sun-that-will-not-shine, moon-that-cannot-rise

As he had expected, his best friend, Billy Hake, was at the soda fountain, sitting on a stool and drinking a mild hallucinogen known as an LSD frappé.
“How’s the morn, Sorn?” Hake asked, in the slang popular at that time.
“Soft and mazy, Esterhazy,” Marvin replied, giving the obligatory response.
“Du koomen ta de la klipje?” Billy asked. (Pidgin Spanish-Afrikaans dialect was the new laugh sensation that year.)
“Ja, Mijnheer,” Marvin answered, a little heavily. His heart simply was not in the clever repartee.
Billy caught the nuance of dissatisfaction. He raised a quizzical eyebrow, folded his copy of James Joyce Comics, popped a Keen-Smoke into his mouth, bit down to release the fragrant green vapor, and asked, “For-why you burrow?”
The question was wryly phrased but obviously well intended.
Marvin sat down beside Billy. Heavyhearted, yet unwilling to reveal his unhappiness to his lighthearted friend, he held up both hands and proceeded to speak in Plains Indian Sign Language. (Many intellectually inclined young men were still under the influence of last year’s sensational Projectoscope production of Dakota Dialogue, starring Bjorn Rakradish as Crazy Horse and Milovar Slavovivowitz as Red Cloud, and done entirely in gesture.)
Marvin made the gestures, mocking yet serious, for heart-that-breaks, horse-that-wanders, sun-that-will-not-shine, moon-that-cannot-rise.
He was interrupted by Mr Bigelow, proprietor of the Stanhope Pharmacy. Mr Bigelow was a middle-aged man of seventy-four, slightly balding, with a small but evident paunch. Yet he affected boys’ ways. Now he said to Marvin. “Eh, Mijnheer, querenzie tomar la klopje inmensa de la cabeza vefrouvens in forma de ein skoboldash sundae?”
It was typical of Mr Bigelow and others of his generation to overdo the youthful slang, thus losing any comic effect except the pathetically unintentional.
“Schnell,” Marvin said, putting him down with the thoughtless cruelty of youth.
“Well, I never,” said Mr Bigelow, and moved huffily away with the mincing step he had learned from the Imitation of Life show.

Robert Sheckley, Mindswap

the only language named after this (or any other) continent

Ek is ’n Afrikaanse skrywer. Ek skryf in ’n taal wat soos Nederlands is, maar ook nie, inheems aan Afrika, maar ook nie — al is dit die enigste taal vernoem na hierdie (of enige ander) kontinent. Ek skryf in ’n taal wat min uit te waai het met tulpe, windmeulens of simpel sneeumanne met wortelneuse. ’n Taal geslyp om Afrika se skoonheid én sy ongenaakbaarheid te verwoord. “Aardvark”, “veld” en “wildebeest” — hierdie is die woorde wat Afrikaans aan die wêreld gegee het. Ook “trek”, natuurlik. Om te roer, om aan die beweeg te kom, om te swig voor die koors van die horison.

Ek skryf in Afrikaans, ’n taal van swerwers en trekkers wat getrek het eerder as om hulle by Britse heerskappy te berus; wat weer getrek het toe die Britte ook Natal geannekseer het; wat hardkoppig aanhou trek het, maar moes sien hoe die Vrystaat en Transvaal en elke ander droom voor die aanslag van die Empire sneuwel.

En uiteindelik, net toe die rook begin opklaar, net toe dit begin lyk of dinge uiteindelik beter kan gaan, toe pak hierdie swerwers, hierdie godvresende manne en vroue wat “boer” en “spoor” en “commando” en “puff-adder” aan die wêreld gegee het, hul laaste en mees ambisieuse tog aan. Gewapen met die woord “apartheid”, trek hulle weg van hul sinne en van die werklikheid self.

En hierdie ding, hierdie groot “A”, hierdie verskrikking wat hakiesdraad gespan het tussen ons en die enigste land wat ons ooit lief gehad het, sou swerwers van ons almal maak.

Hoe kan ons vergeet van die vryheidsvegters, gedryf tot ballingskap of daardie ander ballingskap vanwaar niemand ooit terugkeer nie? Hoe kan ons vergeet van die vlugtelinge en die aktiviste, gejag deur die Veiligheidspolisie (wie se taktieke natuurlik altyd besonder interessant was)? En wat van die skrywers wat als moes prysgee om van vervolging of teëspoed te ontsnap? Of enige sweem van verwantskap aan hierdie bliksems wat besig was om die land in’n parodie van alles waarin hulle altyd geglo het, te omskep?

