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The true story of Jan van Riebeeck

23 December 2013, 09:49

The three ships stopped a distance from shore and a score or more of men got into a rowing boat and made their way to shore. ‘Mijn naam is Jan van Riebeeck,’ said one of them getting out of the boat into the shallow water and smiling, to show his friendly intentions.

Ths Strandloper looked up at him and said, ‘Watse kak praat djy in djou moer in?’

‘Wat heeft hij zeg?’ said Jan van Riebeeck. (Okay, this is where I take a bit of licence and have Jan van Riebeeck speak English, the way they do in movies. I’ll even use an accent. The problem is, if I write it in Dutch, most of the readers won’t understand it, and the ones who do will accuse me of butchering the language.)

Seeing as the ANC has seen fit to emasculate, alter and butcher our history, I have decided to remedy matters by relating events as they happened. Jan van Riebeeck was a genuine historical figure and existed as surely as Zion does. He just chose not to bore the pants off people.

On with the story.

‘I sink, Zir,’ said the lieutenant, in his best imitation of a Dutch accent, ‘zat he is sayink he does not understand us.’

Jan van Riebeeck (hereinafter referred to as Jan) thought, for a moment of shouting, then realised he wasn’t English. ‘My – name– is – Jan – van – Riebeeck,’ he said slo-o-o-owly.

For the sake of those not versed in Capie speech, I’ll use a form of English here as well. ‘Nei, ou pung, djy praat nog kak, in djou moer in. What did djew mos say?’

Jan came walking onto the beach, and the Strandlopers stood their ground. ‘Ve haff come here to make a garden, so zat ze sailors, when zey come around ze Cape, can haff fresh water and fruit and vegetables.’ Okay, smart-ass, you do a better Dutch accent!

‘Okay, let I unnersten’, neh? You wanna plant mos a garden? Des all?’

‘Ja, ve want to make a garden, and build for ourselves a fort; a place to live for me and my men and my vife, Maria.’

‘Djulle wit mense is almal mal in djulle koppe. Okay, djew can plant a garden, but djew not going to do warrat Porra, Vesco da Gama did, an’ open a fish an’ tjips s’hop?’ His bright little eyes looked quizzically up out of his walnut face.

‘Vat is being fish en tjips?’

‘Dey mos take potatoes an’ cut dem up into tjips, den dy cook dem in oil wirra fis’,’ He shook his head. ‘Det stuff is so lekker we can’ eat nutting else, en he tjarge us plenty, so we tjase him mos away, an’ he never com beck again.’ He sighed heavily. ‘Hey! But we miss det fis’ an’ tjips!’

‘Okay,’ he says. ‘Djew can plant da gardens up dere…’ he points to the slopes of Table Mountain. ‘An’djew cen build djour fort over dere …’ he points off to the left.

Well, before you knew it, the Dutch had built themselves a fort, mostly of logs and mud, and started a garden just where Janneman said they should. But it wasn’t too long before the excreta hit the fan and, fans being hand held in those days, it didn’t travel very far.

The Hottentots arrived. ‘Wharra yell is going on yere?!’

A Captain rode down to meet them. ‘And who are you?’

‘Who are we?! Is djy mal in djou moer in? Did is our possie what djew mos took. Who tol’djew djew cen take it?’

‘Janneman, he haff said ve can take it, and look what a beautiful for ve haff build and gardens, are zey not beautiful?’

‘Janneman gave dis to djew? If I see him, I stick a knife in his poephol. Sy mae se *&%$!’ He looked around but there was no sign of Janneman or any of the Strandlopers. ‘Let I tol’ djew, neh? Dis len’ belongs to us, not Janneman! Janneman se moer!’

He looked wildly around. ‘Dere, dat fort whut djew build? Des mos where we live! Neow wharra we going to do?’

‘Ve vill help you build a new settlement up behind the fort, where you’ll be safe. Zere, up on ze side of zat beautiful mountain, ve vill build you anozzer settlement.’

Gatiepie looked up on the mountainside a bit doubtfully, but he could see they couldn’t win this one. ‘So djew goin to yelp us build heowses?’

‘No, ve will not help you build, ha ha ha! Ve vill give you ze land!’

‘Give us da len’!’ Gatiepie’s eyes were almost out on stalks by this time. ‘Djou ma se moer! Dis is our len’, an’ djew mos want to give it to us?!’ He waved his arms around. ‘Djew see all dis len’? All dis len’ belong to us, neow djou wanto say djew going to give us dis len?’ He walked off muttering, his tribe following him. Go on a fishing expedition and when you come back, this!

Now this is not something you’ll find in the history books, because it’s all been erased. The victors write the history. So Jan van Riebeeck, if he existed, was just an interloper, the Xhosa and the Zulus were at the Cape long before anyone else, but it was so windy, they decided to go back to Transkei and KwaZulu-Natal.

Then the English arrived with their red uniforms and tried to chase the Dutch off, but as you know, all white people, be they English or Dutch, are cowards, and they shot the Xhosas and Zulus when they tried to kill them.

But the glorious ANC, under the leadership of Kameleonise, chased the whites out of their jobs and made sure that they, and they alone, would run this country. Or ruin, I always mix them up.

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