Winner 2000: Swinging Iron Under the Jacaranda Tree

2008-07-22 00:00

The grey-haired street vendor displayed his wares on a low table behind his garden wall, using the wall itself for extra shelf space. The first thing that caught my eye was the red handle. I recognised the clothes iron and a wash basket full of memories glowed into life. I curled my fingers around the long-forgotten shape and lifted the iron to rest on the palm of my left hand. Moving aside the catch, I raised the lid.

Some 40 minutes later the latter part of it fairly dusty you would be in Pata. Family plots there were large enough to allow three or four or more uncles to build houses on Grandfather's land and leave enough space in between. Space to grow mielies, peanuts and amadumbe; space to race dogs in; space to be shaded by wattle, syringa and jacaranda; space to repair Vauxhalls, Morris Minors and Ford Prefects and space to allow grass and weeds to follow the rhythm of the seasons.

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