Train stories:Part 2

As soon as I entered the carriage this morning I couldn't help but notice there was a conversation that was happening that I couldn't be a part of. So I decided to eavesdrop instead. It was a group of "mamas" (older black women who remind me of my mother and aunts) who decided their conversation was going to dominate the morning's train ride. I heard their voices but throughout the trip I never saw their faces. I couldn't tell what they were wearing, I couldn't tell if they were beautiful, plain or had troubled looks upon their faces.

They were talking about the murder in Khayelitsha. The story goes that a bar/tavern owner of a place called Emaplangeni (in Litha Park, Khayelitsha), opened fire after an altercation broke out amongst the customers. I haven't followed the story, but I glanced at it in yesterday's Cape Times. The mamas expressed their disbelief at the whole incident. One contributed an interesting piece of information: the fight isn't as bizarre as people think it is. She used the word esmokolweni (a tavern) and explained that when someone spills a beer esmokolweni it's some kind of code where they are challenging someone for a fight, a duel. The other mamas were aghast and protested that surely somone must have apologised in order to prevent the owner from opening fire on innocent people.

The conversation ended abruptly when the train reached Newlands station. All the mamas got off and took their interesting conversation with them. There was a sudden silence in the carriage. I ended up glancing at the young girl sitting next to me. She was knitting socks, using 4 knitting needles. It was equally fascinating but I'm sure she was wondering why I was staring at her. I decided against reading my book because I had two stations left and I could miss Harfield station if I became too absorbed in the book and find myself in Kenilworth instead.


Anonymous said…
nice account. tragic life of ekasi!

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