beautiful babies by the pool


This is a cloudy Sunday afternoon in Pretoria. I have been waiting for the A Re Yeng bus for ten good minutes now. A wrinkled, weather beaten man comes and starts talking to me in Afrikaans. He drags along a worn-out leather bag from which a towel is hanging out. Crossing the road comes another man, also wrinkled, scruffy and smiling, his friend as I understand.

The first man’s name is Kobus and his mate here is Chris. Kobus asks me how come I am not with my girlfriends. The “babies”. Is it because I study too much?

He himself had many beautiful women in his life, who brought him many beautiful problems. He divorced two and is still married with one.

“I’m not old” he says. “My hair is gray, but I am not old. This is all because of women. What you can do for a p***y.”

He pulls his gray hair.

Yes, he’s fine with drawing something.


A young black guy walks by and Kobus and Chris drag him to take a picture together. “Come here my friend, how are you? Long time no see.” Of course he doesn’t know them at all.

This is all very cheerful but when I switch on the recorder, Kobus takes a deep breath.

I nod. “Life is hard”.

“Oh no, my life is good now. I like my life.”

“Alright”, I say, ” life is good but it’s a fight.”

He gives me a broad smile.

“Ah, me I don’t fight everyday. Today is Sunday, I just relax. Now I’m going to sit by the pool. Sunnyside swimming pool, you know it? It’s only five rands to enter. Lots of beautiful babies there.”

And here comes my bus. I shake hands. Chris has a farewell word for me.


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