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A day at the beach

There are not many things nicer in this life than lying on a warm beach with your eyes closed and listening to the sea whispering in your ear.

I felt like a king lying in the soft sand in my pink swimming trunks and with my new “one-way” mirror sunglasses. I thought of my chommies back at the office in Jo’burg and laughed. They never believed I would save enough money to have a holiday in Durban. But I showed them!

After a little nap, I got up slowly and went to cool off in the big, blue sea. People of all colours, shapes and sizes were playing in the water. All of Africa was there for a dip and a flip.

Modimo must have been very happy to see such peace and happiness. Alles was rustig en vrydig in sonnige Suid Afrika…but not for long.


A group of women marched down on to the beach. Some of them were carrying wooden crosses under their arms. There was something about their faces that told me they were not happy like everyone else at the beach.

I watched as the women dug make believe graves in the sand and put the crosses on top. Then I heard someone say that the women were from the Black Sash — and they had come to protest the killing of four people by the SADF in Botswana a few days before.

The women stood next to the graves and said a silent prayer. Then they left the beach, leaving the crosses standing in the sand.

I was deeply touched by what the Black Sash mothers did. I looked at the crosses and thought about all the lives that have been lost in the name of a madness called apartheid. I sat there and wondered if Magnus ‘Rambo’ Malan and his soldiers would ever see the light.

Just then a big umlungu, with two tree trunks for legs and a big stomach that comes from drinking too many dumpies, ran up to the graves. Grunting like a wild pig, he pulled all four crosses out of the sand — and then he ran to throw them into the sea.

But the crosses did not want to go away. The sea washed them back to the shore. The big mlungu picked up the crosses and once again threw them back into the sea. People laughed and cheered as the crosses kept coming back to his feet.

Like a man who has lost his mind from drinking too much mampoer, the mlungu started jumping on the wooden crosses. Some other laanies liked what he was doing and joined him in his wild dance. They jumped up and down on the crosses until all that was left were tiny pieces of wood.

The big man then saw that someone from a newspaper was taking pictures of him. He became very angry. Growling like a mad dog, he ran after the photographer. But the woman with the camera was too fast for him. She escaped into the crowd and lived to see another day.

I looked at the big bobbejaan and decided that I did not want to share the same beach with people like him. I picked up my things and walked away without looking back.


After a long walk, I found a nice spot on another beach. I lay down, closed my eyes, and tried to get back into the holiday spirit. Slowly I fell into a world of sleep and dreams.

But not for long. I was woken by aloud voice.

“Hey, what are you doing here? This beach is for whites only. Blacks are not allowed to swim here, especially ones who are as black as you. Loop Jong!”

I turned around and saw a giant of a man with bright red eyes and teeth that were brown from too many Texan plains. He was standing right over me, and I could see the hair growing out of his nose.

I looked him straight in the eye. I wanted to tell him that all the beaches belonged to God and that I too am a son of God. But I kept quiet. Maybe it was the size of his hairy arms — or maybe I felt that I would be wasting my time because the badness of his blood runs so deep.

My tongue was dry and my heart was heavy. I felt like Allen ‘Sorry my baas’ Hendrikse, the ‘coloured’ minister who serves in the kitchen at parliament. He too once went for a swim on a whites only beach — and then ran to makhulu-baas P. W Botha to say he was sorry.

Once again, I picked up my things. Enough was enough for one day. I could no longer stand the beach bullies and the people who hate crosses and black people. “Speedie, is this really good for you?” I asked myself, thinking of home sweet home in eGoli.

Then and there I decided that I will not go back to Durban until the beach is open for everyone. A sea that is not for all is not for me!


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