En laat ons nie vergeet van die stille meerderheid nie. Hulle wat moes agterbly in’n land wat by die dag meer soos’n vreemde land geword het. Die trekarbeiders met hul passe wat hulle as dwalers in die land van hul herkoms geklassifiseer het. Die haweloses en ontheemdes, maar ook dié wat in ’n soort innerlike ballingskap teruggetrek het; ’n morele stuipe waar die lug nog so blou was soos op televisie, waar duiwe net in koeplette gekoer het, sonder enige verwysings na plakkershutte of barrikades of die obsene gewoer van rubberkoeëls.

En laat ons nie vergeet van die Engelse nie: Oopkop genoeg om hul beleid naamloos te laat bly, en nou verskeurd tussen die hersenskim van Home en hierdie nuwe republiek wat hulle net so entoesiasties onderskryf het as enigiemand anders wat in daardie dae hul kruisies kon trek — alhoewel dit natuurlik deesdae ’n ongewilde feit geword. ’n Soort onaanvaarbare waarheid; iets wat hopelik sal weggaan as niemand dit ooit weer noem nie.

En altyd was daar die Afrikaners, die onverkwiklike, verdwaalde Afrikaners. Hierdie manne en vroue wat met name soos “meerkat” en “boomslang” en “berg” vorendag kon kom (al het hulle die land liewer as woorde gehad) en dit tóg kon regkry om dit in’n vreemdeling te omskep.

Thomas Dreyer, Not Our Leguaan

 
Wordle: Afrikaans

I am an Afrikaans writer. I write in a language that is Dutch but not Dutch, European but not European, African but not African — even though it is the only language named after this (or any other) continent. I write in a language that has little to do with tulips, windmills, or silly snowmen with carrot noses, a language honed to denote Africa in all its harshness, cruelty, and beauty. “Aardvark”, “veld”, and “wildebeest” — these are the words that Afrikaans has given to the world. As is “trek”, of course: to migrate, to get going, to yield to the fever of the horizon. Yes, in the language of the Enterprise, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

I write in Afrikaans, a language of wanderers and migrants, of “trekkers”, who trekked rather than submit to British rule, who trekked again when the British occupied Natal in turn, who kept on doggedly trekking as the Free State and Transvaal and all the other dreams fell to the juggernaut of Empire.

And finally, just when the smoke of war was clearing, just when it seemed that things were finally looking up, just when it seemed that there would be no need of further trekking, these migrants, these god-fearing people who had given the world “Boer” and “spoor” and “commando” and “puff-adder”, embarked on their final and most ambitious journey. Inventing the word “apartheid”, they proceeded to trek away from sanity and even from reality itself.

And this thing, this big A, this abomination that strung barbed wire between us and the only country we ever knew or loved, has made migrants of us all.

How can we forget the freedom fighters, forced into exile or into that other kind of exile from which there can be no return? How can we forget the men and women who had to flee to fight another day, or the activists, harried by the security police (whose tactics were of course always extremely interesting)? And how could we forget the writers who had to abandon everything to escape persecution or hardship or any hint of kinship with these bastards who were turning the country into a parody of all they had ever dreamed of or believed?

But we shouldn’t forget the silent majority either, those who stayed behind, those who suffered in a country that was becoming more and more like a foreign country every day. They were the migrant workers with their passes designating them as temporary sojourners in the country of their birth. They were the vagrants and the dispossessed, but also those who retreated into a kind of inner exile, a moral stupor where the sky was still as blue as it was on TV, where the doves sang exclusively in verse, never mentioning the shacks and the barricades or the obscene whirring of rubber bullets.

There were the English too, lest we forget, who had had the savvy not to give their policies a name and were now torn between memories of Home and this strange new republic which they supported as eagerly as anyone else who was allowed to draw their crosses — though this has become an inconvenient truth of late, a kind of non-fact, something that will hopefully go away if no one mentions it again.

And always there were the cruel and haunted Afrikaners, the beautiful, deluded Afrikaners, these men and women who came up with names like “meerkat” and “boomslang” and “berg”, but loved this country more than words could express and still managed to turn it into a stranger.

Thomas Dreyer, Not Our Leguaan