A Small Boy

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He wanders the dust of the Highveld, away from the bright city lights. He had come far to escape the chaos. He has no destination, simply the voices of a thousand children in his mind. They speak silly words; no adjectives or lavish teachings evident from private school attendance (whites only.) Knowledge is reserved for the pale; it is their right as superior beings. They remain uneducated; a lost generation. Yet, their cry was simple. The government had not granted them the tools to embellish or emboss so they spoke only the truth, calling out for the language which had tickled their ears with a clicking melody from the day they had entered the oppressed land they are told is not their home. He continues walking, a steady stroll and hears his rhythmical footsteps harmonise with the feeble beats of his broken heart.
He continues to ignore the warmth which had gathered on his abdomen over the past two days. The red stain stuck mercilessly to his tainted body. His parents were dead, taken into police custody where they both fell down the stairs. He thought the stairs must be mighty slippery for so many people to keep falling down them and wandered why the police station even had stairs. He knew it was only two buildings on top of each other that needed stairs, but reminded himself that white people were indeed strange. His brother had also fallen down when the fat, white men with big guns had pushed him. “Run brother, run!” He had told him, “There is nothing left for you here my brother.” And so he had run, miles and miles before he was brave enough to stop. Before he was sure that his surroundings were clear of the fat, white men with guns.
He sat down and watched the African sun set over the soil he was born in. The land his ancestors had ploughed with their bare hands before the white man had arrived with their big boats filled with their peculiar ways and hatred. The Fynbos rubbed tenderly against his tear-stained cheeks attempting to offer him one last gesture of comfort as he knew he had no one left in the world. He was a chore; another black child for the police to persuade to the world never existed. Missing, presumed dead, possibly never alive.
“Pa, pa! Come quick! There’s someone here, in the bushes.”
“Piet, what have I told you about interrupting me while I’m working.”
“But Pa, there really is someone there, I think he is sleeping so I didn’t wake him up.”
Francois Pretorious had lived on this farm all his life. His Father had taught him how to herd the sheep and how to tell when rain was coming but never in his life had his father prepared him to find a dead black boy, no older than the 8 or 9, 500 yards from his house and on June 18th 1976 this is precisely what he came across. A numbness overcame his physicality and he was unable to move or speak. “Wie is hy, Pa?”
“Sy’s niemand,” Francois replied gruffly attempting to once again imprison the feelings of humanity he had forgotten he had ever had. “Piet, fetch your Pa a shovel.”





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