Posted on: Nov 07, '07
News and East coast history
For the next two months I will be working dayshift South African time. As much as it is nice to spend some time with the family. I regret that I will have little if any time to devote to my beloved writing. I will try to remedy this on Saturdays and Sundays when I might find an hour or two to devote to my favorite pastime of story telling.
For many years I listened as my late father told wonderful stories of the old Kowie stories of the sea and of fishermen who risk there lives to bring home a small pittance to feed there hungry families I remember the first time I arrived at the Kowie the smell of African meallies and beans cooking in a boney meat soup the staple diet of millions of poor South Africans.
The smell of freshly baked bread and ginger beer home made by old woman along the river bank lazy afternoons fishing with my beloved brothers. Which reminds me of one afternoon when m brother Graham and I had been fishing for most of the day on the river bank having consumed a large volume of what killed aunty we fell into slumber a fish of rather large proportions chanced to find my brothers bait the sound of the fishing reel screaming woke us, Graham been startled into wakefulness began to reel the fish in the language which proceeded from his mouth was something to hear for it was proceeded by a great number of curses..
When the great fish finally lay upon the bank finally I asked him why did you curses so much while the fish was been caught
His reply I should have expected for he is the grand son of the man who told his brother not to throw a banana peel into the river lest the boats slip on it, but I digress for his answer was I needed my beauty sleep the fish disturbed it. I replied I quiet understand for I perceive that you do indeed need that sleep which restores your beauty. While my brother Peter loves fishing and wanted the chance to go deep sea fishing at night having traveled from the Transvaal province in the interior of the country we sat for many hours catching sharks and other rubbish drinking beer until eventually I chanced to hook a great ray it felt like I was pulling the plug of the ocean from the depths of the waters it was close to midnight when I eventually had the ray on the surface of the ocean next to the boat well what did he do my beloved brother he hooks with a gaff the dangerous creature into the boat I and the old man who was the skipper preferred then the cold ocean waters on a winter midnight then to share our boat with this creature which makes a most uncomfortable bedfellow a round of screams alerted the beloved brother who then calmly while we tread water in the deep dark ocean sawed off the valuable wings of the ray and threw it back into the ocean to sink to the bottom food for the sharks. It then occurred to the two of use in the water that it was not exactly the safest place to be as sharks of great size patrol these waters in search of a morsel with which to fill there great bellies it was not long before we found ourselves once more aboard the boat dripping but safe to spend the rest of the night shivering unable to sleep trying to keep warm on the cold ocean sea.
The Kowie to us is the river of our origin for it is along the banks of this river that my family for many generations lived and earned there bread and caught there fish the Kowie to us is in a way our life source for in times of trouble members of our family would return to earn a living from the river and the sea into which the river emptied.
The Kowie river which begins its main source at the horseshoe bend near the village of Bathurst, also has a tributary in Grahamstown in the Kowie ditch it was here that Colonel John Graham lead the small force of regular troops of the 95th rifles against tens of thousands of the wild savages who wanted to destroy the small colony which had been started with God’s grace the good colonel overcame the forces of darkness and established the town which is named after him.
The district between Grahamstown stretching down to Port Alfred the town on the banks of the Kowie river is known typically in the Afrikaans language as “Boet n Swaar country” translation Brother and brother in law country for the people of the region are from large families and are usually very closely related to each other so much so that one might find oneself married to a cousin several times removed or in the case of my fathers family brothers and step brothers who also happen to be cousins.
Well that is a littler bit of history about the sea coastal villages and towns of the Eastern Cape of South Africa I will endeavor to update as I am possible I am sure my friend from Canada will find this amusing and it was written in the hope of making him smile and to the rest of my readers I would like to take the time to wish you a happy Dewalli.
Tags: news, life