‘Dis meeting is now called to order!’
‘Hei, wiet vir djou di baas gemaak? Hou djou bek, in djou moer in!’
Abdol, the Civic Association leader looks around. ‘Who said dat? Who? Djou t’ink I’s scared of djou?’
One strapping fellow gets up. ‘Djus’ because Marius Fransman makes djou de leader doesn’ mean djou is de leader. Djy is kak!’
Raucous laughter erupts at this sally, and Abdol looks around at all the toothless faces laughing hysterically. ‘If dat’s how djou feels, den djou can sommer fin’ someborry else, in djou moer in!’
‘Nei, nei, wait man, we’s mos on’y teasing djou! Djou’s mos like our elected leader!’
He looks over the crowd, then gathers the shreds of his dignity again. ‘Okay, can dis meeting come to order now?’
I t’ought we’s supposed to wait for Marius Fransman?’ says one.
‘Dese ous is always late, so we can start now, an’ when he come, den we can let him talk.’
‘Nei, daai’s lekker,’ says the speaker, and everyone else nods in agreement.
‘Okay, dis isa problem we mos got here. Da gengs is making big trouble an’ we gorra do something, or dey’s jus’ gonna carry on, an’ if we moer da gengs, den the police mos make kak for us. So what mus’ we do?’
The hall erupts in suggestions, none of which can be heard above the clamour. One wizened old man, with a face like a walnut and bright little eyes has his hand up without saying anything. Abdol fixes on him.
His eyebrows shoot up and his little eyes widen. ‘Boesman?! Djou ma se meit se merrem se moer! Boesman!’ He shakes his head angrily. ‘Ken djy van ancestors?’
Abdol nods warily. ‘Dja?’
‘Wel, my ancestors sit in a glass cage innie Museum. Djou ancestor staan oppie Forsehore, ennie voels kak op sy kop!’ Raucous laughter erupts at this statement and Abdol stands helplessly looking on. How is he supposed to run a meeting?
He waits for relative quiet, and says to the assembly. ‘Djou know, I dirren ask for dis djob, djous ous mos asked me to do dis djob, now djou give me kak!’
‘Nei, sorry, ou pung!’ one of them calls out. ‘Le’s mos make dis meeting.’
‘Okay, so what we gunna do about da gengs?’
‘We cetch dem when dey’s still laaities, den we bliksem dem straight, an’ we tell dem if dey djoin de gengs, dere’s gunna be big kak!’
Abdol shakes his head. ‘Den da cops mos make kak for us!’
‘Nei, ou pung! If dey doesn’ know abourit, den how can dey make kak? We greb de laaities and we t’reaten dem, and if dey djoin a geng, we bliksem dem broken.’ There’s widespread agreement and murmuring for this suggestion.
Abdol says, ‘So da’s what we gunna do, neh, jus’ warn dem an’ bliksem dem? Warrabout de grownup gengsters? Warra we gunna do wit’ dem?’
‘Purra blerrie tire aroun’deir necks, den dey cen bugger off somewhere else!’
Abdol looks at these men, men he’s largely grown up with, and nods approvingly. They’ve managed to come up with a winning solution! Just then, Marius Fransman and his entourage arrive. Abdol stands aside and makes space at the podium for the dignitary.
‘We, de ANC, cares deeply about de people of Manenberg, an’ all de people of dis country, da’s mos why I’m here, to create a solution for djour problems.’
The crowd murmurs in what seems to be a respectful tone. Fransman carries on at length about the problem and finally, after half an hour proposes the solution. ‘We are going to put three more police officers in de Manenberg police Station, dat will help, cause de gengsters will see det we mean business!’
He gets a polite round of applause and stands next to Abdol for a photo, then disappears with his entourage, after shouting, ‘Amandla!’
After he’s gone, Abdol turns back to his assembled audience. ‘What a doos!’ he says, to uproarious laughter.
‘Okay, dat’s da meeting over! Who’s gorra wine?
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