I grew up on a remote farm. Farms in SA are gigantic and our house was surrounded by bush interspersed with apple orchards. There were plenty of snakes, large spiders, baboons and leopards around.
In those days, farms made use of black migrant workers from places like Transkei. My father would spend days driving there in a huge truck to collect them off the streets and bring them back to the farm. Before you ask; farm labour is carried out by blacks and browns in SA. That’s just the way it is. At that time, niggers still knew their place.
On this farm, the niggers (males only) were housed in dormitories about 3km from our house. The browns (people of Hottentot, Khoi and Bushman heritage) were housed with their families about 1km from the black dorms. The two did not get on or mix whatsoever. One time some strange browns and blacks came onto the farm and threatened my father; the brown labourers saved him by chasing the trespassers away. It was a different time. My father (without any training) delivered all their babies because we were too far from a doctor (let alone a hospital).
So this is where I learned about the Tokolosh, but I’ll save that for another story. This one is about how the niggers casually killed one of their own one weekend and were courteous enough to come and tell us they were going to do it.
On weekends, my parents would take a siesta. I would play outside in the sun with my dogs which were also our watchdogs. I recall an underlying feeling of unease and fear from a young age. If the dogs suddenly started barking, I would flee into the house and wake my parents because it was usually the case that the niggers were coming to our house to get my dad to break up a fight or to nurse an ugly head wound – they were always stabbing and chopping at each other. If it was browns it was more likely that he had to deliver a baby or something like that.
So this particular Sunday afternoon, the dogs started barking. I ran inside, locked the doors and peered from behind a curtain. There was a group of about 10 black men with sticks, spears and machetes. They remained some distance from the house because of our dogs. I woke my dad. I stood at a distance listening to the conversation, which went something like this: Boss, we’ve just come to let you know we are going to kill Lungawo (one of the black workers)”.
My dad asked why. “He’s been casting spells on our food to try and kill us, so we will kill him first.” There was no reasoning with them, off they went to hunt down Lungawo who had fled into the bush.
My dad jumped in his SUV and drove around the farm trying to find Lungawo before they got to him. Some parts of the farm you could only reach on foot and he searched there too. It started getting dark and still no sign of my dad. It got late and still no sign. In the early hours of the morning, he came in exhausted. He had found Lungawo’s corpse by the roadside where they had beaten him to death.
The next day, they all turned up for work on time like nothing had happened.