RURAL REFLECTIONS // THAT TIME I RODE IN A RURAL STALLION

I spent most of my holiday visiting my grandmother and my uncle who live in a beautiful quiet village called Tyeni on the banks of the Mbashe River near Clarkebury.  I wrote about my trip on Facebook and people so enjoyed the stories that I thought I should share them here.  Here’s the first post about getting to Tyeni. 

I’m feeling very far from my regular life today. I’m at a 4 day old taxi rank in a little town called iDutywa halfway between Mthatha and Butterworth. I’m en route to my grandmother’s house in Tyeni deep in Ngcobo. I’m in one of those lorry taxi’s that are usually packed with everything from packets of milie meal, live sheep and people’s lives inside Ghana Must Go bags, which in this region are called “ooNo Problem”. I’m sandwiched between an elderly driver and another old man wearing a reflector vest, a cheque shirt and brown chinos. His shoes are off and the car reeks of feet that have walked in the day’s 37 degree heat. He’s pretty friendly and we spent the first hour of our acquaintance talking about history. My uncle, who is responsible for our traveling in this way is in the back of the mini lorry captivating the back passengers with his oratory. When we arrived at the rank he said, holding my hand. “mtshana, you are always writing about how black people live from your comfortable life in joburg, come and see how black people live”. Nyani, this place is indescribable and it would be a shame for me to try when I’ve only been here for 2 and a half hours. At that point 2 police cars came into the small rank yard with blue lights, harassing vendors who were used to trading at the main taxi rank until Monday when the police swept all of them out. Nobody flinched but the flies. At that point I needed to use the toilet and naively asked my uncle for the toilet. He looked at me and said where, when these people’s heads are still spinning from being relocated? We then walked around town until we found a municipal toilet. It costs R1 to use the toilet despite the fact that it’s a public building. People get arrested for releaving themselves in the street so some resort to petty thefts just to be able to use the toilet amongst other things. I squatted over the toilet, which wasn’t bad and looked up to read the handwritten graffiti on the door. “Ningamaxelegu maspala waseMbhashe” and “Imisunu yenu rhulumente” are two that I remember. We walked back to the car and waited for it to fill up, which it did eventually. We are now on our way to Tyeni at the exhilarating speed of 50km per hour!

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