Landisa: That ball should not have rolled there

2019-11-15 07:31
Abeda Stofberg (Supplied: Jacana Media)

Abeda Stofberg (Supplied: Jacana Media)

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I was born in Brian Street, in Cape Town, in District Six in 1946. In 1957 my mother and father received a letter that said we had to move out. Either we move our own stuff or they will remove it for us with the big council trucks.

We moved to Bonteheuwel when I was 11.

I remember one day, when we were already staying in Bonteheuwel, my father took us to the beach. We had to take the train from Langa and then to town. My two sisters and I wore shorts, sweaters and sun hats. My mum and dad were also carrying things. I had a beach ball in my hand that was blown up already.

The train was divided into non-whites and whites-only sections. As I got up to get out of the train, the ball fell out of my hand and rolled under the seat of a chair in the whites-only carriage. The police were watching us. My daddy could see that one of them was getting his baton ready.

I wanted to run and fetch the ball but my daddy stopped me. He knew they would hit me.

You know how they beat up my daddy? That ball should not have rolled there. That’s a coloured ball; what was it doing there? He beat up my father so badly. We cried.

My father was taken to Caledon Square police station at the Parade. He was full of blood. And while he was being beaten up he had to see us crying too. My mother was crying. My sisters were crying. And I was crying because I felt I was at fault. I should not have let the ball go. But I didn’t know the ball would hop and roll underneath that bench.

I felt strange that I hadn’t gotten the hiding. I thought they beat up the wrong person. My mother almost fainted.

We didn’t bother to go to the beach as planned. We turned around and we went home.

*Stofberg's story is from These are the things that sit with us, edited by Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Friederike Bubenzer and Marietjie Oelofson, published by Jacana Media.

Read more on:    injustice  |  apartheid  |  landisa
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