Wednesday, September 19, 2007


At around two in the afternoon my phone rang "Gummie bears" at me.
"Hallo" I answered and heard a bit of a spitting sound on the other end of the line and then my moms voice.
"Lee; Johaness is dead, I found him"
I responded with shock and dismay.

I am relating this to you to illustrate how random life is. And because talking and writing is my way of venting.
Since this happened yesterday the deamons that croud my mind are still roudy and lifely enough to make an impression.

Let me start at the verry beging.
Johaness is our gardener or "estate manager" as my dad used to call him.
He came to us 15 years ago looking for employment.
Johanness had grown up on a farm in "Hamanskraal" and had no formal education in his life.
He had grown up pre 1994 and perhaps his life was the result of the turbulant political climate of the time.
He was not a young man then and I will never forget Johaness solemly promising that he did not take to the drink and limited himself to one beer a day. We would latter establish that he infact did limit himself to 30 beers a month but neglected to mention his tendancy to consume al 30 beers in the 2 days after pay day.
My dad, having the strange sens of humar he did, found this very amusing and accepted the fact that Johaness was useless for at least the first 5 days after pay day.

Johaness spent a good chunk of his life on our plot and after he burnt the house he had built for himself down around him, my mother promptly moved him into a more stable, less flamible residance nearer to our house, so that she could keep an eye on him and make sure that he doesnt kill himself.

Johanes's favourite pas time was sawing wood.
He enjoyed this, above all, because it was work he could do sitting down and when the need arose he could rest his head on the bow saw for forty winks.
Naturally he would jump up and attack the wood with vigour the moment my moms car entered the driveway.

At some point my mother forced him to take leave as the law required it.
15 days of leasure were apointed to him and he was sent to his kaya (house) to serve them.
With Little grace Johaness retired to his enforced leave and we did not see him for a day.
On the second day he took a long strole around the garden and weeded here and there as whent (my mom also stopped him from weeding latter as he didn't know the diferance between a weed and a flower)
By the third day he was back at his wood chopping post swearing at every mention of leave that was suggested.
Something about damning the government to hell... and all that.

Mom also installed a coal stove in his house to make cooking easier on the old man.
the novilty of the contraption never caught on and he draged the drum fire back inside and proceeded the way he always had.

When he got sick mom took him to the doc who sugested he be put in hospital for observation.
Johanes registered his distaste in this sugestion by spitting and swearing at the doc.
I have never in my life understood a word the old zulu said as he has a verry high pitched voice and speakes a mix of afrikaans and zulu at the speed of summer lightning.
However my mom left the doc's room red faced with a perscription with the Johaness in tow shaking his head and waving his arms furiosly.
My dad thought that this was grand sport.

When Dad died, Johaness tore his cloths and cried as hard as any of us, before disapearing into the bushes for three days.
In a way I feel most sorry for him.
My dad had provided work and a home for him, he had no other family or familiers other than our family and he never registed as important in the moarning stages. After dad's death.
My mom gave Johaness my dad's old militry uniform and Johaness wore it ever Sunday after that.

A little while ago Johaness was forced into retirement.
My mom did not have the heart to make him move off the property as he had nowhere to go and no family or friends to take care of him.
She helped him open a bank acount to save his pention.
She bought his food making sure that he had meat and veggies.
When he had saved enough my mom helped him buy a bycicle.

However time was starting to weigh heavy on the body of a man who knew nothing of the world.
Johaness developed very high blood presure and respetory problems. Naturally he refused the hospital and my mom had to show him how to use an asthma pump.

On Thursday last week my mom and Hilton left for Durban Mom said goodbey to him and left him with strickt instructions as to when and how to take his med's.

On Saturday DW and walked around his house and herd his TV playing.
We presumed he was fine

Yesterday my mom when to greet the old man and give him some special meat she had braught from Upingtone and found him dead.

Mom said hes face had started to melt and mortify.
the coriner said he must have been dead for 4 days by then.

We are arranging for him to be buiried but there is no body to tel.


etain_lavena said...

AAAAGGGGG I am sorry babe, its sad, we had Oupa sparks, I never knew his real name but because he was so Sparky we always called him oupa sparks....he was old when he started working with us and he swore like a full sentance only swear words in one...and everything was cfuked up, we laughed and loved him too....shame he also dissapeared we never heard from his family, but he must also be resting now.

rest in peace Johaness.


Nosjunkie said...

Thanks Etain HUN.
DW and I were taking about how screwed up it is that, being Afrikaans, feeling sorry for him and being sad about his death is frowned upon.
You know what I mean

etain_lavena said...

hope your good.