Just Knock on the Tree
The Odyssey of the Coddiwompling Tortoise – Rozinante – and The Storyteller
(Coddiwomple: to travel in a purposeful manner toward a vague destination.)
Bosman Weekend is a blast
Who was Herman Charles Bosman, really? Nobody seems to know. However, a certain literary society is ensuring we never forget him.
Egbert from the Visitor Information Centre.
Just to recap … Bosman was a South African author who earned his place in history by writing about the local characters in the North West province’s farming area of the Marico. His tales are legend there, as well as to a great many disciples elsewhere. The Herman Charles Bosman Literary Society, based in Groot Marico, is ensuring the memory of this famous man lives on forever by honouring him with an annual weekend.
I had been determined not to miss the 26th anniversary. I waived the Friday night session but was there bright and early on Saturday morning to register with other enthusiasts, queuing up near the Bosman Living Museum – a replica of the small schoolhouse in which the author taught. Excitement was in the air as we breakfasted in the sunny courtyard and made new Bosman pals.
Tim Sandham reflects on where the author’s loyalties lay.
First-up was author, Tim Sandham, chewing the fat about the age-old debate of whether Bosman was an Englishman or an Afrikaner, as both these sectors of our society wish to claim him as their own.
‘He wrote about us!’ say the Afrikaners.
‘But he wrote in English, therefore he’s one of us!’ the English speakers remonstrate. It’s an amusing conjecture.
Did the clues emerge in Bosman’s writing? We’ll never really know. Tim says ‘Bosman was a riddle wrapped inside an enigma, wrapped inside a Tswana blanket’. Bosman had the gift of highlighting the poignancy of a situation and as his Boer Wars’ stories so sadly demonstrated, war pits neighbour against neighbour. Nobody really wins, so perhaps it’s high time we buried the hatchet and just shared this talented man for his wonderful writing.
Children from the Thusanang Early Learning Centre.
Suddenly, all the chairs were being rearranged and it was time to watch a group of magnificently-dressed children from the Thusanang Early Learning Centre perform ballroom steps – their outfits echoing miniature brides and grooms normally seen atop a wedding cake.
Ben urges the dancers to watch carefully so they execute the steps correctly.
Ben and Sarie Raubenheimer made a striking couple as they demonstrated the traditional boere danse (farmers’ dances), to such catchy music it gave the audience itchy feet, which was just as well because once we’d seen them do it, everyone was expected to join in. The confusion with the steps made for a lot of laughter as people stumbled and mis-stepped before the stoic Ben showed them how to do it, again and again. The temperature was 37 degrees but a lot of fun was had by all.
John plays his virginal as Frederika, a visitor from Germany, ensures the music doesn’t blow away.
Inside the church, the classical notes of Johann Sebastien and CPE Bach, Domenico Scarlatti, Jean-Baptiste Loeilet, Bela Bartok and Erik Satie were beautifully rendered by two very talented gentlemen.
John Reid Coulter played the harpsichord and a virginal (a member of the harpsichord family). John is one of South Africa’s leading exponents of historical performance practice and he has taught at various universities and performed in the Netherlands, Norway, Germany, Japan and Canada. He is well known as an adjudicator at music festivals.
Born in Johannesburg, Paulus Van der Merwe played with the SABC Symphony Orchestra before being appointed as principle oboist by the NDR Symphony Orchestra in Hamburg, where he is still playing today. He has been principle oboist of the Wagner Festival Orchestra in Bayreuth since 1990 and is a regular guest in major orchestras worldwide. Paulus is Professor for Oboe at the Hochschule fur Musik in Hamburg.
Paulus tells the audience a little about the simple mouth bow before playing for the crowd.
Outside, I nimbly avoided Johan Jordaan, who was trying to ply me with mampoer liqueur at a mampoer tasting. One miniscule portion of that shudderingly-strong stuff and I doubt I would remember much of the weekend at all. I wanted to be very on the ball to watch the artist, Bill McGill, painting.
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