my steak, na na na naaa na!”

My sister however soon realised that if she finished eating before me and then snuck underneath the table and pretended to be a cute dog (I didn’t even like dogs, but my little sister as a puppy dog was a lot more adorable than my sister just being my sister) and would howl-cry, begging for a bite of my food. I aaaalways! gave her some of mine, a bite of my meat even! It was a true testament of my love for my sister. I guess I really really love/hated her. My sister, the adorable tyrant.

Cape Town Stories 11

A night out in Cape Town.

I went out with a friend of mine to a shabby chic afro fusion restaurant that also functions as a club on some nights. A club in Cape Town looks like an old Cape Dutch Colonial style house, because it is – speaking of which, why is it that colonial architecture is so damn beautiful? Landgrabbers really had an eye for delightfully intricate design – now this Dutch style house is filled with old school Hip Hop interspersed with Nigerian Afropop – everyone sings along, everyone cheerses everyone, I bump into two people I have not seen in ten years, I drink a glass of red wine, reminisce with my old new friends about the good old days pre-gentrification (Woodstock, you feel me!), at 2am the music switches to Bob Marley’s slowest songs: international sign for “go home”. I get into my car (lies, it’s my parent’s), take with one or two people who I will drop off on the way home, force everyone to put on their seatbelts (They make them for a reason, Cape Town!) and then head up the road from Salt River Circle. When I spot the blue lights I have a short moment of paranoid panic (I had only one….and a half glasses!) but am relieved when I realise one of the policemen getting out of the van drawing a gun and pointing it into the side street. Phew, not a road block. Now in my slightly stoned mind – I did not smoke, but Ganesh is a small place and hotboxes quickly – I wonder whether car windows are bullet proof…can I just pass the police van? (Side note: my parent’s car has windows that you manually have to roll up.) Upon second thought, no, let me not get caught in the cross fire and just turn around like the cars behind me to follow an alternate route.

I get home, drink some water and am in bed by 2.30. That is my favourite thing about going out in Cape Town. You start early and end early and the next morning you can still get up to the sound of birds chirping at 10 am and have an entire day ahead of you sans the whole: fuck, I’m almost 30 and just wasted a whole day away being hungover in bed. I’ll probably go for a hike up Lion’s Head and while hiking I will look at the view and remember the drawn gun and wonder how on earth it can be possible that in such a paradise violence is a daily routine but then on my way home I will drive past old Cape Dutch style mansions and I will picture the people inside them and I will remember.

Cape Town Stories 10

At my parents house in Woodstock. There is a knock on the door which my mother goes to answer. A man, begging.  She asks him to wait a moment, she has to return quickly to what she was doing, but she will send her husband to him in a minute. And so my father follows my mother’s orders and goes to meet the begging man at the door.  He greets him, the begging man however shows no interest in my father; he is, he explains, waiting for the white woman’s husband.  My father tells him that he is in fact the white woman’s husband. The begging man tells my father not to tell lies and repeats once more, that he is waiting for the white woman’s husband. And so my father replies, again, that he is precisely this man the beggar speaks of to which the beggar, growing impatient, replies that my father is crazy and that he cannot in fact be the white woman’s husband. My father repeats, this time in Xhosa, that the husband of the white woman that the begging man speaks of truly stands before him, but the begging man has already turned around and left. He has no patience to talk to crazy people he muttered as he walked away.