That saturday afternoon, in Burger’s park, I am – you know me – doing nothing special at all. Just wandering around, doodling, enjoying this little bit of nature in down-town Pretoria. I choose to sit in the grass, try to capture the shape of a lady passer-by. Failing. Switching to a tree. Failing too, surprisingly. Then someone comes to meet me. This is Edith. She was sitting ten meters from there, with a chommie (that is, her friend), and some boy too.
She’s curious about the drawing. I quickly make sure to convince her that there’s not much to admire there. She’s curious about me coming from France. Although… she doesn’t really have any idea about that country. Only she would like to come and visit. She would like to see the world.
everywhere is fighting, fighting
I tell her about what just happened in Paris, at the time. The terrorist attacks. How I can’t help being worried about home. She says there is no country where people truly live in peace.
Edith is indeed drowned in melancholy today. She just lost her job. She had been a trainee at a restaurant for a few weeks already, when some manager there showed up, decided to get rid of her for no reason. A deep feeling of injustice and absurd is overwhelming her. At this time she feels like life here in South Africa will aways be like that. Rebellion and fatalism are sharing the remainings of her broken heart. In my sketchpad, she stops at Chris’s drawing.
I tell Edith about the little I have travelled in South Africa. Of how proud I am to have bought Mopane worms many years ago, in Tohoyandou, Venda. Mopane worms are a kind of large, fat moths that live on a specific tree, and that people collect when the season comes, and savour.
In my case, I didn’t know how to cook them though.
Over there, her friend is calling.
” — What are you doing?
— I’m drawing!”
And the chommie comes to join us. With the smile of a witty mouse on her face. Hello, I’m Winkiiey.With two ‘i’.
We chat more. In the background, the playground’s swing is squeaking. How happy those kids seem to be! Innocent and carefree! When you’re a kid, the only thing you worry about is food.
food and toys
Now is time to go. Where? To a place where hearts don’t get broken. Is there such a place?
they play with us and they leave us with a broken heart