Thursday, October 2, 2008

2008. Apartheid SA - NZ: Keas, Coons an' Boons

1996. Jake Esslemont at a Cuboree, Hagley Park, Christchurch

In September 2008, as a birthday treat, I drove wife Leah up Porters Pass to Porter Heights ski resort, where our sons had learnt to ski. At the cafe we watched keas, alpine parrots hopping about in the snow, begging for food scraps. At the carpark we read "Don't Feed Keas" signs, warning about begging keas not feeding naturally, and wrecking parked cars by pecking mirrors, window-linings and tyres.

In the 1960s, I'd been a Trafalgar Sea Cub at Durban North Primary and a Trafalgar Sea Scout at St. Martins Anglican Church, Chelsea Drive. In the 1990s, son Jake had been a cub in East London SA. After emigrating, Jake joined Kea cubs in Halswell, Christchurch, NZ. Jake went on a Cuboree in Hagley Park Christchurch, where he camped with hundreds of Keas. Luke also was a Kea.

After Durban Christmas 1973, I drove mom through the karoo to Cape Town where we stayed at a posh whitey hotel off Adderley Street. On New Years Eve, thousands of drunk coloureds descended on the CBD, celebrating New Year by polishing Kapies' and whiteys' faces with shoe polish. Even whitey cops' faces were daubed with boot polish. I saw a Kapie stick his arm through a SAP cop van window, snatch a cop cap and dart into the cheering mob. Outside a whitey restaurant, I saw a terrified white girl sobbing on the pavement after laughing Kapies had daubed her face with black boot polish. (I too became an honourary Kapie). Her swearing whitey boyfriend was helpless against sniggering Kapies.

On New Years Day, I watched teams of coloured "Coons" dressed up in carnival costumes, capering along Cape Town streets to a stadium to compete in the Coon Carnival. They sang songs like "January, February, March..." and "Daar kom die
Alibama..." As drunk "Coons" weren't allowed in the stadium, I watched a big, fat coloured cop
donner a drunk "Coon" by the gate.

1974. Coon Carnival, Cape Town

In the afternoon I drove mom along Chapmans Peak Drive, where we watched baboons begging for food scraps from motorists. We read "Don't Feed Baboons" signs, as baboons became aggressive beggars reliant on whiteys for food...

1974. Coon Carnival, Cape town

During my apartheid life, words like rooinek, soutie, soutpiel, Engelsman, umlungu, rockspider, hairyback, japie, plaasjapie, Boer, Dutchman, Afrikaner-vrot-banana, Engelse-Dutchman, hotnot, hottie, gamat, coolie, charra, chillipip, coon, kaffir, bonehead, munt, zot, pekkie, monkey, baboon were racist pejoratives, and were still used in SA long after apartheid, with variations like cane-cutter, shitskin, slopehead, boon, k4 and more...

Thankfully our sons grew up in Christchurch NZ without those hateful words.

14-15/10/08 Donkey riding: Faction fighting continued in the ANC, with Mbeki fans Terror Mosioua Lekota and Mluleki George (former defence and deputy defence ministers) suspended from the ANC, while over 50 people were murdered per day, and over 50 babies and children were raped per day in SA. Lekota and George wished to form a new political party opposed to Zuma and his demons. "Suffer the children..." while Lekota and George waved palm branches, singing "Hallelujah" to the new messiah. (IOL and I Luv SA blog).

2006. Vervet Monkeys, SA (Vincent)

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

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