From Eric Sommer :
Only South Africans can appreciate this story (or those who’ve lived here a long time)
On Sunday I popped down to the local convenience store at the Engen service station to return some DVDs and pick up a few things. On the way I passed a scrap metal cart being pulled by a donkey. Whenever I see this sight I feel the same as I do at the scene of a car accident – I really, really don’t want to look but some awful compulsion always makes me have a quick glance to ascertain the state of the poor beast of burden.
I was standing in the check-out queue waiting to pay when my attention was drawn by a sudden burst of noise and activity outside on the forecourt. Through the window I saw that donkey and cart were pulled up alongside the pumps for “refuelling”. The donkey had its nose in the watering can generally used to top up cars, and the cart passenger was swabbing down the poor creature’s sweaty flanks with the squeegee thing usually used to clean windscreens and score a bigger tip. The driver and passenger were having an extremely loud and colourful conversation, none of which I could understand apart from the “voks” and “jou ma” comments, but which must have been extremely funny judging by the toothless guffaws.
The terrible misuse of the squeegee caused one of the (bored and almost lifeless) pump attendants to amble across lethargically to this comic tableau and confiscate the item. There followed an incomprehensible diatribe accompanied by lots of hand gestures which ended with the attendant shambling reluctantly back to the cashier window and mumbling a long story, at which the cashier shrieked indignantly and told him “nee man, hulle moet vok off”. She then explained to her intrigued audience that the donkey would only move away from the pumps if it was given some apples.
It seemed obligatory to donate the bag of apples I had just purchased for my son. This was met with huge toothless grins, much bowing and God Bless You Merrems. As I returned to my car I had the happy honour of over-hearing the donkey being told loudly that it must be the “most vokking fency-schmency blerrie vokking perd on the whole of the Cape-Flats, eating epples from vokking Woolwurths”.