On our arrival in Dobsonville we were greeted by so many children and neighbours that knew Mitta. She knew I wouldn’t want to do the tourist thing but to experience real life and I sure did. I was so honoured to be invited to their brwai (bbq) and Mittas brother and girlfriend, sister and husband, her nephews and local neighbour joined us. It reminded me of my own family gatherings with my mother when she was alive, everyone competing to be the craziest with their stories (the neighbour in fits of laughter, begged me to come again so that they could have meat again) and even down to squeezing the last remnants of rose out of a wine box.
The township is quiet with lots of older generation, but also lots of grandchildren playing tag and skipping in the street. Mitta took me into about 5 different houses to meet the go go’s (grandmothers) and I had the chance to speak with local community councillors and those who had recently set up allotments and gym projects.
Mandla at the allotments.
So much going on and so much information, I need to save their stories and write them when back in London. I had a wonderful chat with Gloria, Mittas mother and wished I had Taigh with me to film her (he went to a soccer match with Lungi and his friends) . Born in Lesotho and moved to Joburg in 1967, Gloria has never married because the law at that time stated when a woman married their inheritance went straight to the chief of the tribe- and Gloria was having none of that. She was able to buy her house in Dobsonville after it had been burnt – the previous owners had ben anti ANC, She has vivid memories of apartheid, of working for a firm where the ‘blacks’ had to use a different lift. When the lift was broken they had to use the stairs and climb up 12 stories to get to their office. The baker had two separate entrances; ‘whites only’, ‘blacks only’ where Gloria and her friends were able to buy the stale bread saved from the whites only bakery. Suffice to say that when aparthied was overturned, she was able to use the other lift..and did, on the the same day. It’s a big story and I don’t have time to do it justice- I will be reading and talking more about in when back in London.
Mitta photo-bombing a go go….Mitta style.